Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 113 num. 7 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>It's all been done</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Diamonds-Source to Use 2013</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Review of mud rush mitigation on Kimberley's old scraper drift block caves</b>]]> A major mud push occurred on the 870 m production level, scraper drift block cave at Dutoitspan diamond mine in November 2011, during which it is estimated that more than 4 400 m³ of mud engulfed the west cave. The production level was successfully evacuated during the mud push with no loss of life or injury to personnel, thanks largely to mine employees being well trained in and adhering to on-mine mud rush evacuation procedures. All access to the west cave was lost as a result of the mud push. Clean-up operations are currently under way to regain access to the production level, to establish the extent of damage to scraper drifts and equipment, and to evaluate what remedial works may be required to resume production. The magnitude of the Dutoitspan mud push necessitated a detailed investigation into the key contributing factors leading up to the incident, which are discussed in this paper. Mud rush mitigation measures in place on scraper drift block caving operations at Dutoitspan, Bultfontein, and Wesselton diamond mines in the Kimberley area are critically reviewed. Recommendations are furthermore made for enhanced mitigation based on mud rush risk profiles derived for different production areas in these old scraper drift block caves. <![CDATA[<b>KX36-rediscovering the diamond exploration potential of the central Kalahari in Botswana</b>]]> The KX36 kimberlite was discovered using a high-resolution gradient aeromagnetic survey, with follow-up detailed ground geophysics and deflation soil sampling used to assess and prioritize the geophysical anomalies identified from the initial aeromagnetic survey. Prospect drilling intersected kimberlite in the first hole drilled on the KX36 anomaly. Preliminary evaluation has shown that KX36 is diamondiferous, and a more detailed evaluation and sampling programme is currently underway. The area around KX36 has been prospected by numerous companies over the last few decades, with sporadic kimberlite indicator mineral (KIM) recoveries in regional deflation sampling indicating the possible presence of kimberlites, but without sufficient resolution to 'home in' on specific targets. Previous (lower resolution) aeromagnetic surveys and soil sampling campaigns also did not define anomalies with sufficient detail to guide prospect drilling effectively. The discovery of KX36 highlights the prospectivity of areas of Botswana under deep Kalahari cover that have been explored previously. <![CDATA[<b>The mine planning process for an open-pit diamond mining operation - a case study on Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho</b>]]> This paper discusses the mine planning process for Letseng diamond mine in the Kingdom of Lesotho, in conjunction with the various software packages used during the process. The major pillars of the long-term mine planning process at Letseng are pit optimization followed by pit design and scheduling. Letseng uses Gemcom Whittle and GEMS for pit optimization and design and Runge XPAC for scheduling. The output of the mine planning process results in the generation of published mineral reserves and provides input into the Letseng overall business plan. The process of defining the key inputs for the entire mine planning process is discussed, which covers: ► Slope design as an input ► Diamond price inputs ► Operating and capital cost inputs ► Generation of pit shells ► Selection of an optimum pit shell and interim cutbacks using operational scenarios ► Sensitivity analysis on the selected optimum pit shell. ► Slope design criteria in the detailed design ► Split shell vs concentric pit design ► Practical mining widths to determine cutback design ► Pit design process in the GEMS software package. ► Development of scheduling scenarios in the XPAC software package ► Planning through mining production bottlenecks. ► Company-level NPV model ► Comparing scenarios and input of the different schedule scenarios into the company NPV model. <![CDATA[<b>Incline caving as a massive mining method</b>]]> Finsch Mine is a kimberlite diamond mine located at Lime Acres in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The mine was founded in 1961 and started surface mining in 1964. Underground production commenced in 1990 using a modified blast-hole open stoping method for the mining of Blocks 1, 2 and 3. Block 4 is currently being mined as a block cave. The process of identifying and optimizing a method to mine the Block 5 orebody started in 1991, and in 2006 incline caving was identified as being technically feasible. This paper aims to document the process employed in developing this method by the Block 5 pre-feasibility team as well as discuss the technical challenges encountered during this process. The paper commences with a history of Finsch Mine and highlights the complex geology and threat of sidewall failure that prompted the decision to use block caving as the mining method for Block 4. A literature study of mines that implemented mining methods upon which the incline cave was conceptualized is then presented. These practices were then used to form the basis for the designs on which the initial geotechnical modelling was done and built upon through an iterative process of modelling and design changes. The ventilation of the mining area, initial productivity simulation results, and the applicability of automation and comminution processes in the incline cave are also presented. The paper concludes with an investigation into some of the challenges of the mining method, and shows that that incline caving is a technical option available for further investigation in determining the optimal mining method to be employed at Block 5, Finsch Diamond Mine. <![CDATA[<b>A potential method of containing rockburst damage and enhancing safety using a sacrificial layer</b>]]> Rockbursts continue to be a scourge in the mining industry, being responsible for accidents and damage to mining excavations. Although the problem has been present for more than a century, and although much research has been carried out, a solution is still elusive. Determination of, firstly, the demand on the support system imposed in the rockburst and, secondly, the capacity of the support system, cannot be carried out with any confidence, and therefore rockburst support cannot be designed using a conventional design approach. In contrast with the conventional approach, observations of rockburst damage in a mine have revealed a possible alternative approach to rockburst support - sacrificial support. It was observed, in rockburst events, that a support system consisting of concrete panels restrained by grouted cables was destroyed, and the concrete panels were ejected. However, the rock behind the panels remained apparently undamaged and in place. This behaviour reignited the concept of sacrificial support, conceived more than 20 years ago, and which is described in this paper. The remedial solution implemented on the mine, involving cables wrapped over the panels and retained by grouting into boreholes, has been subjected to rockburst loading and has confirmed the validity of the sacrificial support concept. The concept of sacrificial support may be controversial, but is deliberately presented here with the aim of generating discussions and contributions, and with the ultimate aim of improving safety and reducing rockburst damage in mines. <![CDATA[<b>Separation performance of raw coal from South Africa using the dense gas-solid fluidized bed beneficiation technique</b>]]> The separation performance of a raw coal sample from South Africa based on the dense gas-solid fluidized bed beneficiation technique was investigated. Analysis showed that the raw coal sample distributes mainly in the -50+6 mm size range with the -1.6 g/cm³ density fraction accounting for 78.20% of the cumulative mass distribution. A flow sheet of the sequential coal beneficiation technique was introduced. The experimental and simulation results of the hydromechanical and density distribution stability indicate that the dense gas-solid fluidized bed could provide a stable separation environment with uniform density fluctuations under suitable operating conditions. With the application of this technique on the raw coal sample, the separation results show that three products, consisting of 73.25% clean coal with an ash content of 9.59%, 11.31% middlings, and 15.44% gangue were effectively separated at two different densities of 1.82 g/cm³ and 1.57 g/cm³. This study provides an effective flow sheet for achieving the high-efficiency separation performance on raw coal from arid areas. <![CDATA[<b>A real options application to manage risk related to intrinsic variables of a mine plan: a case study on Chuquicamata Underground Mine Project</b>]]> Traditional risk quantification methods provide little information on the sources of risk, and tend to produce static over-conservative evaluations, which do not account for changes in the performance of the project. Capital investment decisions for large mining projects require more complex risk evaluation models that include the value of flexibility and the different risk levels associated with uncertainty on project variables (price, grade, dilution, and production rates, among many other). In this context, real option valuation (ROV) methods have proven potential to quantify the risk associated with such variables and integrate alternative scenarios and management strategies into the evaluation process. In this paper, a risk quantification model is developed that successfully quantifies the risk associated with dilution, as a function of production rate. This model is then validated in a case study on the Chuquicamata Underground Mine project.