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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


SPEARING, A.J.S.; ZHANG, J.  and  MA, L.. A new automated, safe, environmentally sustainable, and high extraction soft-rock underground mining method. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2021, vol.121, n.2, pp.89-96. ISSN 2411-9717.

Ore deposits are becoming more complex to mine as a result of the exhaustion of surface and other easily mined deposits. There is also increasing socio-political pressure to design more environmentally sound, sustainable, and safe mining practices. Wang and Ma designed a mining method for coal, similar to a modified drift and fill using a continuous miner to take sequential cuts (rooms) that are subsequently backfilled. The authors have modified the concept to make it more autonomous, safer, and less costly using highwall coal mining techniques, modified and adapted for underground applications. The method is more flexible than longwall mining and the percentage extraction would seem to be in the same range. In addition because of the backfilling, surface subsidence would not be a major issue and could be more effectively managed.

Keywords : highwall mining; underground coal mining; backfilling; backfill face stability; continuous miner; safety.

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