Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
HUDYMA, M.; POTVIN, Y. and ALLISON, D.. Seismic monitoring of the Northparkes Lift 2 block cave - Part I undercutting. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2008, vol.108, n.7, pp. 405-419. ISSN 2411-9717.
Caving of the second lift of the E26 orebody at Northparkes Mines was monitored with a comprehensive package of instrumentation, including an ISS seismic monitoring system. Seismicity was collected by an array of 19 triaxial accelerometers and 9 uniaxial geophones, giving a high quality seismic data set. The seismic response to block caving at Northparkes has been divided into two papers. The first paper focuses on the seismicity during undercutting. The second paper deals primarily with the seismicity during cave propagation during initial cave production. In this paper, traditional seismic monitoring concepts are applied to seismicity during cave mining. More than 40 000 seismic events were recorded during cave undercutting between February and January 2004. Events up to local magnitude +1.3 were recorded near the mine during undercutting, with event rates of up to 500 per day. Analysis of frequency-magnitude distributions, S-wave to Pwave energy, and temporal variations in event magnitude all gave insight into the seismicity recorded. In addition, a new technique, called apparent stress time history, was shown to be sensitive to stress change from undercut blasting, and useful to identify significant periods during cave development. A significant difference was identified between the cave back location and the halo of seismic events above the cave. Throughout the undercutting, the aseismic zone of loosening was typically 50 to 70 metres in vertical thickness. Based on the seismicity, a stress driven rock mass failure model is proposed. Early in the undercutting, seismicity and movements in the seismogenic zone were directly triggered by stress change from undercutting. Towards the end of undercutting, seismicity was virtually uncorrelated with undercut blasting, and likely due to the onset of cave initiation.