Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 108 num. 6 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Development of a corrosivity classification for cement grouted cable strand in underground hard-rock mining excavations</b>]]> A systematic study of groundwater conditions at eight underground mine sites exhibiting a wide range of groundwater qualities throughout Australia has been completed at the WA School of Mines. This has resulted in a new corrosivity classification for groundwater driven corrosion processes for cement grouted cable strand used in the Australian underground mining industry. The new corrosivity classification is simple to use and corrosion rates may be predicted from readily obtained in situ measurements of groundwater dissolved oxygen. <![CDATA[<b>What happened to the mechanics in rock mechanics and the geology in engineering geology?</b>]]> A good thing is becoming a bad thing. Rock mass classification systems, that are so excellent for communications between engineers and geologists, and that can be valuable in categorizing project experience, are emasculating engineering geology and rock mechanics. Some engineering geologists have been sucked into thinking that Q and RMR values are all that is needed for engineering purposes, and seem to have put aside what can be learned from structural geology and geomorphology. Many rock mechanics engineers seem to have forgotten the scientific method. This paper attempts to redress the situation by showing how mechanics can be used in rock engineering to design with a similar rigour to that used in the fields of structural engineering, hydraulics and soil mechanics. It also attempts to remind practitioners of what can be achieved by skilled engineering geology. <![CDATA[<b>Application of modified Hoek-Brown transition relationships for assessing strength and post yield behaviour at both ends of the rock competence scale</b>]]> Support system design for tunnels and underground excavations has for many years relied heavily on the use of rock mass classification systems and the Hoek-Brown failure criterion as a means for characterizing rock mass behaviour. Because of their development, both the GSI system and the Hoek-Brown criterion admirably characterize most 'normal' rockmasses from the viewpoint of their behaviour for rock excavations. They, however, run into difficulties when applied at the two ends of the rock competence scale. This is largely because block size and incipient strength are such that rock mass behaviour in these domains tends not to be controlled by interblock shear strength but rather by material strength. At the low end of the rock competence scale (UCSi << 15 MPa and GSI generally <30) discontinuities play less of a role and rock mass strength tends to matrix strength. Similarly, at the high end of the scale (GSI &gt;&gt; 65, m i &gt;&gt; 15), because discontinuities are now widely spaced, block size becomes so significant that again, intact material behaviour rather than the fracturing becomes the dominant factor controlling rock mass strength. In this paper several case examples are presented to illustrate the application of the high-end (spalling) and low-end (weak ground) transition Hoek-Brown relationships proposed by Carter, Diederichs and Carvalho (2007) as a basis for better defining rock mass behaviour at the extreme ends of the rock competence scale. <![CDATA[<b>Numerical modelling of tunnel liner and fracture interaction</b>]]> Considerable practical knowledge and effective use of empirical evidence is required in the design of tunnel support systems. In many instances, it is unclear how individual support elements interact with fractured rock and which elements of the support system are critical in controlling and containing the movement of material proximate to the excavation. The present paper outlines a displacement discontinuity approach that allows the coupling of surface constraints, in the form of liner or mesh material, to an explicit representation of time-dependent rock discontinuity creep movements. The method is illustrated for a simple square-shaped tunnel profile in which the fracture zone is mobilized by an imposed stress field. A crucial aspect of the model is the computational treatment of the coupling between the liner material and the representation of the fractured rock mass. This allows the response of the liner material to be assessed quantitatively in terms of the possible reduction of movement in the rock mass. The importance of installing the liner timeously after the excavation is formed is illustrated in a specific example. A number of computational difficulties in simulating liner-rock interaction mechanisms are identified. <![CDATA[<b>Field observations and numerical studies of horizontal stress effects on roof stability in US limestone mines</b>]]> Limestone formations in the United States can be subject to relatively high horizontal stresses due to the existence of tectonic loading of the limestone strata. Underground limestone mines use the room-and-pillar method, in which 12- to 18-m-wide rooms are typically excavated. The stability of these excavations can be compromised by the horizontal stress, resulting in a rockfall hazard. Rockfalls are the cause of 15% of all reportable injuries in underground limestone mines. Horizontal stress related damage can occur in the form of guttering along one or more sides of an excavation, roof beam buckling or oval shaped roof falls, with the long axis perpendicular to the major horizontal stress. Numerical analyses show that the pillar layout and orientation of the mine workings have an effect on the horizontal stress distribution within the roof. The effects of high horizontal stresses can be mitigated by orientating the heading development direction parallel to the maximum horizontal stress, reducing the number of cross-cuts and offsetting the cross-cuts to limit the potential lateral extent of horizontal stress related roof falls. The modeling approach described in this paper can be used as a tool to evaluate potential roof failure and optimize the stability of room and pillar layouts. <![CDATA[<b>An effective face support system to minimize rockfalls</b>]]> An effective prototype face support system to minimize rockfalls in rockfall-prone mines was developed and patented during a project sponsored by the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC). An experimental development model (XDM) roof support unit was developed and evaluated. Mines with rockfall problems in the face areas can use the roof support system to reduce fatalities and injuries in the face area of stopes. The roof support system consists of two similar support units connected to each other via two crank mechanisms. Each unit consists of a headboard supported by a 'wishbone' structure (top and bottom leg). In the first design a threaded bar with struts similar to a scissors jack keeps the legs apart. (In the final version that was field trialed, the threaded bar mechanism was replaced with a hydraulic cylinder). All the components are manufactured from steel. To move the system forward the first support unit is collapsed, the second remaining in the loaded position. The first unit then hangs from the second unit to which it is connected. The first collapsed unit is then manually cranked forward and prestressed. If the required position is still not achieved, the other unit is released and moved forward. The specification for the system was determined and presented at a workshop with industry participants. Different concepts were developed and evaluated against the system specifications. A technology demonstrator was then developed and tested on surface. The technology demonstrator development process included detail design, building and testing of components and subsystems, design reviews and the building and commissioning of the technology demonstrator. The testing of the technology demonstrator was done in a 500-ton hydraulic press, in a mock-up stope and underground. A risk analysis, in which technical, logistical and economic aspects were assessed, was done to determine the critical areas of the system. During the next phase of the project working prototypes were developed for underground tests and evaluation. This process indicated that it was necessary to adjust the system specifications and a redesign was called for. In an iterative process test units were built for purposes of evaluation, specification verification and field trialing. After the successful conclusion of the trials the equipping of a complete production stope started for purposes of integrating the system into the current mining process. <![CDATA[<b>Support system performance under different corrosion conditions</b>]]> This paper reports on recent field observations on the performance of support systems under different corrosion environments in Canadian underground mines. Phenomenological data are used to gain a better understanding of the main causes of corrosion in underground metal mines. Preliminary field data collected from five metal mines have been complemented by atmospheric and water sample analysis as well as fractography and metallographic studies. This has identified dominant factors that control the corrosion of support systems. The data are analysed in order to develop a support strategy for mines operating in corrosion environments.