Safe Rapid Drifting - Support Selection

CIM Edmonton 2004
Fidelis T. Suorineni, Peter K. Kaiser, John G. Henning,
Abstract Rapid drifting enables quicker access to orebodies, higher production rates and a resultant reduction in production cost. The Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation And Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO) funded by the Canadian Mining Industry Research Organization (CAMIRO) has developed a methodology for safe rapid drift development within the underground metalliferous mining industry.

According to industry survey, about 36% of drift development cycle time is spent on support installation. MIRARCO has developed a methodology for safe rapid drift development based on minimizing time spent on support installation. The methodology includes a critical review of the rockmass classification systems, examination of current support practices in the mining industry and civil tunneling, review of rapid drift development practice in South Africa, introduction of risk hazard procedures to account for material property variability and the development of a WIZARD as a quick decision-making tool for the implementation of the procedures. A comprehensive field data collection procedure was put in place and data collected from various mines to verify and calibrate the support selection rationale.

The findings of the research programme resulted in the development of an improved rockmass classification system and showed that construction effects have drastic influence on support levels but is often not accounted for in assessing support levels. Stress effects and structurally controlled failures are the other important factors to take into account in rapid drift development. Three support classes were established for safe rapid drift development as No Systematic Support, Light Support and Strong Support. The support levels took into account cost, rate of installation and safety based on compatibility with ground characteristics.

This paper describes the methodology for safe rapid drifting within the underground metalliferous mining industry and highlights the key issues and major drivers behind their continued development at the Geomechanics Research Centre within MIRARCO.
Keywords: Safe, Rockmass, Rapid drifting, Stress, Support selction
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