Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
MUNRO, D.D.. Incline caving as a massive mining method. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.7, pp. 555-563. ISSN 2411-9717.
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.
Keywords : massive mining; incline caving; geotechnical modelling..