THE ROLE OF ROCK MECHANICS STUDIES AND INSTRUMENTATION IN BALAGHAT UNDERGROUND MINE OF MOIL - A CASE STUDY
MOIL Limited (formerly Manganese Ore India Limited), a Government Enterprise, under the Ministry of Steel, Government of India, produces about 1.1 million tonnes (T) of manganese ore annually from three opencast and seven underground mines. The underground operations are mining using an overhand cut and fill method. The orebody is too narrow for the use of larger equipment and the poor to fair rock mass quality limits the size of stable excavations. Prior to the 1990s underground support consisted primarily of timber square sets in tandem with timber chocks and props. As mine production requirements increased throughout the 1990s led to larger opening sizes and more modern support practices. Research was conducted on ground support design based on rock classification and empirical techniques for designing ground support. Based on the findings and field trials, the Company adopted full column cement grouted cable bolts for back support. Instrumented field trials, using extensometers and load cells on the cable support confirmed the support effectiveness. Stope design was based on two and three dimensional stress modeling which resulted in a significant increase in stope dimensions. The rock mechanics studies for safe stope design were carried out using numerical modeling tool in two and three dimensions for the analysis of stresses. Based on the findings, the safe stope geometry with new stoping parameters was introduced. The earlier stope length of 30 mtrs were changed to 60 mtrs with in situ rib pillar at the cross cuts and in situ post pillars to be left-out in the stope. This leads the formation of of panel comprising of three stopes, for production, supporting and filling. For mechanical handling of ROM in stopes Side Discharge Loaders (SDL) were introduced. The above changes have improved the face productivity from 2–3.5 T with manual operation and 9 T with SDL. The above rapid mining operations has improved the stope productivity but reduced the stope life from 6 to 3 years. For the improvement of the stope availability, further studies were conducted by numerical modeling of stress analysis. The related studies confirmed that with the existing supporting system and proper instrumentation, level interval could be increased up to 45 mtrs from the existing 30 mtrs at deeper levels. At present below 12th Level interval is 45 m at Balaghat Mine. For future mechanization program for introduction of Single Boomers, LPDT, Cutting Machines etc for the development headings rock mechanics studies are underway.
The paper provides details of rock mechanics studies that were carried out to study efficacy of the cable bolt support, safe stoping parameters and increased level interval for the improvements in safety, production and productivity at Balaghat Mine.
stope; stopes; Mines; Mine; Mines; Supports; Support; Pillars; pillar; Load;