Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
HOLDER, A.; ROGERS, A.J.; BARTLETT, P.J. and KEYTER, G.J.. Review of mud rush mitigation on Kimberley's old scraper drift block caves. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.7, pp.529-537. ISSN 2411-9717.
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.
Keywords : mud push; mud rush; scraper drift; block cave; mitigation factors; risk profiles; risk management structure.