Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
VAN RENSBURG, D. and MELIS, L.. The development of a remote-controlled highwall rockbroom-a world first for the open-pit mining industry. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.8, pp. 755-759. ISSN 2411-9717.
Jointed rock slopes are generally stable, as there is no freedom of movement for blocks of rock. In an open- pit mining environment, blasting opens up space into which blocks of rock can fail, resulting in the common occurrence of slope failure. Prior to the blasting of a trim pattern, the immediate highwall is scaled, where loose rock material is removed by means of a mechanical scaler. As mining of the pit progresses, the height of the scaled highwall from the pit floor progressively increases. These highwalls are never scaled again for the remainder of the pit life, and time-dependant deterioration contributes to these highwalls becoming subject to rockfall and, sometimes, slope failure. This paper documents the development of a South African innovation, a remote-controlled mechanical highwall scaler, a world first for the mining industry. The scaler will enable open-pit highwalls to be scaled from crest to toe whenever the need arises. It will reduce the risk associated with highwalls and deliver on the Anglo American promise of producing safe, profitable platinum.
Keywords : open-pit mining; rockfall; slope stability; mechanical scaling..