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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


OGASAWARA, H.; KATO, H.; HOFMANN, G.  and  DE BRUIN, P.. Trial of the BX conical-ended borehole overcoring stress measurement technique. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.8, pp.749-754. ISSN 2411-9717.

Information on rock stress is important for safe mining in seismically active ground. On a major gold mine, a few tens of crews are continuously conducting geological drilling with small pneumatic machines. However, stress measurements are not often carried out in South African deep-level gold mines. One of the reasons is the drilling diameter that overcoring requires, which is much larger than the diameters used in regular geological drilling, e.g. Boart Longyear Metre Eater, which drills AQ or BQ holes. Larger diameter holes result in slower drilling advance, more load in transportation and handling at sites, and higher cost. In order to enable overcoring in BX size (60 mm diameter), we modified the compact conical-ended borehole overcoring (CCBO) technique that has been suggested by International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and was originally designed for NX drilling (76 mm diameter). With a single overcoring, the 3-D stress tensor can be determined. We tested this modified method at a depth of about 3 km at Moab Khotsong mine in South Africa. We worked with drilling crew who usually work at geological drilling with the Metre Eater. In January 2011, we tried using regular geological drilling tools (a sequence of a normal BX bit, reamer, and rod) without success. In August and September 2011, introducing stabilizers and thin BX bits, we succeeded. We could complete a cycle of procedures necessary for an overcoring, including shaping the borehole-end conically, glueing a 16-element strain cell, and overcoring, within 2.5 hours. Only 10 cm overcoring is needed, which increases the chance of successful overcoring in heavily fractured conditions. This modified method is suitable for up-dip holes to depths of 10-15 m from tunnels, and has the potential to be widely used at the initial stage of geological exploration drilling at many localities.

Keywords : stress measurement; borehole overcoring..

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