Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 109 num. 7 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Development of a gravity flow numerical model for the evaluation of drawpoint spacing for block/panel caving</b>]]> Block caving methods, when operated under favourable rock mass conditions, can achieve higher production rates and lower operating costs than other various existing underground mining applications. For this reason, it has been considered the preferred method for the mining of deep and large orebodies in current and future operations around the world. One of the key aspects in the design of block caves is the selection of the production level layout, which, among other parameters, is based on the gravity flow characteristics of the caved rock. This is because gravity flow has a large impact on total ore recovery and the amount of dilution in a caving operation. Today, there are a number of computer based methods which aim to emulate the gravity flow pattern of the caved rock. In this paper, the authors present the development of FlowSim an improved model of gravity flow based on the cellular automaton approach, to estimate dilution entry, mixing and ore recovery. As part of the model development, flow simulations were conducted and subsequently compared to full-scale data collected at two mine sectors operated by Codelco Chile. The results indicate that by using proper calibrated parameters, good correlations between simulated and measured grades as well as dilution entry are obtained. The potential use of the numerical tool to evaluate drawpoint spacing in terms of recovery and dilution for block/panel caving operations is also presented. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of deep-hole opencast blasting on the stability of water dams of a close-by underground coal mine</b>]]> Deep-hole blasting operations in opencast mines are always associated with some annoyance to the surrounding areas in terms of ground vibration, noise, flyrock, etc. These become more severe when underground mines run parallel to them. Blasting in opencast mines may pose danger to the underground mines in terms of roof/side failures, damage of water dams, isolation/ventilation stoppings and other underground installations. The paper discusses a case study in India on the impact of deep-hole blasting in Ramagundam Opencast Project - III on the stability of various water dams of GDK-6B Incline coal mine operating in close proximity. The stability of underground water dams of GDK-6B Incline mine was endangered due to deep-hole blasting at OCP-III. There were 15 water dams in seam 3 and 16 dams in seam 4 of the underground mine. The physical strength tests using a Schmidt Hammer instrument were carried out in all the 15 water dams of No. 3 seam and 16 water dams of No. 4 seam. The test revealed that there is a decrease in compressive strength values of three dams of seam 3, namely 6A, 6B and 7. Theose three dams were also directly connected to the water source. Water seepage was also observed from the surfaces of the three dams. However, they were found to be stable in accordance with their design parameters and damage point of view while considering a threshold value of ground vibration as 25 mm/s. It was found that the value of tensile stress generated by a vibration of 25 mm/s was much lower (i.e. 0.171 N/mm2) than the tensile strength of the two weakest concrete dams (1.85 N/mm2). Ten experimental blasts were conducted at different working benches of the opencast mine and the ground vibration data were recorded in roof and pillars near various underground water dams. The maximum value of vibration data recorded was 5.9 mm/s in roof near dam no.1 in seam 3 with the dominant peak frequency of 22 Hz. No adverse effect on either of the dams was observed after that blast. During the period of study, no deterioration/ adverse impact was found in any dam of the mine. Based on the results of the study and the analyses of the data, optimized blast design parameters and explosives weight per delay were suggested for the opencast mine to maintain the safety of the underground water dams. <![CDATA[<b>Controlled chloride cracking of austenitic stainless steel tube samples</b>]]> An experimental rig has been constructed to produce chloride stress corrosion cracks in Type 304L stainless steel tube samples. The samples are to be used to test possible in situ repair methods in future work. The factor which influences the time to failure most strongly is the sample temperature; the distribution of cracks within the sample is affected by local temperature variations and by the position of the water line. Low-frequency oscillations in stress, caused by the on-off temperature controller, did not appear to influence cracking in these tests <![CDATA[<b>Recovery of gold from the Mouteh Gold Mine tailings dam</b>]]> It is estimated that the tailings dam of the Mouteh Gold Mine, in Iran, contains more than 770 kg of gold. Microscopic analysis reveals that sulphide minerals and active carbon are the main sources of the gold in the tailings residue. Flotation and cyanidation tests on the samples of tailings were conducted. Flotation concentrates, containing around 87.79% of the gold, which were associated with sulphide minerals, were recovered. By regrinding, roasting, and cyanidation of the flotation concentrate, the gold dissolution recovery was in the range of 87.8 to 98.4%. The carbon-in-column method was used to recover 98% of the gold from the solution. <![CDATA[<b>Quantification of the impacts of coalmine water irrigation on the underlying aquifers</b>]]> It is predicted that vast volumes of affected mine water will be produced by mining activities in the Mpumalanga coalfields of South Africa. The potential environmental impact of this excess water is of great concern in a water-scarce country like South Africa. Research over a period of more than 10 years has shown that this water can be used successfully for the irrigation of a range of crops (Annandale et al., 2002)1. There is, however, continuing concern from the local regulators regarding the long-term impact that large-scale mine water irrigation may have on groundwater quality and quantity. Detailed research has been undertaken over the last three years to supplement the groundwater monitoring programme at five different pilot sites, on both virgin soils (greenfields) and in coalmining spoils. These sites range from sandy soils to very clayey soils. The research has included soil moisture measurements, collection of in situ soil moisture over time, long-term laboratory studies of the leaching and attenuation properties of different soils and the impact of irrigation on acid rock drainage processes, and in depth determination of the hydraulic properties of the subsurface at each of these sites, including falling head tests, pumping tests and point dilution tests. This has been supported by geochemical modelling of these processes to quantify the impacts. The results indicate that many of the soils have considerable attenuation capacities and that in the period of irrigation, a large proportion of the salts have been contained in the upper portions of the unsaturated zones below each irrigation pivot. The volumes and quality of water leaching through to the aquifers have been quantified at each site. From this mixing ratios have been calculated in order to determine the effect of the irrigation water on the underlying aquifers. <![CDATA[<b>Optimization of shovel-truck system for surface mining</b>]]> In surface mining operations, truck haulage is the largest item in the operating costs, constituting 50 to 60% of the total. In order to reduce this cost, it is necessary to allocate and dispatch the trucks efficiently. This paper describes shovel and truck operation models and optimization approaches for the allocation and dispatching of trucks under various operating conditions. Closed queuing network theory is employed for the allocation of trucks and linear programming for the purpose of truck dispatching to shovels. A case study was applied for the Orhaneli Open Pit Coal Mine in Turkey. This approach would provide the capability of estimating system performance measures (mine throughput, mean number of trucks, mean waiting time, etc.) for planning purposes when the truck fleet is composed of identical trucks. A computational study is presented to show how choosing the optimum number of trucks and optimum dispatching policy affect the cost of moving material in a truckshovel system. <![CDATA[<b>Neural networks to estimate bubble diameter and bubble size distribution of flotation froth surfaces</b>]]> This work analyses a new approach to estimates bubble size distribution of froth surfaces using artificial neural networks (ANN). Also, the robustness of ANN to interpret images with illumination perturbations, produced by light problems or dirt attached to the window of the video camera is evaluated. The experimental work was carried out in a laboratory flotation column, instrumented with an image acquisition system. The images were processed making use of a perceptron model with a hidden layer, sigmoidal transfer function and unitary bias, and the ANN trained with a back propagation algorithm. The results of validation show that ANN are reliable for learning and producing generalized predictions of the froth mean bubble diameter and bubble size distribution, when the model is trained using a database that contains information on the illumination intensity.