Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 116 num. 11 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Journal Comment</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Wits Mining and the SAIMM - 120 years of parallel histories</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Ground engineering - Principles and practices in underground coal mining</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The influence of test specimen geometry on the laboratory-determined Class II characteristics of rocks</b>]]> The behaviour of rocks depends on their material properties, and therefore it is important that these properties are determined by relevant and reliable laboratory testing methods. The ISRM Suggested Methods are very important documents in this regard, and a draft suggested method exists for the determination of the 'complete stress-strain curve for intact rock in uniaxial compression'. The method specifies the required geometry of specimens and the required testing procedures. The research described in this paper involved the determination of complete stress-strain curves for two materials, one exhibiting the Class I characteristic, and the other the Class II characteristic. To obtain a better understanding of the deformation behaviours in the post-peak region, tests were carried out on specimens of both material types with different length-to-diameter ratios. The results showed that the geometries of the test specimens influence the stressstrain curves in the post-peak region. The implication is, therefore, that the numerical values obtained for the slopes of the post-peak graphs are not material constants, but are geometry-dependent. Explanations for this behaviour are given. These findings have important implications regarding the use of post-peak data, for example for blast fragmentation considerations, and for evaluation of rockbursting potential. The research findings are based on a limited amount of laboratory testing, and should be confirmed by further testing. <![CDATA[<b>Review of gold reef sampling and its impact on the mine call factor</b>]]> Sampling error and bias, especially the Increment Preparation Error (IPE), are introduced when the tool allocated to do the job fails to extract a representative sample. This is the case with chip sampling; the tool can only extract haphazard shapes of loose or fractured material and not always from within the demarcated sample area. Increment Extraction Error (IEE) and Increment Delimitation Error (IDE) could be severe, but are found to be relatively unbiased. The uncontrolled action of the sampler in discarding excess sample material after sample collection has a significant impact on the error and bias introduced with each and every extraction. A new type of bias, referred to as the 'waste discard bias', arises when samplers select what portion of the excess sample material to discard at the sample site. Material visually identified as waste is discarded in preference to mineralized broken ore if there is an excess of sample material. This results in a considerable error in the analytical results. The bias is proportional to the reef-waste ratio in the demarcated sample. <![CDATA[<b>A review of rock cutting for underground mining: past, present, and future</b>]]> Rock has been cut in the process of mining since before the invention of explosives. Today, we seek to return to cutting to reap the benefits of continuous operations for South African underground hard-rock mines, to improve speed of access to the orebody, and to improve the efficiency of mining operations. Development of new technology fits within a framework of engineering knowledge. By understanding the characteristics of the rock, the tools we use to cut it with, and the history of mining and rock cutting, we can see the genesis of the roadheader, the longwall, and the continuous miner, all drag bit cutters. They have emerged as the solutions of choice for underground mining of softer materials such as coal and potash. In hard rock, the challenges are the forces required to break the rock, and the wear of the tools caused by the rock's abrasiveness. Only disc cutters currently handle the challenges, and even then, often not economically. New materials like thermally stable diamond composite will help, as will combinations of mechanical cutters and other methods such as high-pressure water or high temperatures. It is not clear what will emerge as the consensus technique for hard-rock cutting. Experience teaches that development is expensive and the market is small. Will mining companies partner with equipment developers to make the technological leap? Or will the solution come from a systems approach, not considered here? <![CDATA[<b>Development of a computer-aided application using Lane's algorithm to optimize cut-off grade</b>]]> The maximization of net present value (NPV) is a primary objective in open pit mine planning processes. In an attempt to meet this objective, cut-off grades are considered in all the stages of mining. There are three stages involved in resource extraction, namely mining, processing, and refining/marketing, which are all defined in Lane's approach. Using Lane's approach, the economics involved in each stage are identified independently and interact to provide an optimum cut-off grade. A hypothetical block model is used to illustrate how a computer application (Cut-off Grade Optimiser) that was developed in this study is used in the optimization of cut-off grades using Lane's algorithm. This paper analyses the application of Lane's approach for a single element in cut-off grade optimization as applied in the calculation of the optimum cut-off grade through a computer-aided application. Although Lane's approach is not complex it is not widely applied to maximize the NPV of mining operations as the iterative calculations can be lengthy. The computer application developed in this study shows how Lane's algorithm combined with a linear programming function can optimize cut-off grade with regard to the complex situations faced by mining operations. The application saves users from performing otherwise lengthy, iterative calculations. <![CDATA[<b>Multi-seam mining of the deep Waterberg resources</b>]]> This paper discusses the difficulties associated with the potential exploitation of the deep multi-seam resources east of the Daarby fault in the Waterberg coalfield. The resources occur at a depth greater than 250 m and the thickness of the coal is roughly 110 m, but the top 50 m comprises coal intercalated with shale and the bottom 60 m contains five seams with sandstone and shale partings. Various factors affecting multiple seam mining at these great depths are discussed with reference to lessons learned from local and international experience on multi-seam mining. Field geological and geotechnical data was utilized to assess the stability of the roof of the seams. There is no specific rock mass rating for the Waterberg area, therefore approximate coal mine roof rating (CMRR) values were used to propose appropriate support strategies. Analysis of Multiple Seam Stability (AMSS) was used to analyse the strength of the parting or interburden between the various seams, the mining sequence, and the interaction between the various seams. The research indicated that it is possible to mine seams with a low CMRR at high mining rates using longwall mining, although support for gateroads is expected to be expensive, time-consuming and onerous to install, and will impact gateroad development rates. It will not be possible to simultaneously mine zones in close proximity and failure of the interburden is predicted, thus dangerous mining conditions are anticipated. However, it will be possible to mine just two of the eleven zones using longwall mining. <![CDATA[<b>Extending the application of PAS 55/ ISO 55 000 to mineral asset management</b>]]> A mineral resource constitutes the principal underlying asset of a mining company, and must be exploited and managed in such a way that maximum value is derived from it. Various asset management frameworks applicable to physical assets are available. This paper focuses on the extension of an asset management approach, particularly the Publicly Available Specifications (PAS) 55 asset management framework and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 55000 series of standards, to mineral assets. It is concluded that PAS 55 and the ISO 55000 series of standards can be extended to manage mineral assets, resulting in an integrated approach to sustainably optimize value from the company's mineral assets. The benefits include improved returns on mineral assets, maximum mineral asset utilization, creation of an organizational culture focused on quality and continuous improvement, and assurance to stakeholders that the mineral assets are being efficiently managed over their entire life-cycle. In the context of this paper, a 'mineral resource' refers to both Resources and/or Reserves as classified by the SAMREC Code. <![CDATA[<b>A survey of applications of multi-criteria decision analysis methods in mine planning and related case studies</b>]]> In an environment like the mining industry, which is characterized by different stakeholders with multiple objectives, multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) is a useful approach for optimal decision-making. The application of MCDA techniques in the mining industry has predominantly been in mine planning and related problems, although no comprehensive survey has previously been undertaken to establish the application trends. A survey of the use of MCDA techniques was therefore conducted using case studies from the literature. It was noted that often two or more methods are applied to the same problem in order to increase confidence in the solution derived. As the number of criteria and alternatives increases, some methods become inefficient. A combination of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method with other MCDA techniques was the most frequently used approach, indicating the efficiency of the AHP method, especially when evaluating problems with more criteria and fewer alternatives. A combination of fuzzy theory with AHP or other methods incorporates uncertainty. The findings from the survey will benefit users applying MCDA techniques to solve mine planning and related problems.. <![CDATA[<b>The nature of mining input technology in South Africa</b>]]> The aim of this paper is to enhance the understanding of the nature of mining input technologies in the South African mining industry. In the context of this research, mining inputs refer to input technology into the activities in mining engineering fields, which include mining-related production activities, rock engineering, mine ventilation, and mine transportation (handling of personnel, material, broken rock, and pumping). Input technologies in supporting fields such as geology, other engineering disciplines, human resource, procurement, finance, as well as downstream fields that include metallurgy, and marketing of minerals, were disregarded. The mining input technologies were divided into 12 nodes, and data from a sample of 150 first-tier mining suppliers was analysed. It was found that, in general, there is a high local content in mining input technologies, particularly as regards technical support services, artefacts, and machine technologies. This points to the presence of mining-induced backward linkages in the South African mining industry. The majority (83%) of companies that provide input technologies into mining are located in Gauteng Province, and relatively few are found in provinces where mining is concentrated such as North-West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and Free State. <![CDATA[<b>A step towards combating rockburst damage by using sacrificial support</b>]]> Rockbursts continue to be a major contributor to mine accidents and cause of damage to mine excavations, particularly at great depth. The problem of rockbursts has also escalated in civil engineering tunnels driven at depth, due to high levels of in situ stress at such depths. Attempts have been made in the past to mitigate the impact of rockbursts, with rock support remaining the ultimate method for providing stability in rockbursting environments. However, records show that, on many occasions, conventional support elements such as rockbolts, wire mesh, shotcrete, and lacing fail to withstand severe rockburst events. Recently, a support method termed 'sacrificial' support was proposed as a potential additional method to prevent rockburst damage, based on observations made after rockburst events in a mine. The philosophy behind a sacrificial support system is that, under dynamic loading conditions, support in the form of a liner must fail; leaving behind, undamaged, what was previously supported rock mass. The sacrificial support concept reported herein is applicable in situations where the source (i.e. seismic event) of the rockburst is located remote from where rockburst damage is likely to occur. Spalling tests based on the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) technique were conducted to study some aspects of dynamic rock fracturing in tension at high strain rates and the role a sacrificial layer plays in combating dynamic rock failure. A single Hopkinson pressure bar, with a long cylindrical intact rock specimen attached at the bar free end, was impacted by a striker on the opposite free end in order to generate a dynamic stress pulse responsible for spall failure upon reflection from the specimen free end. Different liners and liner combinations were then introduced at the specimen free end as support. Such a simple, yet robust, experimental set-up allowed the potential benefits and failure mechanisms associated with sacrificial support under dynamic loading to be demonstrated and compared with 'sacrificial support' behaviour observed in real rockburst events in a mine. Analysis of the results revealed that varying liner thickness and mechanical impedance between rock and support liner play a significant role in limiting rockburst damage. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of various factors on the results of stability analysis of rock slopes and on the evaluation of risk</b>]]> The design of rock slopes in the planning and operation of open pit mines and for road and rail cuttings requires the evaluation of their stability. This is commonly done using two well-established methods - limit equilibrium and numerical modelling. The research described in this paper compares the outputs of analyses using these two methods with regard to factor of safety and probability of failure, taking into account technical factors associated with each method and other factors such as material parameters and their variabilities. Results show that technical factors such as number of slices and slip circles, number and type of finite elements, and the stress reduction factor can all affect the results of stability analyses. Factors not taken into account in limit equilibrium analyses, such as dilation, in situ stress, and locked-in stresses can affect the outputs significantly. The research has focused particularly on the predicted location of the failure surface, the resulting volume of failure and, most significantly dependent on this volume, the predicted risk associated with slope failure. The results presented show that there is good agreement between the outputs of the two methods regarding factor of safety and probability of failure. However, the same is not the case with regard to volume of failure and hence risk, which can be very dependent on the methods of analysis and their input parameters. The research is not exhaustive, and there are many other factors that could affect the results of slope stability analyses that were not investigated. Some such factors are mentioned in the paper. <![CDATA[<b>Review of coal pillar lifespan prediction for the Witbank and Highveld coal seams</b>]]> Coal pillars are prone to scaling over time, and are progressively reduced in size and consequently subjected to increased load and reduced strength. The effective factor of safety therefore reduces. Databases of failed and stable pillars cannot, therefore, be regarded as definitive. More than a decade has passed since the first attempt to predict the lifespan of pillars. This paper presents a review based on the new database and pillar strength equations. The methodology for the analysis is based on the fact that pillars scale. The ultimate safety factor (defined as the ratio between strength and load at the time of failure) is derived, followed by an estimate of the rate of pillar scaling, which results in an estimate of the expected time of failure. It is suggested that the predicted lifespan should not be used as an absolute indicator of expected pillar life, but rather as an index - the pillar life index (PLI) - to complement the safety factor and related probability of failure when evaluating pillar stability. A pillar with a predicted lifespan of less than 500 years would be regarded as being in danger of imminent collapse, while a lifespan of at least 1 000 years should be required for long-term purposes. The differences between this analysis and that published in 2003 constitute a strong case for regular reviews of all the empirically based stability indicators, namely the safety factor, probability of failure, and the PLI. Reviews at 10 year intervals appear to be required. The constants in the proposed method are valid only for the Witbank No. 1, 2 and 4 seams and the Highveld No. 2 and 4 seams.