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La Universidad de la Regin de Atacama

Planificacin y Diseo Subterrneo


502

Sublevel Stoping In General

Sublevel stoping, also known as blasthole or longhole stoping, is an open stoping,


high production, bulk mining method applicable to large, steeply dipping, regular ore

bodies having competent ore and rock that require little or no support.

Haycocks and Aelick, 1992

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 30

There are several variations of sublevel stoping described in the literature, but
common for all of them is the use of gravitational ore flow from end point of
production sublevel drifts to drawpoints. Typically, the dip of the deposit must be at
least 50, i.e. greater than the angle of repose of broken material, so that material

transport to drawpoints occur by gravity. However, if the deposit is massive, stopes


with vertical walls will be created and the overall dip of the deposit is immaterial

Haycocks and Aelick, 1992; Bullock, 2001

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 30

Mine development starts with infrastructure such as adits, ramps or shafts for
accessing the ore. Additionally, drilling drifts, declines to sublevels, crosscuts and
transportation drifts must be in place before the stoping can commence

Bullock, 2001; Villaescusa, 2014.

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 30

Economy

Economically speaking, sublevel stoping is a low-cost mining method with a high


production rate. The key to minimize the costs lies in mechanization of the operation.
Creating large openings and using the largest possible equipment in terms of
production capacity. The use of large-diameter drilling machines can reduce the
development compared to smaller-diameter longhole drills that have limiting lengths

(less than 30 m) restricted by drilling accuracy. In addition, Haycocks and Aelick


(1992) states that sublevel stoping frequently is selected as the primary underground
method when surface mining no longer is economical.

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 33

Economy

Economically speaking, sublevel stoping is a low-cost mining method with a high


production rate. The key to minimize the costs lies in mechanization of the operation.
Creating large openings and using the largest possible equipment in terms of
production capacity. The use of large-diameter drilling machines can reduce the
development compared to smaller-diameter longhole drills that have limiting lengths

(less than 30 m) restricted by drilling accuracy. In addition, Haycocks and Aelick


(1992) states that sublevel stoping frequently is selected as the primary underground
method when surface mining no longer is economical.

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 33

Figure 4.2.4 shows a breakdown of mining costs for a typical operation. It is evident
from the figure that development accounts for almost one-third of the total mining
costs.

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 34

Mine Design & Layout


Mine planning is an engineering process that encompasses all the major technical
functions undertaken in sublevel stoping, with the key performance indicators being
safety, dilution control, recovery, productivity, and mining cost. Mine planning provides
the means for the safe, efficient, continuous, and economic recovery of ore while
considering the life of mine issues and their implications for short-term planning and
design. It also helps to maintain the long-term security of production, while ensuring

satisfactory economic return.

Trout, 1997

Large-Scale Underground Mining in Tromsdalen: With focus on dimensioning and design of stopes and pillars
Anja Hammernes Pedersen pg. 35

Planificacin de Sub Level Stoping


Geotechnical considerations for planning
and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa
CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

Abstract

An overall rational methodology for open stope planning process is detailed. The
basic input consists of an orebody delineation and rock mass characterization stage

followed by a selection of the stoping method and an estimate of the likely loading
conditions from the mining sequences.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The process requires two design stages. The global design issues are relevant and
applicable within entire areas of a mine, such an extension of an existing orebody,
while detailed design issues are applicable to the extraction of individual stopes.
Finally, a monitoring and back analysis strategy that allows a documented closure of

the mine design loop is presented.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

1 Introduction

Mine planning is an engineering process encompassing all major technical functions


undertaken in sublevel stoping with the key performance indicators being safety,

dilution control, recovery, productivity and cost criteria.

Mine planning provides the means for a safe, efficient, continuous and economic
recovery of ore while considering the life of mine issues and their implications for
short term planning and design.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Mine planning prepares and evaluates all future design and operating strategies.
Parameters such as of ore reserve estimation, overall sequences of extraction,
dimensioning of regional pillars and sublevel intervals, design of ore haulage systems,
backfill and ventilation systems are determined during the process.

Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to review such topics in detail, the
geotechnical aspects of the process from orebody delineation to stope extraction are
briefly discussed.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The approach suggested here requires the interaction among geology, mine planning,
rock mechanics and operating personnel throughout the entire mine planning process
(Villaescusa, 1998). The overall rational methodology for the underground mine
planning process is shown below.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Table 1 Key stages within the mine planning process of open stopes
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Six key stages are identified, with the orebody delineation and rock mass
characterization stages as the basic input. The requirements consist of an early
determination of rockmass properties on a block scale, followed by a selection of the
mining method and an estimate of the likely loading conditions from the mining

sequences.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The process requires a global and a detailed design stage, where global design
issues are relevant and applicable within entire areas of a mine, such an extension of
an existing orebody, while detailed design issues are applicable to the extraction of
individual stopes (Villaescusa, 2004). Finally, a monitoring and back analysis strategy

that allows a documented closure of the mine design loop is required

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2 Geological and geotechnical characterization


The orebody delineation and rock mass characterization stages provide the input for
the entire mine design process (Brown & Rosengren, 2000). In most cases, however,
the main role of a mine geology department is limited to the definition and delineation
of the ore zones within a deposit, the geological interpretation for further delineation
and exploration strategies and to undertake ore reserve estimations.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Consequently, rock mass characterization is rarely undertaken as a routine process


as significant demands on quick orebody delineation by the mine geologist may leave
no time for rock mass characterization. Sometimes, a lack of proper training and
awareness of the relevant geotechnical issues by the mine geologists also contributes

to deficient data collection approaches.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The suggested approach is to obtain representative (mine-wide) rock mass properties


required during the global excavation design and stability analysis stages. In most
cases, this information is obtained from diamond drill holes (core logging of nonoriented holes) and direct mapping of underground openings. Geophysical tools can

also used for orebody delineation and rock mass characterization.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The confidence in the geological information must be sufficient to establish the nature
and irregularities of the orebody, the nature and location of major controlling
geological structures, the general rock mass characteristics as well as to carry out an
economic evaluation to determine whether a stoping block should be mined. This type

of information requires that the sampling process extend beyond the orebody
boundaries in order to determine the likelihood of failure from orebody hangingwalls,
footwalls or stope crowns.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The first step in any rockmass characterization process is a three dimensional


definition of the main geological discontinuities such as faults, shears, rock type
contacts, etc. These structures are identified during the orebody delineation process
and are likely to play a major role in the overall mechanical behavior of the entire

deposit.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The second step of a rockmass characterization program is to determine the


rockmass behavior away from the main geological discontinuities by defining what it is
called a structural domain for design. This can be achieved by core logging and direct
mapping of joint set characteristics such as number of joint sets, joint orientation,

frequency, trace length, etc. (Villaescusa, 1991)

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2 Global design

Global design issues are related to the design and stability of large sections of a
mine, such as a new orebody, extensions at depth or at the abutment of an existing

deposit. Global design issues are listed in Table 2 (Villaescusa, 2004). The issues
involved include global orebody delineation, mine access and infrastructure,
dimensions of sublevel intervals, backfill requirements, equipment and ventilation
considerations, etc.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Stress analysis of the global production schedules are critical to determine the loading
conditions (stress and displacement) likely to result from a proposed mine-wide
stoping sequence. A limited number of geotechnical issues are briefly discussed here.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Table 2 Global (block) design issues


Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.1 Block delineation

The geological analysis on a block scale requires information on orebody delineation,


grade, major geological structures as well as the major rock types within and around

the orebodies. A grade distribution and a geotechnical model on a block scale can be
constructed from the geological interpretation of the data, which is initially collected
from widely spaced surface diamond drill holes.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The preliminary design of a mining block layout is based on confirmatory drilling, with
holes drilled at 60-80 metres spacing. Additional geological information is required to
provide the ore limits and grade information suitable for detailed stope design. This
information can be collected as underground access becomes available and stope

delineation drilling at 20-40 metres spacing can be carried out. In addition, geological
and geotechnical mapping is then carried out from the exposed rock around the block
development.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The geological and geotechnical models are used by the mine planning engineer to
develop a geometrical model of a stoping block in three dimensions. The major
geological structures likely to influence the overall block stability are determined and
included in the analysis.

The resulting three-dimensional model can then be used to calculate tonnes and
grade for a design block. Following mining method selection and an economical
analysis for the block, the design of the development, ore and waste handling
systems, services, ventilation, etc. can be undertaken.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.2 Global extraction sequences


One of the limiting factors affecting the design of an underground excavation is the
maximum void space that a rockmass can sustain without failure. This failure may
take place as a function of either movement along planes of weakness, or through a
combination of intact rock failures and geological discontinuities. In most orebodies
suitable to open stoping, the volume that may be safely excavated, such that stope
wall failures are avoided, is many times smaller than the orebody itself. Consequently,

a series of individual stopes must be excavated to achieve full orebody extraction.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

One of the most important tools that a design and planning engineer has for
controlling the overall behaviour of a rockmass is the extraction sequence of the
stopes contained within a given area of an orebody.

Extraction sequences are fundamental to achieve production targets safely and


economically throughout a stoping life. In most underground mines, a number of
sources in various stages of development, production and backfilling are being
extracted at anyone time.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The sources are likely to be scheduled from a number of locations and extraction
methods. In general a stoping sequence is driven by ore grade requirements,
operational issues and induced stress considerations (Potvin and Hudyma, 2000).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.2.1 Numerical modelling

Induced stresses from a particular extraction sequence can be determined using


numerical modelling. Depending upon the type of model being used, the input

required include an estimate of the stress field (with depth) from in-situ stress
measurements, the deformational properties of the rock mass, the initial excavation
geometry and the overall sequence of extraction. Up to now, most of the numerical
modelling programs model elastic rock behaviour. Consequently the results must be
used in conjunction with structural information (for example large fault behaviour) in
order to interpret the different extraction options.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Typical outputs from numerical modelling include stresses and displacements, which
in turn can be compared with empirical failure criterion established for the different
domains within an orebody. Any predictive models must be calibrated (validated)
against field data and observations. In addition, effective numerical modelling tools

must allow a realistic assessment of mine-wide extraction sequences (Figure 1).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 1 Main principal stress distribution in a stoping block using the program MAP3D
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

A model pre-processing must be linked to a three-dimensional model of the


excavation geometries in order to reduce mesh generation times. A link to mine
scheduling is required in order to analyze the different extraction sequencing options.

A limitation of linear elastic modelling include the inability to predict movement, fall-off
or dilution from fault or shear zones. Finite element based non linear models are
required to predict a complete failure of the rock mass and any resultant stress redistribution from such failures (Beck et al, 2006). Progressive orebody extraction may
induce several phases of post-peak behaviour in a rock mass, and small changes to
the stress field induced by distant stope extraction may cause significant rock mass
damage around the stope boundaries.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.2.2 Regional pillars

The use of regional pillars is sometimes required to control the overall stability and to
provide safe access to active stoping areas across an existing orebody. In some

cases the pillars are required for permanent access throughout the entire life of a
stoping block. The use of transverse pillars to control the overall stability of massive
orebodies, such as the 1100 orebody at Mount Isa Mines is well documented
(Alexander and Fabyanczyk, 1982). Transverse pillars are an efficient way of
controlling overall crown subsidence, while ensuring safe access through the orebody
(Figure 2).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 2 Plan view of the Mount Isa Mines 1100 orebody showing transverse pillar access
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Stress re-distributions from a global stoping sequence may cause damage to


transverse or regional pillars.

This damage may require rehabilitation or loss of access development through the

pillar. Extension strain cracking (Stacey, 1981) parallel to the direction of the major
principal stress orientation may be experienced, especially in rock masses exhibiting
a high modulus. Consequently, an eventual recovery of transverse pillars must be
planned carefully, ideally with the initial pillar stope located in the least structured
areas. Extraction of the initial stope may allow an overall stress reduction within the
pillar, as a stress shadow is likely to be created for the adjacent transverse pillar
stopes.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Damage to permanent pillars is not entirely determined by stress induced behaviour,


as pre-existing geological discontinuities can also influence the performance of a
pillar. Geotechnical monitoring has linked stoping activities and instability in
concurrent extraction areas along the strike length of large fault zones (Logan et al,

1993). The resulting behavior can be linked to induced stress relief along the
structures with increased loading and degree of freedom. Large stope blasts can
transmit energy along continuous fault zones, and fill drainage may introduce water
into fault systems. As a result, production and filling strategies must minimize stope
interaction along common faults that intersect permanent pillars (Logan et al, 1993).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3 Block development

The purpose of block development is to provide suitable access for stoping and ore
handling, fill reticulation, ventilation, mine services as well as gaining further and more

detailed information about the nature and size of the orebody. The two main factors to
be considered are: the mode of entry to the underground workings; and the related
lateral development required to stope the orebodies. The layout of the basic
development depends upon the orebody characteristics, the nature of the host rock
and the stoping method chosen for extraction. Properly designed block development
is critical to the ongoing success of a stoping operation.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3.1 Vertical shafts

Vertical shaft is the most common type of access for deep underground orebodies.
Shaft sinking and equipping is a specialised, complex procedure usually costing

millions of dollars. Consequently, it is economically justifiable to spend a significant


amount of time and money on site selection and characterization. The rock mass
investigations require geotechnical drilling to assess the presence of major geological
discontinuities, the hydrological regime, the nature and strength of jointing and the
physical properties of the rock types intersected. This is likely to indicate any potential
stability problems during shaft sinking and the subsequent access maintenance.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

A shaft is sunk to a depth that will ensure many years of production during the life of a
mine. Shaft location is controlled by the mining method used as well as the rock types
present on a particular site. In sublevel stoping, the location of the shaft is usually to
the footwall of the orebodies, where it is likely to be outside the influence of any

ground disturbance caused by the stoping operations. In cases where the shaft is
located within an orebody, a large amount of level development can be carried out
within the orebody. However, a large amount of ore around the shaft must be left
unmined as a shaft pillar (Figure 3). For example, the main and supply shaft services
of the 1100 orebody at Mount Isa Mines has a shaft pillar that exceeds 200m in
diameter (Grant and DeKruijff, 2000).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 3 Plan view of no mining and restricted mining pillars around the R62 shaft complex in
Mount Isa Mines
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The design and monitoring of shaft pillars usually include the prediction of strain
profiles as a first pass design using numerical modelling. This is followed by physical
monitoring of rock mass response to mining in order to identify displacement on preexisting geological discontinuities intersecting the shaft.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3.2 Ramp access

In some cases, major access to stoping blocks is provided by ramps, which are
usually located within the footwall of the orebodies. Access and trucking ramp

systems are generally used, with major trucking ramps usually graded and designed
with enough radius of curvature to preserve sight distance, manoeuvrability and
minimise tyre wear. Ideally, ramps are designed anti-clockwise downwards in order to
provide optimum sight distance to LHD drivers, which must descend bucket first.
Ramps must not lead directly into accesses to major mining excavations such as
workshops, fuelling bays, etc.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The ramp dimensions are determined by the size of the mining equipment utilized. In
particular, the design of a ramp intersection with other roadways is important, as they
must remain stable. Ramps may undergo high stress re-distributions since the stopes
are usually retreated towards crosscuts off a ramping system. The location and

geometry of the ramps must take into account factors such as the orebody geometry,
the rockmass strength and the stress loading as a result of the overall extraction
sequence (Beck and Sandy, 2003).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3.3 Crown pillars

In some cases a major crown pillar is left in place to separate open pit and
underground excavations within the same orebody (Figure 4). Consequently, crown

pillar stability is then critical to ensure a safe underground extraction. The pillar
dimension and stability are a function of a number of parameters. The most important
are the width of the orebody, the stress regime, the blasting practices, the rock mass
strength within the pillar, the overall stope extraction sequence (top down or bottom
up), and whether backfill will be introduced into the system.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 4 Long section view of crown pillar at the Kundana Gold Mine
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The actual crown pillar dimension will depend upon the stress environment.
Indications of high stress could include obvious signs of mining induced stress
fracturing. High stresses may also be induced in low stress environment near the
surface, due to the geometry of the orebody and the percent extraction below and

above the pillar. Numerical modelling is required to determine the stress concentration
within the pillar. In addition, if a crown pillar is situated within a stress shadow
environment, consideration must also be given to potential unravelling due to loss of
clamping across the pillar. A crown pillar maybe recovered early in a stoping life by
incorporating extraction of portions of the crown pillar above each individual stope
extraction.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3.4 Sublevel interval

The selection of a sublevel interval is controlled by a global economic decision that


provides the lowest cost per ton of ore for the mining method chosen at a particular

mining block. Consideration to select a sublevel interval is not always controlled by


stope wall stability. In most cases, the sublevel interval is based on factors such as
development cost, the irregularity of the orebody down dip (Figure 5), the available
drilling equipment and considerations of rock mass damage from explosives.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 5 The effects of orebody nature on the chosen sublevel interval


Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Table 3 indicates the recommended range of hole lengths for different drilling
technology, in order to minimize hole deviation. They represent a starting point and
the results should be evaluated against local experience

Table 3 Suggested blasting patterns for sublevel stoping


Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

In some cases, the width of the orebody also plays a role while determining the hole
diameter, as increased blast damage may be expected with blasting large diameter
holes in heavily confined narrow orebodies. In addition, a sublevel interval can be
increased by using a combination of downhole and uphole drilling geometries.

However, breakthrough holes are usually required in critical areas of a stope


boundary, such as the cut-off slot or the hangingwall holes, thus limiting the sublevel
interval dimension.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

2.3.5 Fill infrastructure

Mine fill is required to provide large scale ground support as well as localized stability
for pillar recovery. The key stages of a fill operation for sublevel stoping are material

and stope preparation, fill delivery or reticulation followed by backfill placement and
drainage. Development for fill delivery and reticulation issues is usually addressed
during a global block design. The options may include fill delivery from a surface
material station using raise holes or boreholes, trucked to stopes via ramp access or
from underground sources. Underground fill reticulation is achieved by means of
gravity fed or pumping to stoped-out areas. Conveyor belts, pipeline distributions,
standard or ejection tray trucks can be used.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Fill reticulation for massive orebodies usually requires long-term development within
the crown of an orebody (Figure 6) In such cases, crown subsidence may threaten
the stability of the development associated with a fill system above the orebody. To
minimize this, progressive tight filling of stope voids is required as the combined effect

of unfilled stope crowns can result in regional subsidence. Geological and operational
factors such as delaying of fill can influence the rate of subsidence.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 6 Schematic of fill distribution system at Mount Isa Mines (Bloss, 1996)
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

3 Detailed design

Detailed design is related to the extraction of individual stopes within a global area
(Villaescusa 1998, 2004). Detailed design is the process of establishing an optimum

extraction method for an individual stope, subject to a number of variables and


constraints. Blasthole geometry, firing sequence, ground support, ventilation and
economics are some of the key variables considered. The constraints include the
orebody boundaries, the geological structures, any existing development, and in
some cases, any adjacent backfill masses.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 7 shows a typical process for taking an open stope from conceptual design
through to production. The detailed design process begins when a geological team
undertakes detailed orebody delineation for a particular stope extraction. In-fill
delineation drilling, mapping, sampling and geological interpretations on a stope scale

are then completed. The mine planning engineer uses geological sections from a
mine design package to do a preliminary stope design, while the rock mechanics
engineer completes a rock mass characterization program, providing guidelines for
dilution control, reinforcement and blast sequencing.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Geological considerations such as the presence of major geological discontinuities


often influence the blasting sequences. Other factors considered are the stress redistributions within and around a stope and likely to control fall-off behavior on the
exposed walls. In addition, the retreat direction of the blasthole rings must take into

account the stope ventilation network, with a retreat direction into fresh air. A stope
design note covering many aspects involved in the development and production of a
stope has been described in detail by Villaescusa (2004).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 7 A typical process for detailed stope design used at Mount Isa Mines.
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Once a final stope design status has been achieved, the blasthole ring design is
undertaken by considering the production rigs that will be used, the ore limits, the
survey pick-up of the access development, the extent and sublevels of the stope, as
well as the ring burden and toe spacing.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The ore limits are usually updated in accordance with the completed stope
development. A scaled floor plan showing details of the latest survey information
including any vertical openings and status of surrounding stopes will be provided to
assist the drillers. Location of hangingwall, footwalls, cut-off detail and location of the

main rings are also included (Figure 8).

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Figure 8 Floor plan of a bench stope showing cut-off slot position and main rings
Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

A long section that includes a schematic view of the stope cut-off raise, the cut-off,
the production rings and the trough undercuts, is also completed. This section helps
to explain the stope design philosophy, and becomes a useful tool during drilling and
blasting of the stope. Table 4 list a number of issues that should be considered during

stope design.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Table 4 Detailed stope design checklist


Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes
E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

4 Stope reconciliation

Regular inspections of a producing stope are required, especially after each firing in
order to monitor walls, crown and drawpoint conditions. Any significant rock noise,

fall-off or underbreak should be documented. In addition, dilution exceeding more


than 10% should be reported, so that the actual stope grade can be adjusted
accordingly.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Geologist should conduct drawpoint investigations to estimate the grade of the ore
being produced. Secondary blasting of oversized rocks and hung-up drawpoints may
be required. In some cases a bomb bay may be available for stockpiling oversized
rocks and undertaking secondary blasting.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Broken ore is mucked conventionally when the drawpoints are full, but it is sometimes
required to remote muck the last ore remaining in the floor of a stope, especially in
large flat-bottomed stopes with retreating drawpoints. Significant disruptions to
mucking productivity can occur when excessive delays are experienced during a

stope extraction.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Stopes left open over long periods of time may be influenced by timedependent
regional fault behaviour. Stress re-distribution, production blasting and backfill
drainage from adjacent stopes are likely to influence stope stability over a period of
time. Blast damage and the effects of water from backfill can be transmitted along

common fault structures intersecting a number of stopes.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Instability may create difficult remote mucking conditions due to large material falling
off into the stope. These delays (stope production tails) actually extend the stope life,
which in turn may contribute to more overbreak and more mucking delays.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

The estimated cash per tonne of extraction reserves is calculated using the
delineated mining reserve (tonnes and grade), the metal prices and the extraction and
dilution factors expected. The total cash profit (or loss) is determined using a proper
ore value model suited to the particular economics of a mine site. The input factors

may include tonnes mined, grades and metal prices, mining, milling, smelting,
overheads and royalties, exchanges rates, etc.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

In periods of excess mining, hoisting and milling capacity the total net cash revenue
can be increased by mining marginal stopes or marginal ore within stope boundaries.
Marginal ore can be included within a stope design provided that little or no extra cost
(no excessive extra development or additional reinforcement, etc.) will be incurred.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

An individual stope should be extracted if it can return a positive total net cash
revenue after covering the costs of the remaining work required for extraction.
Specific stopes may not make break even but may be sufficiently advanced in terms
of development, ground support, etc. to warrant a reduction in the break even value.

Geotechnical considerations for planning and design of open stopes


E. Villaescusa CRC Mining, WA School of Mines

Planificacin de Sub Level Stoping


Quantifying open stope performance
E. Villaescusa

Professor of Geomechanics,
Western Australian School of Mines

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

Abstract

Stope performance is reviewed with respect to the overall stope design process.
Global and detailed design issues are identified along the way, and the stope design

note is described in detail. Stope performance is quantified based on depth of failure


measurements, which are calculated using block models of Cavity Monitoring System
wireframes and tested against the stope design boundaries. Finally a stope
performance assessment summary data sheet is also provided.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

1 INTRODUCTION

The sublevel open stoping method (SLOS) are used to extract large massive or
tabular, steeplydipping competent orebodies surrounded by competent host rocks

which in general have few constraints regarding the shape, size and continuity of the
mineralization. In general, open stopes are relatively large excavations in which ring
drilling is the main method of rock breakage (Villaescusa, 2000).

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The SLOS method offers several advantages including, low cost and efficient nonentry production operations, utilization of highly mechanized, mobile drilling and
loading production equipment, high production rates with a minimum level of
personnel. Furthermore, production operations are concentrated into few locations

such as ring drilling, blasting and drawpoint mucking.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The disadvantages include a requirement for a significant level of development


infrastructure before production starts, thus incurring a high initial capital investment.
However, most of the development occurs within the orebody. In addition, the stopes
must be designed with regular boundaries and internal waste pockets can not be

separated within the broken ore. Similarly, delineated ore can not be recovered
beyond a designed stope boundary.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Consequently, ore dilution, consisting of lowgrade, waste rock or minefill materials,


may occur at the stope boundaries. Furthermore, ore loss due to insufficient breakage
can also occur within the stope boundaries.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The stope performance is measured by the ability to achieve maximum extraction with
minimal dilution. Hence, the success of the method relies on the stability of large
(mainly unreinforced) stope walls and crowns as well as the stability of any fill masses
exposed

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

2 STOPE DESIGN PROCESS

Stope design for dilution control requires interactions among geology, mine planning,
rock mechanics and operating personnel (Villaescusa, 1998). The overall rational

methodology for the stope design process is shown in Figure 1. Six key stages (and
key personnel) are identified, with the orebody delineation and rock mass
characterization stages as the basic input.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The tasks consists of an early determination of rockmass properties on a block scale,


followed by an estimate of the likely loading conditions from the mining sequences.
The process requires a global and a detailed design stage, where global design
issues are relevant and applicable within entire areas of a mine, such as an extension

of an existing orebody, while detailed design issues are applicable to the extraction of
individual stopes.

Finally, a monitoring and back analysis strategy is required to allow a documented


closure of the mine design loop.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

3 geological and geotechnical characterization

The stope design process starts with an initial orebody delineation process to provide
an interpolated outline of the grade contours. This information is critical and is initially

used to locate the required drilling and mucking drives along the orebody in question.
The accuracy of the delineated grade boundaries is a function of the nature of the
orebody, the amount of drilling information and the mining access through the
orebody.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

For narrow orebodies, development is carried out under strict geological control, a
process that requires geological mapping of drives and crosscuts through the
orebodies (and sometimes additional in-fill drilling) in order to define the stope orewaste contacts.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 1. A formalized stope design methodology from data collection to stope reconciliation.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The suggested approach is to obtain representative (mine-wide) rock mass properties


required during the global excavation design and stability analysis stages. In most
cases, this information is obtained from diamond drill holes (core logging of nonoriented holes, as well as geotechnical holes) and direct mapping of underground

openings.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Geophysical tools can also used for orebody delineation and rock mass
characterization. The confidence in the geological information must be sufficient to
establish the nature and irregularities of the orebody, the nature and location of major
controlling geological structures, the general rock mass characteristics as well as to

perform an economic evaluation to determine whether a particular block should be


mined. This type of information requires that the sampling process extend beyond the
orebody boundaries in order to determine the likelihood of failure from orebody
hangingwalls, footwalls or stope crowns.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Experience has shown that the interpolated grade may define the economics of a
stope, but the geological structures and the location (and alignment) of the drives updip may define the final shape.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Lithology and the presence of major faults and joints relative to the stope wall
orientations need to be anticipated in order to control dilution (See Figure 2).

Figure 2: Massive stope hangingwall failure controlled by large scale faults.


Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

A need exists for routine geological mapping and timely interpretations to keep the
geology current and to determine areas of low rock mass strength, associated with
clay fracture filling and moderate to complete wall alteration. Interpreted geology
maps across all stope levels, on a stope composite basis, are essential tools for

evaluating the likely influence of rock type and major geological discontinuities on the
actual stope performance.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

4 Global design

Global design issues are related to the design and stability of large sections of a
mine, such as a new orebody extension at depth or at the abutment for an existing

deposit. Global design issues are schematically represented on Figure 1, and listed
in detail in Table 1. The issues involved include global orebody delineation, design of
mine access and infrastructure, dimensions of sublevel intervals, backfill requirements
and infrastructure, equipment and ventilation considerations, etc.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Stress analysis of the global production schedules is critical to determine the loading
conditions (stress and displacement) likely to result from a proposed mine-wide
stoping sequence.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

5 Detailed design

Detailed design is related to the extraction of individual stopes within a global area
and it represents the process of establishing an optimum extraction method for an

individual stope, subject to a number of variables and constraints.

Blasthole geometry, firing sequence, ground support, ventilation and economics are
some of the key variables considered. The constraints include the orebody
boundaries, the geological structures, any existing development, and in some cases,
any adjacent backfill masses (See Figure 3).

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 3. Multiple lift stope showing main ring and diaphragm ring details.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Detailed design is achieved by means of a stope design note issued to the planning
and operating personnel. Such a document includes detail on the overall extraction
philosophy, plans of sublevel development, sections showing blasthole design
concepts and drilling and blasting parameters, ventilation, geology, rock mechanics

and overall firing sequence.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

All the topics included on a stope design document are inter-related. The extraction
philosophy provides a general overview of the design, safety and production issues
for a particular section of an orebody. Properly reinforced stope development is
required to allow access for drilling, blasting and mucking.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Development size is a function of the stoping method and the equipment utilised.
Knowledge of the nature and stability of the adjacent backfill masses is needed to
design cleaner rings or to avoid toeing of blastholes into the backfill.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Structural geology considerations such as the presence of major geological


discontinuities often influence the blasting sequences. Other factors considered are
the stress re-distributions within and around a stope and likely to control fall-off
behaviour on the exposed walls. In addition, the retreat direction of the blasthole rings

must take into account the stope ventilation network, with a retreat direction into fresh
air.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

6 Stope design note

A stope design note covers many aspects involved in the development and production
of a stope (See Table 2). Technical presentations are required to encourage technical

input from all the members of the design team (geology, rock mechanics, planning,
operations and management).

They usually occur twice within the design process: at the conceptual design stages
and prior to the issue of the final drill and blast design. Feedback from both meetings
should be incorporated into the final stope design.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 4. Cross section view showing drilling details in multiple lift open stoping.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

A scaled floor plan showing details of the latest survey information including any
vertical openings and status of surrounding stopes will be provided to assist the
drillers. Locations of hangingwall, footwall, cut-off detail and location of the main rings
are also included. A long section that includes a schematic view of the stope cut-off

raise, the cut-off, the production rings and the trough undercuts, is also completed.
This section helps to explain the stope design philosophy, and becomes a useful tool
during drilling and blasting of the stope.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

7 Stope extraction

The actual firing sequence used to extract individual stopes is likely to influence
stress redistribution as well as blast induced damage within a stope. Stress and blast

induced fall-off within a stope boundary may lead to poor mucking performance during
extraction.

Although fall-off resulting from stope firing is not the only source of poor
fragmentation, it can be minimized by avoiding excessive undercutting of the stope
walls (See Figure 5).

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 5. Stope wall undercutting within a stope firing sequence.


Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

A number of design options can be used to reduce stope undercut; including for
example, firing the cut-off slot to the full height of the stope before blasting of the main
rings commences. This can be followed by the sequential blasting of the main rings to
the full stope height (Villaescusa, 2000).

The objective is to reduce the number of stope faces exposed, thereby reducing the
potential for time related structurally controlled fall-off. Undercut of the main rings can
be avoided by designing the troughs to be blasted with coinciding faces.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

A stope firing sequence also determines the rate of exposure of the main geological
discontinuities intersecting a stope (See Figure 6). A rapid exposure of a large fault
may occur after mass blasting or after progressive firing to a fault (See Figure 6a).
Such exposures may not allow sufficient time for a gradual stress relief.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 6. Exposure of large geological features during stoping operations.


Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

If the orientation of the stress field is unfavorable, large shear stresses may result and
induce local and regional fault movements leading to stope fall-off. In order to
optimize stability, stope firings should proceed across a structure to allow progressive
stress relief of the shear stresses (See Figure 6b).

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

8 Stope performance

A stope performance review is undertaken as a technical audit of a stope design


process. The review is performed during the stope extraction (after each firing) to

monitor the conditions at the exposed stope walls, including backbreak, underbreak
and broken ore fragmentation.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The purpose of the review is to determine any variations from a planned stope design
extraction strategy. To achieve this, a series of stope surveys can be carried out after
each significant firing, and also following the completion of all firings (See Figure 7).

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 7. Longitudinal section view of a large scale bench stope showing consecutive surveys
indicating minimal backbreak.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The performance review provides a mechanism to record the observations from


operators and technical personnel in order to indicate problems and successes during
stope extraction. A database that highlights lessons to be learnt and improvements to
be made can be adopted for each stope. Table 3 shows some of the typical problems

and possible solutions (by no means exhaustive) encountered in open stoping.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

In addition to those problems, stopes left open over long periods of time may be
influenced by time-dependent regional fault behaviour. Stress re-distribution,
production blasting and backfill drainage from adjacent stopes are likely to influence
stope stability over a period of time. Blast damage and the effects of water from

backfill can be transmitted along common fault structures intersecting a number of


stopes. Instability may create difficult remote mucking conditions due to large material
falling off into the stope. These delays (stope production tails) actually extend the
stope life, which in turn may contribute to more overbreak and more mucking delays.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Production profiles are usually shown as histograms of mucked volume on a daily


basis. The data in Figure 8 show that long-hole winzing (or any re-slotting) actually
slow down productivity. Since dilution is defined as any material that is extracted
beyond the boundaries of a designed orebody outline, a comparison of mucked

versus designed volume can be used to estimate dilution as shown in Figure 9.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 8. Production profile from a high lift bench stope

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 9. Cumulative plot of time vs volume for fired and mucked volumes.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

With the advent of the Cavity Monitoring System (CMS) stope survey technique
(Miller et al., 1992), information about the actual variations from a designed stope
shape can be routinely obtained and used analytically to calculate dilution, depth of
failure and to determine structural control by large faults at the stope boundaries.

Contours of depth of failure can be determined by filling the CMS wireframes with
blocks and using the stope orientation information to orient the block model such that
Y direction of the blocks is perpendicular to the hangingwall, the X direction parallel to
the strike and Z direction parallel to the dip of the stopes as shown in Figure 10.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 10. A CMS wireframe filled with 0.25m x0.25m x 0.25m blocks.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The block model can then be interrogated using the lode hangingwall and footwall and
the CMS wireframes. The blocks inside the CMS wireframe, yet outside the lode
hangingwall boundaries (depth of failure) need to be determined. Once the thickness
for each column of blocks in the Y direction is calculated, the information can then be

contoured using 0.5 metre intervals as shown in Figure 11.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 11. Longitudinal view of hangingwall depth of failure contours showing structurally
controlled failure
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Information from failure depths can be used to compare stope performance between
double and single lift stopes for a similar range of strike lengths and rock mass
conditions (See Figure 12).

Back analysis of CMS data can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify stopes where
blast damage may be causing early failures as shown in Figure 12(a). The stope
highlighted by a large circle shows a depth of failure that is not in accordance with the
other stopes of similar size and shape at this particular mining operation.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 12. Depth of failure for different hangingwall stope geometries.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The data in Figure 12(b) show that for this site similar depths of failure were
experienced within the short stopes (25m high down dip) compared with the large
stopes (50m down dip). A stronger geometrical control on the behaviour was
experienced within the large stopes, where a range of failure depths can be

established for stopes having a similar strike length.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The depth of failure within the short stopes was controlled by factors other then
geometry, such as blast damage or time dependency. The depth of failure increases
sharply when the hydraulic radius exceeds 8 as shown in Figure 13. The depth of
failure in the stope footwalls is not controlled by stope geometry.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 13. Depth of failure for different hydraulic radius

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The stope performance can also be quantified by plotting depth of failure versus
critical span as shown in Figure 14. The economical impact of dilution can readily be
linked to depth of failure.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 14. Depth of failure for different spans within a shallow dipping tabular open stope
operation.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

The larger the critical span for this particular operation, the larger the failure depth. A
reduction on the critical spans may require additional pillars (hence ore loss). The
balance between additional pillars versus the detrimental effects of failures (See
Figure 15) can only be established using an economic model of dilution.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Figure 15. The detrimental effects of stope back failure following stope blasting leading to ore
contamination and ore loss.
Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa
Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

In order to ensure that the actual stope performance information is used to the best
advantage, and to improve future designs, the details of stope design and its
underlying assumptions can be documented in a Stope Atlas, where the history of the
stope performance is recorded from the initial firing through to final stope completion.

The information contained varies depending upon the stoping practices at a particular
mine site. The following issues may be included:

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Geology
Geological orebody model and interpretations, geological structural and rock mass
properties.

Stope design
Initial stope design geometry, documentation of changes to design parameters, the
reason and the results.
Stope extraction
Drilling and blasting practice, in-the-hole survey data and comparison to design,
fragmentation assessment.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Stope performance
Maximum spans achieved, stope survey (CMS) data, back analysis of failures,
geotechnical information that contributed to understanding the failures, ground
support performance.
Stope summary
A one page stope performance review for easy reference (See Table 4

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

9 Conclusions

The Stope performance is measured by the ability to achieve maximum extraction


with minimal dilution. The key variable used to compare performance is depth of

failure, which is calculated using CMS wireframes and the designed stope
boundaries. The data show that depth of failure can be used to identify blast damage
and other factors controlling stability such as time dependency. Depth of failure
increases significantly when the stope size exceeds a critical value and can be readily
used to develop economic models of dilution.

Quantifying open stope performance E. Villaescusa


Professor of Geomechanics, Western Australian School of Mines

Planificacin de un Sub Level Stoping


Global extraction sequences in sublevel stoping
MPES 2003 Conference
Kalgoorlie April 2003

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

Abstract

A review of the most widely used global extraction sequences in sublevel is undertaken.
The review includes techniques used to extract massive as well as single or multiple
steeply dipping tabular orebodies. The paper also deals with thick flat lying orebodies
suitable for open stoping. Techniques used to minimize the effect of stress redistributions on a global scale are discussed for all the extraction sequences analyzed.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Introduction

One of the limiting factors affecting the design of an underground excavation is the
maximum void space that a rockmass can sustain without failure. This failure may take
place as a function of either movement along planes of weakness, or through a
combination of intact rock failures and geological discontinuities. In most orebodies
suitable to open stoping, the volume that may be safely excavated, such that stope wall
failures are avoided, is many times smaller than the orebody itself. Consequently, a
series of individual stopes must be excavated to achieve full orebody extraction.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Introduction

One of the limiting factors affecting the design of an underground excavation is the
maximum void space that a rockmass can sustain without failure. This failure may take
place as a function of either movement along planes of weakness, or through a
combination of intact rock failures and geological discontinuities. In most orebodies
suitable to open stoping, the volume that may be safely excavated, such that stope wall
failures are avoided, is many times smaller than the orebody itself. Consequently, a
series of individual stopes must be excavated to achieve full orebody extraction.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

One of the most important tools that a design and planning engineer has for controlling
the overall behaviour of a rockmass is the extraction sequence of the stopes contained
within a given area of an orebody. Extraction sequences are fundamental to achieve
production targets safely and economically throughout a stoping life. In most
underground mines, a number of sources in various stages of development, production
and filling are being extracted at anyone time. Stoping sources are likely to be scheduled
from a number of locations and extraction methods.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

In cases where fill is not used, the main concern is the sequencing of the stopes such
that early over stressing of permanent pillars is avoided. When fill is used, a number of
extraction strategies are available to optimize pillar recovery. In general a stoping
sequence is driven by ore grade requirements, operational issues such as existing
development and fill availability as well as induced stress considerations. A technically
sound strategy is to avoid creating blocks of highly stressed rock within an orebody. This
can be achieved by retreating stopes to an orebody abutment instead of creating pillars
located within central orebody areas. In general, an overall stope extraction sequence is
influenced by the nature of the orebody in question.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Extraction sequences in massive orebodies


Massive orebodies can be extracted using multiple stopes (primary, secondary and when
required tertiary) in conjunction with mass blasting techniques and cemented fill. A

number of sequencing options can be used including temporary rib, crown and
transverse pillars, strike slots with continuous or discontinuous advance and chequer
board sequences.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Each overall extraction sequence can be engineered to manage the in-situ stress redistributions on a global scale. Ideally, the initial stopes are extracted within a chosen
area of an orebody and subsequent stopes are retreated systematically towards orebody
abutments taking into account the stress re-distributions, production tonnages
requirements and access constraints.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Temporary rib, crown and transverse pillars

One extraction option used in extremely competent rock masses is to mass blast
secondary stopes into adjacent primary stopes to create very large, but stable openings.
At Mount Charlotte orebody top down mining was implemented by mining one or two
stopes along the strike followed by mass blasting of adjacent rib and crown pillars
allowing unconsolidated rock fill to cascade from above onto the broken ores as shown in
Figure 1.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Ore was extracted from drawpoints, located at the bottom of the stopes, and mucking
stopped when dilution from the rock fill became excessive. This procedure was repeated
along a particular stoping block until all ore was mined. Stoping then started on the
immediate lower block on a similar fashion, and fill (dry waste rock) was continually
added at a surface glory hole. Pillar failures, arching of crowns, blasthole closure and
fault movement were experienced with progressive stoping block depth at Mount
Charlotte (Ullah, 1997).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

In order to increase recovery and achieve stability, the resulting voids can either be filled
using consolidated fill or unconsolidated fill with the individual stopes separated by rib
(longitudinal) and transverse pillars (See Figure 2). The latter option leaves a high
proportion of ore tied up in the rib and transverse pillars, and methods such as sublevel
caving retreat have been used to achieve complete recovery of these pillars (Alexander
and Fabjanczyk, 1982).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Slots with continuous or discontinuous advance

The concept of a discontinuous strike slot for a 12 stope extraction sequence is shown in
Figure 3. Assuming the main principal stress to be normal to the long axis of the orebody,
the primary secondary and tertiary stopes are designed with an overall stress
management philosophy consisting of stress shadowing and orebody abutment retreat.
Once the strike slot has been completed (stopes 1-4), all the remaining stopes are
effectively stress shadowed from the main principal stress.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The number on the stopes relates to the extraction sequence and the fill masses are
only exposed on a single wall at a time. In addition, sufficient time is allowed for fill curing
by carefully sequencing the adjacent stopes. Stopes at the orebody corners are
sequenced last, such that cemented fill is not required.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Stress shadowing during stope sequencing occurs when two or more excavations are
aligned along a major principal stress trajectory. Stresses re-distribute, and some areas
may be stress relieved as the rock lies in the shadow cast by the excavations. In
addition, stress may be intensified in other areas, depending upon the distance between
the excavations (See Figure 4). Consequently, in order to relieve stress at the early
stages of an extraction sequence suggests that either transverse pillars or discontinuous
transverse/strike slots should be avoided, as stress concentrations are likely to develop
within those geometries.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

At the Creighton Mine in Canada, a series of central stopes were extracted adjacent to
each other to form a continuous slot within the initial mining block in order to create a
stress shadow for the remaining stopes (See Figure 5). In order to form a continuous
strike slot, the fill from the initial stope must be cured before extraction of the immediately
adjacent stopes can proceed. Production from the first three stopes is slowed by the
requirements to not expose the initial fill mass simultaneously in both sides.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

This means that the third stope within the strike slot must wait until the second stope fill
mass has cured. However, later on the extraction sequence (stopes 7, 8, 10 & 11) are
sequenced to expose fill masses in both sides as shown in Figure 5. A better alternative
for stope sequencing is shown conceptually before in Figure 2, where the fill masses are
exposed on a single surface and the adjacent stopes sequenced to provide enough time
for the filled stopes to cure.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Chequer board extractions

Another alternative for extraction of massive orebodies is to adopt a chequer board


pattern of extraction that starts with primary stopes filled with consolidated fill followed by
secondary and tertiary stope extraction of stope pillars having multiple fill mass
exposures.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The stoping front can either move longitudinally or adopt a continuous retreat strategy
depending upon the level of in-situ stress and the production tonnage requirements.
Figure 6 shows the massive 1100 orebody at Mount Isa Mines, in which a north to south
global sequence has continuously stepped out to access primary stoping blocks. The
extraction was designed with large, 40m by 300-400m east-west transverse pillars for
access, ventilation and services (Grant and DeKruijff, 2000).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The advantages of a properly designed chequer board extraction sequence includes


stable primary stopes which must be timely tight filled to provide support to the remaining
stopes and crown pillar (Alexander and Fabjanczyk, 1982). A disadvantage is the large
amount of ore tied up within the remaining tertiary stope pillars, where localized stope
design can be complex and a function of existing development and the number of fill
exposures as mine life progresses. A chequer board sequence is dependent upon
successful mass blasting practices and the development of stable fill masses that provide
support to adjacent rock masses with minimal dilution during multiple fill exposures.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN STEEPLY DIPPING OREBODIES

In the case of steeply dipping and relatively narrow orebodies, the most common
orebody access is via crosscuts off access drives that are connected to ramps usually
located in the footwall of the orebodies. The crosscuts intersect the orebodies from
footwall to hangingwall and ore drives are developed from the crosscuts along the strike
of the intersected orebodies.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Top down or bottom up bench stoping

In cases where bench stoping is used (Villaescusa et al, 1994), the stopes can be
retreated towards the crosscuts using either a top-down or a bottom-up sequence as
shown in Figure 7.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

A top down bench stope extraction sequences usually requires permanent rib pillars to
minimize dilution between individual stopes along strike. In addition, a series of crown
pillars maybe required to control overall stability, dilution and to isolate any
unconsolidated fill that may be introduced into the upper stopes as extraction progresses
downward (See Figure 8). A bottom up sequence requires fill in order to provide a
working floor as the extraction proceeds upward. The need for a crown pillar is minimized
by the use of rib pillars along the strike of the orebody and the beneficial impact of the fill
masses (Villaescusa and Kuganathan, 1998).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Flexibility and productivity in bench stoping can be greatly enhanced with the introduction
of two access crosscuts as shown in Figure 9. Although costly, this configuration
increases tonnage and allows for an optimized stress re-distributions as the intial stopes
can be located in the centre of the mining block with subsequent retreat towards the
abutments.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Primary and secondary stope extraction

In cases where multiple lift sublevel stoping is used to mine relatively wide orebodies, a
series of primary and secondary stopes can be designed for extraction along the strike of
a deposit. Stope extraction in multiple levels increases production and flexibility. Primary
stopes are excavated smaller than secondarie stopes (pillars) to minimize the use of
cemented fill and the secondaries are designed large enough to enable safe recovery
between primary stopes.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

This method has been applied widely in single tabular orebodies such as the Lead Mine
in Mount Isa Mines in Queensland and the Kanowna Belle gold mine in Kalgoorlie. Figure
10 shows the stoping sequence for a mining block where the extraction sequence was
based upon a primary stope extraction and filling with consolidated fill, before the
secondary pillars were extracted. The numbers on the figure refer to the stope extraction
sequence.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

In other cases, stope extraction in conjunction with unconsolidated fill and separated by
permanent pillars can be used to extract low grade orebodies (See Figure 11). In such
cases the value of the ore does not justify the use of cemented fill and the stope retreat
is towards the permanent pillars. The dates on Figure 11 refer to an actual extraction
sequence, which is advancing to the central portion of the orebody away from the
abutment, and likely to concentrate stresses on mine infrastructure such as decline
access which in this case are centrally located.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

In excellent rock mass conditions, a pillar stope can also be mass blasted into the void
formed by one (forming a doublet) or two (forming a triplet) adjacent primary stopes as
shown in Figure 12 (Bywater & Fuller, 1983)

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The main advantages of primary and secondary stoping sequences are an initial high
degree of flexibility and productivity and low cost during primary stoping. The overall cost
is minimized by the use of unconsolidated fill within the secondary stopes. A
disadvantage is that stress re-distributions may cause rock mass damage within
secondary pillars late in the extraction sequence.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The effects of stress can be minimized by avoiding undercutting of individual stopes and
by mass blasting those highly stressed regions within a stoping block. Multiple lift primary
and secondary stopes have been used very successfully to achieve complete extraction
with minimal dilution within the steeply dipping lead orebodies at Mount Isa Mines
(Bywater et al, 1985).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Pillarless, centre-out sequences

Pillarless, centre-out mining sequences have been proposed to eliminate the need for
secondary stopes (Morrison, 1995). The perceived advantage from such sequences is
the slow rate of convergence of the host rocks as extraction from small stopes proceeds
from the centre towards the orebody abutments (See Figure 13).

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

It is argued that the slow rate of convergence is likely to minimize the magnitude of any
local seismic events. In addition, the small single lift stopes may reduce the amount of
released seismic energy. Such pillarless stoping sequence was used in Block 3, at the
Golden Giant Mine in Canada and named pyramid retreat, as mining progresses in a
triangular shape (Potvin and Hudyma, 2000). The Golden Giant pyramid retreat
sequence is illustrated in Figure 14.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Although continuous advancing stoping is a good idea on paper, it is very difficult to


implement in practice, especially when fill is introduced into the system. The overall
productivity is severely constrained by the individual stope cycle times as stopes must be
mined, filled and cured before an adjacent stope can be extracted. With active mining on
a large number of sub-levels, substantial development, scheduling and logistic
challenges are experienced throughout the stoping block (Potvin and Hudyma, 2000). As
an example, the extraction of stope #6 Figure 14, although very early in the stoping
sequence, requires seven operational sublevels.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

A pillarless stoping sequence requires rapidly curing cemented backfill with minimal
drainage delays in all the stopes, which may increase the operating cost. In addition, tight
backfill of the stope crowns is rarely achieved, especially when cemented rockfill is used
(See Figure 15). Introducing hydraulic fill to achieve tight fill is time consuming,
expensive and sometimes not practical.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Consequently, large crowns, which require extensive rock reinforcement, are exposed by
the method. In some cases, damage from stress concentration (cracking through intact
rock or geological structures) at each stope brow is also experienced. This may create
difficulties during drilling and blasting, and make the reinforcement schemes inefficient,
as very large slabs parallel to the stope edges are released.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Primary and secondary 1-4-7 and 1-5-9 stoping sequences

A compromise to a pillarless sequence is to use a general triangular retreat shape but


using a short lift primary and secondary stope arrangement. This system has been
implemented at the Williams mine in Canada and is illustrated in detail on Figure 16. This
methodology allows for a number of primary stopes to be mined simultaneously, hence
increasing the productivity within a mining block.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Because of the detrimental effects of the stress re-distributions on the pendant pillars
formed in the sequence, secondary pillar stopes must be recovered as early as possible
in the extraction sequence. In general, no more than two sublevels are mined ahead of a
pillar before recovering it and both sides of a pillar can not be mined simultaneously
(Potvin and Hudyma, 2000):

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

A variation to this method has been implemented for the George Fisher orebody in
Australia, where a 1-5-9 stoping sequence has been selected for extraction (Neindorf
and Karunatillake, 2000). Stopes 1-5-9 are extracted as two lift primaries and filled with
consolidated fill (See Figure 17). This is followed by another set of primary two lift stopes
(3-7-11), also filled with consolidated fill.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Following the fill cure within the primary stopes 1-3-5-7-9-11, a set of single lift stopes (26-10) is then extracted and filled with unconsolidated fill. This creates a pendant pillar,
which has many degrees of freedom and relies on the fill support from the primary stopes
for stability. Finally, the single lift stopes 4-8-12 are extracted and filled with
unconsolidated fill before the entire sequence is repeated up-dip. The extraction of
stopes 4-8-12 also creates pendant pillars.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

A disadvantage of a 1-5-9 (or 1-4-7) extraction sequence using short lift stopes is their
inefficient stope mucking characteristics. The method effectively requires (a bottom up)
moving drawpoint sequence (even in primary stopes), which necessarily follows the
vertical retreat of the stopes as shown in Figure 18. This implies that mucking is carried
out in areas that had previously been subjected to stress distribution and stope blasting
at the stope crowns.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Each stope access becomes a stope drawpoint and a significant amount of


reinforcement using cablebolting is required in all the stopes access and exposed backs.
Reinforcement can be largely inefficient within the bottom of pendant secondary pillars
where remote mucking is required for 100% of the tonnage. Furthermore, additional
footwall development access in waste may be required on each sublevel, as more than
one access may be required for effective mucking of each individual stope.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Multiple steeply dipping orebodies

The extraction sequence for multiple, steeply-dipping parallel orebodies, which are
accessed by a common crosscut off a footwall ramp, requires additional consideration as
the extraction of the orebodies at any particular location is inter-related. The extraction of
a stope in a series of closely spaced orebodies is likely to influence the other orebodies
in the sequence.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

In the case of orebodies separated by thin pillars (i.e. thickness between orebodies less
than half the stope height) the stope hangingwall conditions are usually best protected by
extracting the orebodies from footwall to hangingwall, filling after each stope, before
extracting the following orebody. A permanent crosscut is required to access the
hanginwall orebodies following extraction of the footwall orebody.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The extraction of the closely spaced orebodies shown in Figure 19 is aimed to minimize
the effects that stopes might have on each other. The stopes interact as the block
extraction sequence advances up-dip towards a region of high induced stress below a
mining block extracted earlier. Within this sequence the footwall stopes are always
extracted one or two lifts ahead of the hangingwall stopes, effectively creating a leading
stope geometry.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The sequence is devised to stress shadow the rest of the stopes in a particular lift from
excessive induced stress damage, as well as to minimize the effects of blasting, as most
hangingwalls are mined in undisturbed ground. In some cases, the leading orebodies
may experience stress-related crown damage, and adequate rock reinforcement must be
provided to minimize failures. Alternatively, the leading orebody must be selected
following considerations of rock mass strength, orebody width and orebody grade. In
cases where very high stress is experienced it may be advisable to select a narrow
orebody (located anywhere on the sequence) as the leading orebody.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Extraction sequences in shallow dipping orebodies

Large tabular orebodies where the dip angle does not allow the flow of broken ore
utilizing gravity can be extracted using a type of sublevel stoping called uphole retreat
panel stoping (Kaesehagen and Boffey, 1998). Typically, an orebody can be divided into
panels, running parallel to the strike of the orebody and defined down dip as shown in
Figure 20. The stopes are extracted by developing a footwall extraction drive where
drilling, blasting and mucking operations can be carried out.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The stopes are accessed from a footwall drive, with a slot established at the far end of
the panels, and the stopes are progressively blasted retreating back to the access end of
a panel. Cablebolt reinforcement is provided from the hangingwall drives located within
the primary stopes. In addition, permanent pillars can be left within the secondary stopes
to provide additional hangingwall support.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Flat lying orebodies can also be extracted by individual stopes in conjunction with
cablebolting drives and mine fill operations. The stopes are extracted by developing a
trough undercut horizon in waste to allow the flow of ore to the stope drawpoints.
Downhole drilling is undertaken from a series of hangingwall drives, where cablebolt
reinforcement is also provided (See Figure 21). This method results in an increased lead
time in stope preparation as well as additional costs, as non-economical material is
developed.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

The overall stope extraction retreats up-dip and towards the access end of the drilling
drives. Experience indicates that only half of the back of a previously extracted stope
(down-dip) can be filled effectively. The methodology consists on extracting stopes
having either single or double drilling drives, depending upon their location with respect
to the orebody abutment and with respect to each other in the extraction sequence.
Alternating single and double drilling drives is likely to optimize hangingwall
reinforcement, as the extraction progresses up-dip.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Conclusions

Global extraction sequences in sublevel stoping are fundamental to achieve production


targets safely and economically throughout an entire stoping life. For massive orebodies
a number of sequencing options can be used including temporary rib, crown and
transverse pillars, strike slots with continuous or discontinuous advance and chequer
board sequences.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

For tabular orebodies extraction sequences that use primary and secondary or pillarless
approaches can be used. In general, the sequences are driven by the orebody nature
and geometry, ore grade requirements, operational issues and induced stress
considerations.

GLOBAL EXTRACTION SEQUENCES IN SUBLEVEL STOPING


MPES 2003 Conference Kalgoorlie April 2003

Planificacin de un Sub Level Stoping


Optimisation in underground mining
Handbook of operations research in natural resources
Christopher Alford, Marcus Brazil, and David H. Lee

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

1 introduction

One of the great successes in the industrial applications of operations research has
been the use of the Lerchs Grossman algorithm, and its subsequent improvements,

in the optimisation of the design of open pit mines.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This technique has been successfully implemented in a number of widely used


software systems. Most open pit designs are developed in an optimisation framework
traceable back to the method launched by Lerchs and Grossman (1965), although

more recently a number of authors, including Barbaro and Ramani (1986), Akaike and
Dagdelen (1999) and Caccetta and Hill (2003), have reported integer programming
models for this task.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The underground mine design problem is conceptually more difficult and less
constrained than the open pit problem. However recent research demonstrates some
progress in the topic. This chapter reviews some of this progress with emphasis on
the optimisation of the design of underground mines.

Underground mining is the planned extraction and transportation of a mineral


resource from its underground location to a mill or processing plant on the surface.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This deceptively simple statement disguises the complex set of development and
operational phases needed to achieve this transformation but it is a good starting
point for an operational research analysis. Many different types of minerals occur in
many different styles of mineralisation in nature.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

In this chapter we concentrate on optimisation issues in hard rock mines gold, silver,
lead, zinc, copper or multi-metal deposits. We typically assume that the mineral
resource is represented in a computer model as a three dimensional assembly of
blocks each with grade, geology and metallurgical characteristics.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Different methods of extraction of the economic material have been devised


depending on the geometry of the orebody and the geotechnical stability of
excavation volumes and the surrounding rock. This review is focussed on two of the
most common extraction techniques in large modern underground mining, sublevel

open stopping and sublevel caving. In the first the excavation shape is drilled and
blasted and the broken rock is extracted by load-haul-dump equipment and the void is
then filled with a cemented slurry, which sets and restores the geotechnical stability of
the region and allows adjacent stopes to be mined.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This sequence of operations immediately imposes an important scheduling constraint


on mining operations, which is amenable to operations research analysis (see later
sections). Sublevel caving extracts material by relying on drilled and blasted material
progresssively collapsing into excavation tunnels under a controlled draw sequence

with overlying broken rock caving into the void. Other techniques such as block
caving, cut and fill and room-and-pillar are also in use.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Once the blocks to be mined are aggregated into mineable stope shapes or caving
zones, the dominant working structure of an underground mine is a set of
interconnected tunnels or mine development (called drives and ramps or declines),
orepasses, which are near vertical passages down which ore is dropped, and vertical

haulage shafts which provide access to and conduits for the transport of ore from the
stopes to the mill. This set of interconnected tunnels forms a network. The layout of
this network both its geometry and topology is a key to achieving the low cost
operations needed to make a mine profitable.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A classical decision for underground mine design is whether to use a vertical shaft for
haulage of mined material or rely on a fleet of trucks hauling material up the access
network. A vertical shaft incurs a large fixed cost investment at the start of a project
and relies on the subsequent low unit cost movement of materials to the surface for

its economic justification.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Typically deep, long-life mines warrant shaft haulage. Truck haulage, while more
expensive per unit of material transported to the surface, has advantages of earlier
recovery of ore in the life of a mining project and requires only progressive capital
expenditure matched to material flow. While many of the methods described in this

chapter relate to both shaft and declinehaulage mine operations, the emphasis is on
decline operated mines.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

2 overview of mine design

A typical development sequence for an underground mining project follows.

The location of mineralised zones is determined by geological observations and


surface drilling. This is followed by a more detailed delineation of the mineralisation
via an infill drilling programme from underground development. The size of the
reserves, their depth, geology, geotechnical characteristics and the market for the
embedded minerals are all factors in determining how the deposit will be mined.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Lane (1988) and others emphasise the importance of decisions on the cut-off grade,
used to distinguish between economically mineable ore and waste. The cut-off grade
strategy for a mine must ultimately include the amortisation of all fixed costs, including

mineral processing costs as well as mine development and mine operating costs.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Once an engineering decision on the most appropriate mining method has been
made, the locations and geometries of the stopes and the contained tonnages of ore
can be determined (to some degree of accuracy) by analysing the computer resource

model developed from infill drilling core data. Orebody simulation techniques can be
used to provide robust models of the ore zone indicated by the drilling programme
data (Grieco and Dimitrakopoulos, 2004). When the stopes are located in space the
set of access and draw points (from whence the ore is drawn) can be determined.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A major design task is to determine the mine development network (horizontal drives,
inclined ramps, orepasses and vertical shafts) needed to provide access to these
draw points and provide material movement paths to transport the excavated ore to
the processing mill at the surface. A key design consideration in underground mine

design is that all development in the network providing underground access must be
navigable by trucks and mining equipment.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This means all ramps and drives have large cross-sections, typically larger than 4m
4m, to accommodate large capacity haulage trucks; they have an upper limit on
vertical gradient typically modern equipment can haul up to a grade of 1:7; and they
are navigable turning radii must be large enough to accommodate all operating

vehicles with typical minimum design radii in the range 1530 m. Mines must be
ventilated for human and machine operations. Generally mine ventilation is handled
as a secondary system after the development and extraction sequnce is defined.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

In recent mines (particularly in Australia) the underground development is an


extension of an existing mined-out open pit mine or an old underground mine where
new ore bodies have been discovered. In these cases the location of the surface
portal or breakout point from the existing mine infrastructure is likely to be fixed or at

least strongly constrained.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3 optimisation objectives and methods

A significant problem in developing a general framework for the optimisation of an


underground mine is that there is a wide range of mining strategies, so that each

deposit has a comparatively specialised solution. This makes a general approach to


the optimal design of underground mines a complex task, and one that is currently
supported by a fairly small amount of research.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Inevitably,

the

optimisation

problem

has

been

decomposed

into

tractable

subproblems. We now identify a number of important optimisation subproblems in


underground mine design, and discuss the models and solution techniques.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.1 Infill Drilling Optimisation


The development of an underground mine, or an extension of a mine to a new zone,
frequently includes the requirement to host an infill drilling programme. The aim of an
infill drilling programme is to gather sufficient drill core data to characterise the

mineralisation of a target zone in enough detail to establish reserves and develop an


economic mining plan for the region.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This activity is critical to the information gathering process and generally represents a
substantial cost investment. In a case study of the Vera South project within the
Normandy Mining Limited (now Newmont) managed Pajingo field in Queensland,

Australia, the infill drilling programme amounted to more than 30% of the total project
cost.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Two important ways in which the process can be optimised are through optimisation
of drillhole spacing and optimisation of the physical infill drilling programme design.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The first of these optimisation problems involves balancing cost savings arising from
reduction in drilling density against the costs associated with mineralisation
misclassification. At some stage the cost of obtaining additional and more accurate
information exceeds the benefit of such information.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A geostatistical approach to this problem based on the geometry of the drilling


configuration has been suggested (Goovaerts, 1997) but without reference to other
factors such as local grade variability or an economic cost analysis. More recent work
on this problem has tended to focus on open pit mining, but has relevance to

underground mining. Boucher et al. (2005) have advocated the use of a stochastic
simulation

framework

making

the

use

of

conditional

simulation

maximum/minimum autocorrelation factors.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

with

Another related conditional simulation approach is suggested by Froyland et al.


(2004). In each of these approaches, the aim is to realistically link the optimal
expected net present value (NPV) of the project with the amount of drilling
information. Whether this is really possible in underground mining remains to be seen.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The second optimisation problem is that of optimising the physical design of the infill
drilling programme for a given drilling density. For deep deposits a very expensive
infrastructure is often required for the infill drilling programme. This may require
constructing a system of drill drives (often breaking out from existing declines) along

which drill stations are set up to conduct the drilling.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A drill fan is produced from each drill station for gathering information about the ore
body at the required density. Brazil et al. (2000) have observed that this can be
treated as a network optimisation problem where the objective is to optimise the cost
of drilling combined with the cost of drives and infrastructure to support the drill

stations. In particular, one can apply the physical network design methods discussed
in Sections 3.4 and 3.5. Research to date has shown that a dynamic programming
approach to this problem is very effective. For the case study at Pajingo, the
approach demonstrated savings of over 10% over the cost of the proposed drilling
programme.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.2 Determination of Cut-Off Grade

The characterisation of mineralisation obtained from geological exploration allows a


mining company to estimate the mineral resources available. A widely accepted

definition of a Mineral Resource is as follows (quoted from Rendu, 2004):


A Mineral Resource is a concentration or occurrence of material of economic
interest in or on the Earths crust in such a form, quality and quantity that there are
reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction. The certainty with which a
mineral resource can be delineated depends on the accuracy and sample spacing in
the exploration process.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The ore bodies or ore reserves of interest to the mining company are those parts of
the mineral resource deemed to be economically valuable. A key step in determining
the ore reserves is to establish a cut-off grade, which is the lowest grade of
mineralisation that qualifies as ore. The estimation of optimum cut-off grades is a

difficult problem in operations research, and one that deserves more attention. Many
operations use a cut-off that is essentially a break-even grade, that is, one that
ensures that every tonne of ore that is mined pays for itself. Such a policy, however,
will generally not lead to value maximisation.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

An important step to understanding this problem has been the influential work of Lane
(1988). He explores methods for balancing short-term considerations against longterm economic consequences of the cut-off grade while taking into consideration a
number of constraints on the production system, such as mine, mill or market limited

output. His theories have proved useful in the design of open pit mines but are more
difficult to apply to largescale underground mining.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Poniewierski et al. (2003) have further illustrated the important economic


consequences of optimally choosing the cut-off grade. They describe the application
of a rule-based scheduling and discounted cash flow technique to evaluate the cut-off
for each ore body, applying the principles of Lane.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

There is still much work to be done in this area. Poniewierski et al. point out that a key
to determining an optimum cut-off grade is the ability to rapidly perform complex
optimal mine layout designs combined with rapid output of multiple potential
schedules. Thus, this step ultimately relies on the ability to rapidly optimise all stages

in underground mine design. Further industry experience is reported in Hall and


Stewart (2004).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.3 Stope Optimisation

The selection of a stoping method will take into account the size and orientation of the
ore body, ground conditions that will affect the size of any excavation opening, and

the percentage of waste material in the planned dilution. The method used to drill and
blast the ore in advance of excavation will also dictate an acceptable stope
dimension.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

For narrow ore bodies a single stope will mine the full ore width. For wide orebodies
multiple stopes may be needed to mine the full ore width. Waste pillars are required
between open stopes for support before the stopes being filled with crushed rock or
cemented sand fill.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

In stope optimisation these factors can be reduced to dimensional constraints on the


minimum and maximum stope size, acceptable stope shapes and orientations, and
pillar widths. The metal contained in the stope must be sufficient to cover mining,
haulage, processing and marketing costs and the associated mine development

required to access the stope.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

For narrow and steeply dipping deposits, the primary decision is the width of ore to be
mined. This reduces the stope optimisation problem from a three-dimensional to a
one-dimensional optimisation problem.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Gershon and Murphy (1987, 1989) analyse the selection of mining intervals for
layered sedimentary deposits for an open pit mining operation. The single dimension
of primary interest is the economic depth of ore in a vertical drill hole. A dynamic
programming solution is outlined, but an extension to three dimensions is not

advanced.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Rendu (1982) outlines procedures to determine the optimal position of the hanging
wall and foot wall of ore zones intersected by drillholes, as a precursor to determining
a mining scheme. The constraints considered are minimum mining width, minimum
internal waste width, restrictions on the number of geological zones, and the

maximum mining width.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The minimum and maximum widths are usually specified vertically, horizontally or
normal to the direction of mineralisation (Rendu, 1982, p. 2) so the first stage is to
calculate the limiting lengths in the direction of the drill hole. While no solution to the
general problem is advanced, several special cases are investigated. The continuity

of ore and waste between drill holes is left to visual and manual interpretation.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

For the full three-dimensional stope optimisation problem a number of approaches


have been reported in the literature, or implemented in commercial mining software
packages.

Deraisme et al. (1984) have constructed two-dimensional sectional models for a


number of different stoping methods. Image transformation techniques found in
mathematical morphology (Serra, 1982) are used to transform the image of ore
blocks above cut-off grade to another image satisfying the stope geometry
constraints. Similar work has also been reported by Muge et al. (1995).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Cheimanoff et al. (1989) describe a method of generating mineable volumes based


on an octree model for the shape geometry (i.e. a model built up as a tree of octants).
The first phase Object Manipulator gathers mineralised veins into convex blocks
distinguishing large veins that justify a mineable block by themselves, merges those

close enough into a single block, and separates those too far from one another into
two separate blocks. A second phase, Shape Generator, progressively subdivides a
bounding volume in an octree till the smallest subdivision matches the smallest
mining unit.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The Floating Stope is a technique implemented in the DATAMINE mining software


package (Mineral Industries Computing Limited) to determine the optimal (boundary)
limit for mineable ore, that may be economically extracted by underground stoping
methods (Alford, 1995).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The term Floating Stope is derived from the technique of floating a minimum stope
shape through the ore body to evaluate the stope grades for any stope position. Two
envelopes are created. The maximum envelope is the union of all possible economic
stope positions.

The minimum envelope is found by taking the union of all best grade stope positions
for every ore block in the ore body. The envelopes provide a limit for the engineer to
design final stope positions, with the recommendation that the minimum envelope be
used as the guide in the first instance.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Ataee-pour (2000) has introduced a concept of Maximum Value Neighbourhood for


the stope optimisation. This method proceeds in a similar fashion to the Floating
Stope method but differs in the approach to defining the envelope.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The Stopesizor is a mining software package used internally by Snowden Consultants


(Thomas and Earl, 1999). Stopesizor produces a single mining outline for a selected
cutoff grade. This is done by constructing a number of selective mining blocks (SMB).

Each SMB comprises a single, contiguous group of resource blocks that honours the
minimum mining width and dip angle in each dimension. Stope dimensions must be
defined in whole increments of the resource model block dimensions. Stopesizor
identifies the highest grade SMB, and then the next until all economic SMBs are
exhausted.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Each resource block in the final outline is assigned the mean value of its SMB. If a
range of cutoff values are supplied in decreasing order, then a single output model
can be produced that represents the optimum mining outlines at these cutoff values.
Using the identified value sequence and a discount rate they claim to optimise the

NPV of the stope outline and the mining sequence using a supplied production rate.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A fundamental characteristic of previous approaches to stope optimisation is that the


location and size of the final stope shape is not properly characterised. An engineer
can use the result to guide a final manual design.

A preferred approach would be for the stope optimisation procedure to generate the
optimal stope design without manual adjustment, including both the stope and waste
pillar positions for the one- and three- dimensional cases. Recently, several new
formulations of the stope optimisation problem, with proven optimality, have been
successfully applied by Alford in 2006.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

In stope optimisation the development and haulage costs must be anticipated or


averaged at any location in the mine before optimisation. The final mine development
layout is generated using location and layout of optimised stopes. For many mine
designs this requires an iterative mine design procedure.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Recent research at the University of Melbourne (Alford, 2006) has focussed on the
problem not of defining the minimal cost network to mine a predefined set of stopes
but what mine development layout is required to most profitably mine a subset of all
possible stopes.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Dealing with uncertainty in ore body modelling is of increasing interest in the mining
industry. Greico and Dimitrakopoulos (2004) report on a case study using the Floating
Stope method on conditionally simulated ore bodies to quantify the grade risk
associated with stope designs.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.4 Mine Development Network Design

One of the principal differences between the modelling of open pit and underground
mining operations is the complexity of realistically modelling the costs associated with

access to the ore. This is a much more significant problem in an underground mine.
Understanding the space of feasible solutions and then optimising a cost function
over such a space is a highly complex problem. The first serious analytic solution
method is found in the work of Brazil et al. (2000). Further investigations of this
approach and details of the underlying mathematics have also appeared in Brazil et
al. 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The key to finding a tractable solution technique for this problem has been to model it
as a network optimisation problem, and then develop a theory of three-dimensional
Steiner networks in a suitable metric space. The mine is represented using a
weighted network model. The network can be treated as being embedded in

Euclidean 3-space, and coordinated according to the coordinates of the mine. In this
model, the given draw points and surface portal correspond to fixed nodes of the
network known as terminals.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The ramps in the mine are represented by links in the network whose embeddings
correspond to the centre lines of the ramps. Finally, the junctions at which three or
more ramps meet are represented by variable nodes in the network, known as Steiner
points.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The main assumptions in this network model are that the locations of all draw points
at the stopes are given, together with the expected tonnage for each given draw point.
The surface portal is also assumed to be fixed (or at least strongly constrained in its
location). The cost of each link in the network is modelled as a combination of

construction and haulage costs.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The variable component of this cost can be assumed to be proportional to the


Euclidean length of the link. This proportion, however, will be different for each link,
depending on the tonnage of ore to be hauled along the corresponding part of the
mine.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The principal constraint is that ramp components are constrained to a maximum


allowable slope. This slope is measured as an absolute gradient m (i.e. m is the
absolute value of the ratio of change in horizontal displacement over change in
height). In underground mining problems m is generally in the range 1/9 to 1/7

depending on mining equipment specifications.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Other constraints such as navigability of the drives by mine equipment (defining a


minimum turning circle) and obstacle avoidance (to prevent sterilisation of the ore, for
example), are also important but can often be treated as seconddary constraints,
particularly in large-scale designs. The navigability constraint is discussed in more

detail in Section 3.5.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The optimisation problem can now be formulated as follows:

1. GIVEN: A set of points N in Euclidean 3-space, and a gradient bound m > 0.


2. FIND: A network T interconnecting N embedded in Euclidean 3- space, such that

(a) The embedded links are piecewise smooth curves whose absolute gradient at
each differentiable point is at most m,
(b) The total construction plus haulage costs are minimized

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

This is effectively a variation of the well - known Steiner network problem the
problem of constructing a minimum cost network interconnecting a given set of points
in a metric space (Hwang et al., 1992). The control variables here are: the topology
(i.e. underlying graph structure) of the network; the locations of the variable nodes

(Steiner points), corresponding to the junctions in the mine; and the embedding of
each of the links in Euclidean 3-space.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

A key to finding good approximation algorithms for solving such an optimisation


problem is to appreciate and exploit the geometric properties of its exact solutions.
Initial work in this direction has appeared in Brazil et al. (1998) and Brazil et al.
(2001). The process of finding good solutions is also assisted by the existence of

convexity properties, under certain conditions, for a fixed topology (Brazil et al., 2002,
2005).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.5 Decline Design

The approach described in Section 3.4 tends to be very effective in largescale mine
design projects involving multiple ore bodies. Suppose, however, there is a single ore-

zone for a proposed new underground mine or an extension to an existing mine


described by its outline and either cross-cut entry or level access points on a
sequence of levels. Here the topology of the network is no longer an issue, since the
main network of haulage ramps (known as a decline) forms a single path. In this case,
however, the navigability and obstacle avoidance constraints are likely to be
significant factors in the objectives.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

For example, there is generally a requirement that a decline approach an ore-zone no


nearer than some stand-off distance to avoid possible sterilisation of the ore and to
allow a minimum working length in the crosscuts (i.e. the ramps connecting the level

access points to the main decline).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

In modelling this problem, the surface portal or breakout point of the decline is fixed or
strongly restricted in position and the decline is modelled as a concatenation of
straight and curved ramp-links with variable length cross-cut links attached at points
which are the Steiner vertices in the model.

One can assume that the cross-cuts are perpendicular to the decline to within a given
angle tolerance and that they access the ore body at a fixed point (or one of a group
of fixed points) on each given level. The key constraints are curvature, gradient and
no-go regions. The optimisation problem can be formulated as follows:

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

1. GIVEN: A set of points N in Euclidean 3-space with an ordering placed upon them,
a gradient bound m > 0, a minimum radius of curvature bound, and a set of nogo regions.

2. FIND: A network T interconnecting N embedded in Euclidean 3-space, such that a


given cost function of T is minimised, where T satisfies the following constraints:

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

(a) T contains a smooth path (the decline) interconnecting the first and last terminals.
The decline contains all Steiner points, and the terminals are connected to the
decline in the given order via straight horizontal links perpendicular to the decline

(corresponding to cross-cuts).
(b) Each link has gradient at most m.
(c) The decline satisfies the minimum radius of curvature bound.
(d) T avoids the specified no-go regions.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Designing such a network so that it has optimal cost is an extremely difficult problem.
In order to make the problem mathematically tractable, the first step towards a
solution is to simplify it to one in which (a) is replaced by:

() T joins two given points, s and t, in three-dimensional space, and has two given
direction vectors at s and t.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Once a solution method has been developed for the modified problem, one can
proceed with a dynamic programming methodology to solve the original problem,
visiting the specified points and amalgamating the path entering a point and the one
leaving it provided the two paths have the same start and finish directions. Analytic

techniques for solving the modified problem have been outlined in Brazil et al. (2003),
building on the geometric methods of Dubins (1957) for the problem in the horizontal
plane. These principles have been incorporated into an algorithm and successfully
implemented as a Decline Optimisation Tool, DOT (Brazil et al., 2003).

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.6 Stope Scheduling

A long-term mine production schedule specifies the mining sequence for economic
stopes and the associated mine development required to achieve production targets

over a 25 year time frame subject to equipment and other resource constraints.

In the past decade three University research projects have sought to apply mixed
integer programming techniques to long-term mine production scheduling.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Earlier work by Gershon (1982), and Barbaro and Ramani (1986) outlines attempts to
apply mixed integer programming to mine scheduling optimisation.

Trout (1995) has developed a general formulation for ore extraction and stope backfill

operations. Stope production is modelled in four distinct phases: preparation,


extraction, void and backfilling. The model has been applied to base metal mines at
Mt. Isa Mines and BHP Cannington.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Kuchta et al. (2003) have described a formulation suitable for sublevel caving
operations at the Kiruna Mine, Sweden. The model was focused on loader machine
(LHD) placement in production blocks, with horizontal and vertical sequencing
constraints between production blocks, and blending of ores for the three main raw

ore products. The primary data included information for 1,173 production blocks but
due to the ore body geometry and sequencing considerations for sublevel caving the
data was reduced to 56 machine placements. Backfill requirements are not applicable
for this mining method.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

The objective function chosen was to minimize deviation from the production target in
each time period. Judicious preprocessing of the data led to tighter limits on early and
late start values for machine placements. A model with 36 time periods and 56
machine placements could be solved in minutes. Further research is reported by

Newman and Kuchta (2003). Aggregation of production blocks was used, and
solutions from these smaller models was used to guide the search in the original
model. The model reported had 60 time periods (5 years) and 56 machine
placements.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Smith et al. (2003) have developed a model for lead-zinc production at Mt. Isa Mines.
Approximately 1,500 stopes have been aggregated into 32 mining blocks to cover 13
years of planned production. A detailed model formulation is not provided in the
published paper. The model was developed with a fixed cutoff grade, and the

inclusion of a dynamic cutoff grade (through a tonnage-grade curve) is part of their


continuing research.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Each of these approaches implements a variation of the resource constrained project


scheduling problem, but the number of periods, activities and resource constraints
provides a real challenge in modelling and optimisation with mixed integer
programming. Recent commercial applications are reported by Whittle (2004) using

alternative metaheuristic techniques based on simulated annealing.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

3.7 An Integrated Approach

Given the developments in optimisation of stope definition and infrastructure


described earlier in this chapter, it is not surprising that some work on broadening the

scope of underground mine optimisation is emerging. The ultimate goal is to embrace


the design of the drilling programme, cut-off grade strategies, stope definition,
infrastructure development and mine scheduling in one integrated optimisation model.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Poniewierski et al. (2003) have described the application of an optimisation approach


taking into account cut-off grade, stope definition and scheduling to maximise NPV of
the Enterprise mine at Mount Isa.

Carter et al. (2004) have used a similar approach to determine the maximum NPV
design for a tabular ore body but here the work includes explicit optimisation of the
infrastructure needed to support models of the mine. Existing stope definition and
scheduling software was used in this integrated approach. The optimisation process
was used to decide between an open stope and sublevel caving mining method for
the ore body in question.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

4 conclusions

The complexity of the underground mine design problem and the unique mine design
solutions sought for each ore body suggest that there will never be an elegant

solution method analogous to that which exists for open pit mining. By decomposing
the design problem into tractable subproblems, such as infill drilling design, stope
definition, topological network design, decline design, and soon highly effective
though non-globally-optimal solutions can be found.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

While the short-term emphasis will remain on optimising components of the overall
design, there is emerging evidence of the potential for research, some of which is
described in Section 3.7, to guide more comprehensive and integrated optimisation
capability. As optimisation techniques become automated via the resulting software

tools like Stopesizor and DOT, designers can explore alternative designs much more
efficiently than traditional design methods allowed.

HANDBOOK OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH IN NATURAL RESOURCES OPTIMISATION IN UNDERGROUND MINING


CHRISTOPHER ALFORD, MARCUS BRAZIL, AND DAVID H. LEE

Planificacin de un Sub Level Stoping


Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas
Ing. Ciro Alegre
CAE Mining

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Importancia de los Datos en el Negocio Minero

Los datos recopilados en las etapas de exploracin as como los estimados de los
recursos y reservas de mineral son fundamentales para todas las operaciones

mineras independientemente del volumen o materia prima (Annels, 1991; Stone y


Duna, 1996; Sinclair y Valle, 1998; Stephenson y Vann 2001)

Los riesgos asociados con la minera son variados y complejos, donde la fuente
principal de riesgo es el propio yacimiento mineral (Snowden y otros, 2002)

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Administracin de Informacin Geolgica en una Base de Datos Centralizada

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Resultados de Una Base de Datos Centralizada:

Integridad de la Data Geolgica y Minera.

Gestin Completa de QA/QC (Control y Aseguramiento de la Calidad).

Cumplimiento de los cdigos de certificacin de recursos y reservas de mineral

(JORC, Samrec, NI43-101).

Estandarizacin y Trazabilidad de los datos, etc.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Generacin del Modelo Geolgico en 3D

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Generacin del Modelo Geotcnico en 3D

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Generacin del Modelo de Bloques

Desde un punto de vista tcnico las dimensiones de los bloques en un modelo 3D de


recursos minerales puede estar condicionado por el tipo de yacimiento, por la
continuidad de la mineralizacin, los requisitos de produccin diaria, etc. El tamao
del bloque se denomina la Unidad Selectiva de Minado (SMU).

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Fundamentado en SMU (Unidad Selectiva de Minado)

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Anlisis Estadstico de datos del yacimiento

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Anlisis y determinacin de la Variografia del yacimiento

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Interpolacin de leyes del yacimiento

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Modelo de Bloques con leyes Interpoladas

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Reporte del Modelo de Bloques con leyes Interpoladas

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Categorizacin del Modelo de Bloques

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Relacin general entre resultados de exploracin, recursos y reservas minerales


Cdigo de JORC

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Factores de Minera:

Evaluacin Geotcnica del yacimiento, Mtodo de Explotacin, Factor


Recuperacin por Mtodo de Minado, Dilucin, Accesibilidad, etc.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

de

Factores Metalrgicos:

Tecnologa orientada a maximizar la recuperacin metalrgica por tipo de


mineralizacin, supuestos o tolerancias efectuados para elementos nocivos o
contaminantes, maximizar el ratio de concentracin, etc.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Factores de Mercado:
Oferta, demanda, y situacin del stock para el producto en particular, tendencias de
consumo y factores que podran afectar la oferta y la demanda en el futuro.
Pronsticos de precios y volmenes as como base para estos pronsticos. En lo que
respecta a minerales industriales, especificacin del cliente, pruebas y requisitos de
aceptacin previos al contrato de suministros

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Factores Legales, Ambientales, Sociales y Gubernamentales:

Considera factores de riesgo natural (Sismos, erupcin volcnica, etc.), factores de


infraestructura,
(Concesiones

ambientales
Mineras

(EIA,

Permisos,

derechos

mineros,

autorizaciones,
etc.),

factores

etc.),

legales

sociales

gubernamentales en la posible viabilidad de un proyecto y/o en la estimacin y


clasificacin de las Reservas de Mena.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Factores Econmicos:

Derivado de los costos de operacin proyectados con relacin al capital o los


supuestos que se han hecho sobre ellos., los precios de los productos, tasas de
cambio, costos de transporte y tratamiento (maquila), penalidades, etc. Los factores

econmicos pueden ser expresados a travs de un CutOff o NSR.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Factores que Afectan la Estabilidad y Dilucin en Stopes de Minado

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Evaluacin para definir el mtodo de minado factible a ser aplicado

Para determinar la factibilidad de un mtodo de minado, es necesario comparar las


caractersticas del cuerpo mineralizado, con las propiedades requeridas para la
aplicacin de dicho mtodo de minado. De esta forma el mtodos o los mtodos que

mejor se ajusten, sern considerados tcnicamente factibles y podrn ser evaluados


econmicamente.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Las tcnicas de seleccin para evaluar un mtodo de minado considera


generalmente dos aspectos fundamentales:

Las caractersticas fsicas y geolgicas del cuerpo mineralizado, y

Las condiciones geotcnicas del cuerpo mineralizado y de sus rocas


encajonantes

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Para la seleccin del mtodo o mtodos de minado se puede aplicar la tcnica


propuesta por David E. Nicholas (1981) la cual se basa de definir un puntaje a los

mtodos de explotacin considerados. Aquellos mtodos que presentan un mayor


puntaje, presentarn las condiciones ms favorables para su aplicacin. La Tabla
abajo mostrada es un ejemplo de un ranking elaborado en base a la aplicacin de la

tcnica de Nicholas a un caso especfico.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Adicionalmente a este proceso las dimensiones y geometras de explotacin deben


ser evaluadas geotcnicamente con el Mtodo Grfico de Estabilidad de Laubscher
(1990) a fin de establecer los radios hidrulicos que eviten la activacin de un
potencial derrumbe o inestabilidad del macizo rocoso.

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Dilucin Una Definicin Fundamental en Minera

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

ELOS (Equivalent Linear Overbreak/Slough)

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Validacin de ELOS Usando Redes Neuronales y Su Formulacin

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Software Minero Para La Obtencin de Reservas Minerales (UG): Fundamentado en


la aplicacin de Algoritmos Matemticos

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Recursos medidos e indicados

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Formas mineables stopes de minado

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Cuantificacin y ubicacin espacial de la dilucin

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Reporte de tonelajes y leyes de Stopes de minado

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Stopes de minado en 3D

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

La animacin muestra secciones verticales donde el Algoritmo de Optimizacin


genera Stopes de Reservas Minerales

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Stopes de Reservas Minerales

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Infraestructura de Mina

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Plan de avances Horizontales y Verticales Basados en el diseo de la mina

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Plan de produccin mina basado en reservas de mineral

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Plan de produccin y avances en el 2014 secuencia de actividades de mina

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Plan de produccin y avances en el 2014 secuencia de actividades de mina

Planeamiento de Minas Planeamiento de Minas Subterrneas Aplicando Software Minero

Planificacin de un Sub Level Stoping


Technical Report for the
Compaa Minera Candelaria and Compaa Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Regin III, Chile

Luis.alvarez@uda.cl

http://www.lundinmining.com/i/pdf/Candelaria-Final-Technical-Report-2014-10-06.pdf

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Mining Methods

The Candelaria open pit mine operates with an overall mining rate of approximately
270,000 tonnes per day including 66,000 tonnes per day of ore sent to the Candelaria

concentrator. The average grade of the ore mined from the open pit over the
remaining life of mine is 0.57% copper while stockpiled WIP material averages 0.36%
copper. The mine operates 7 electric shovels, 46 haulage trucks, 8 production drills,
and a fleet of support equipment. 14 years.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The Candelaria Norte underground mine produces 6,000 tonnes per day of ore with
an average grade of 1.14% copper in the current mine plan. The Alcaparrosa
underground mine produces 4,000 tonnes per day of ore with an average grade of
1.04% copper and the Santos underground mine produces 3,800 tonnes per day of

ore with an average grade of 0.98% copper over the remaining life of mine. The
mining method in all three underground mines is sublevel open stoping.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The life of mine plan is largely driven by supplying ore to the Candelaria processing
plant from the open pit mine and surface stockpiles once the open pit Mineral
Reserves have been depleted. The open pit and stockpile Proven and Probable
Mineral Reserves are estimated at 367.9 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.52%

copper, 0.12 g/t gold and 1.93 g/t silver.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The open pit was designed to be mined in several phases of development. As of


December 2013, five phases of development remain in the life of mine plan (Phases 8
to 12). The overall strip ratio is 2.9:1 excluding stockpiles. The total in-pit waste is
752.0 million tonnes. The overall life of the open pit mine is 14 years.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

All of the three underground mines (Candelaria Norte, Santos, and Alcaparrosa)
utilize a sublevel stoping mining method for ore extraction. This method is ideal for
relatively large, vertical, as well as thick deposits with favourable and stable host rock.
Stopes can typically be up to 100 metres high with sublevels at 25 to 50-metre

intervals. The length of the stopes is generally 80 metres with widths varying between
20 to 30 metres.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Stopes are drilled down from the sublevel drilling drifts as benches using 4.5 inch to
5.5 inch diameter down-the-hole (DTH) holes. The holes are loaded and blasted in
vertical slices towards an open face. The blasted ore gravitates to the bottom of the
stope and is collected through drawpoints at the production level below. Ore is

mucked from the drawpoints using surface-type front-end loaders and LHDs (load
haul dump).

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The mucked ore is dumped into 30-ton highway type trucks and hauled by way of the
ramp to a surface stockpile for subsequent re-handling and processing. The current
life-times of the Candelaria Norte, Alcaparrosa and Santos mines are 3, 2, and 4
years, respectively. There is a strong likelihood that exploration success will lead to an

extension of the lives of the underground mines.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Total copper production from the Candelaria and PAC processing plants is forecast at
156 ktonnes in 2014, with 97 kounces of gold and 1.9 million ounces of silver. Over
the five year period, 2014 to 2018, average annual copper production is 139 ktonnes,
and over the life of mine 126 ktonnes. Life of mine annual average gold and silver

production is 77 k ounces gold and 1.4 million ounces of silver.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

13.2 Resource Estimation Procedures

13.2.1 Introduction

The Mineral Resource estimation methodology and procedures adopted for the open
pit and underground Mineral Resource models are outlined in this section. The
methodology used for the Candelaria open pit is discussed separately from that
collectively used for the various underground deposits at Minera Candelaria
(Candelaria Norte) and Minera Ojos del Salado (Alcaparrosa and Santos).

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

13.2.3 Underground

Data and interpolation parameters applied for the generation of the various Mineral
Resource models that characterize the Candelaria Norte (four), Alcaparrosa (three)

and Santos (two) deposits are tabulated in Table 10.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Generally the interpolation methodology applied for the underground Mineral


Resource models is similar to that outlined for the open pit Mineral Resource model.
Notable differences include:

Twenty-five metre or thirty-five metre spaced geology sections and 4-metre


spaced geology plans modelled as polyline files applied to code the models with
lithology;

Drill assay composite lengths vary from 2 to 4 metres;

Interpolation restricted to within 0.4% copper grade shells;

Reduced block sizes; and

Interpolation method is ordinary kriging for copper and specific gravity and an

inverse distance algorithm for gold and silver.


Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The audited Mineral Resource Statement for Minera Ojos del Salado is presented in
Table 12. The Mineral Resources for the underground Santos and Alcaparrosa mines
are reported at a cut-off grade of 0.6% copper. The audited combined Mineral
Resource Statement for Minera Candelaria and Minera Ojos del Salado is presented

in Table 13.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

13.4 Grade Sensitivity Analyses

The Mineral Resources of Minera Candelaria and Minera Ojos del Salado are
sensitive to the selection of a reporting cut-off grade. To illustrate this sensitivity,

global quantities and grade estimates are presented as grade tonnage curves in
Figure 19. The reader is cautioned that the grade tonnage data should not be
misconstrued with the Mineral Resource Statement.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Figure 19: Block Model Quantity and Grade Estimates at Various Cut-off Grades for Minera
Candelaria (top) and Minera Ojos del Salado (bottom)
Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

14.1.2 Candelaria Norte Underground

The Mineral Reserves for the Candelaria Norte underground mine were prepared by
Minera Candelaria personnel and are based upon the Measured and Indicated

Mineral Resources defined for the underground mine.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The Mineral Reserve estimates for Candelaria Norte are based on mine plans and
designs developed using modifying parameters including metal prices, metal recovery
(based on performance of the processing plant), actual operating and sustaining
capital cost estimates (based on the production schedule and equipment

requirements). The parameters used for the Mineral Reserves are summarized in
Table 16.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The Mineral Reserve estimates for Candelaria Norte are based on mine plans and
designs developed using modifying parameters including metal prices, metal recovery
(based on performance of the processing plant), actual operating and sustaining
capital cost estimates (based on the production schedule and equipment

requirements). The parameters used for the Mineral Reserves are summarized in
Table 16.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Conversion of Mineral Resources to Mineral Reserves is initiated following the formal


transference of the resource block models to the mines planning groups Minesite
design software package and then integrated into the global mine layouts where they
are then reviewed. All Inferred material in the model is assigned a grade of zero.

Preliminary stope layouts are generated by first utilizing CAE MSO (Mine Stope
Optimizer) software with predetermined stope design parameters.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

These initial stope designs are reviewed and modified manually to derive practical
and efficient stope geometries, and any geotechnical input is considered. Planned
development in ore is also estimated. The final stope shapes are interrogated and the
grades and tonnages generated. Stope data is exported into a spreadsheet where

dilution (with background metal grades) and mining recovery are then applied.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

A unique cut-off grade is generated for each of the three underground mines and is
based on a copper price of US$2.00 per pound. The cut-off grade calculation includes
inputs such as:

Copper, gold and silver metal prices;

Mine, surface and mill operating costs;

G & A costs;

Sustaining capital;

Smelting, refining, freight and other downstream costs; and

Metal recoveries.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Stopes that are below the cut-off are not included in the Mineral Reserves. The
dilution and recovery parameters vary depending on each individual stopes
geotechnical condition, geometry and sequence. All economical stopes and related
development are included in the Mineral Reserves and life of mine plan.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

14.2 Minera Ojos del Salado

The Mineral Reserves for Santos and Alcaparrosa underground mines were prepared
by Minera Ojos del Salado personnel and are based upon the Measured and

Indicated Mineral Resources defined for the underground mines.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The Mineral Reserve estimates for the Minera Ojos del Salado are based on mine
plans and designs developed using modifying parameters including, metal prices,
metal recovery (based on performance of the processing plant), actual operating and
sustaining capital cost estimates (based on the production schedule and equipment

requirements). The parameters used for the Mineral Reserves are summarized in
Table 17.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The conversion of Mineral Resources into Mineral Reserves at the Santos and
Alcaparrosa underground mines follows the same process applied for the Candelaria
Norte underground mine.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

A unique cut-off grade is generated for each of the three underground mines and is
based on a copper price of US$2.00 per pound. The cut-off grade calculation includes
inputs such as:

Copper, gold and silver metal prices;

Mine, surface and mill operating costs;

G & A costs;

Sustaining capital;

Smelting, refining, freight and other downstream costs; and

Metal recoveries.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Stopes that are below the cut-off are not included in the Mineral Reserves. The
dilution and recovery parameters vary depending on each individual stopes
geotechnical condition, geometry and sequence. All economical stopes and related
development are included in the Mineral Reserves and life of mine plan.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

14.3 Mineral Reserve Statement

Mineral Reserves are derived from measured/ indicated Mineral Resources after
applying economic parameters. The reserves have been derived and classified

according to the following criteria:

Proven Mineral Reserves are the economically mineable part of the Measured
Mineral Resource where development work for mining and information on
processing/metallurgy and other relevant factors demonstrate that economic
extraction is achievable. le 20.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Probable Mineral Reserves are those Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources
where development work for mining and information on processing/metallurgy and
other relevant factors demonstrate that economic extraction is achievable.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The audited Mineral Reserve statement for Minera Candelaria and Minera Ojos del
Salado is presented in Table 18 and Table 19, respectively. A combined Mineral
Reserve statement is presented in Table 20.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

15.3 Underground Mine Design and Production Schedule

Each of the three underground mines and its associated facilities is accessed by way
of a surface portal and ramp. Figure 31, Figure 32, and Figure 33 demonstrate the

basic layout of Candelaria Norte, Santos and Alcaparrosa respectively.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Figure 31: Candelaria Norte Layout and Sectors

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Figure 32: Santos Layout and Sectors : Source: Minera Ojos del Salado

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Figure 33: Alcaparrosa Layout and Sectors :Source: Minera Ojos del Salado

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The underground mines employ geology, planning and surveying personnel. The mine
operates using detailed production, development plans and schedules and all of the
mining activities are conducted under the guidance and oversight of the general mine
manager. The operational activities at all of the mines are performed by contractors

with oversight by Candelaria and Ojos del Salado management. The contractors
employ and manage the mines labour personnel as well as own and maintain the
mining equipment

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The underground mines are all relatively dry owing to theirs location in an arid region.
Geotechnical rock mass characterization is completed from core logging, detailed
mapping of geological structures, testing of intact material properties and measuring
in-situ stresses.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Empirical open stope design methodologies have been used to determine roof and
wall stability and the size of pillars. Numerical analysis simulation tools for mine
sequencing analysis are also applied. External consultants have undertaken global
stability analysis of the planned open stoping operations for all three underground

mines in 2013 and 2014. The main reports being

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Anlisis de Estabilidad Global Complejo Super Nova Mina Santos, prepared by


E-Mining Technology S.A. for Compaa Contractual Minera Candelaria ;

Anlisis de Estabilidad Global Mina Alcaparrosa, prepared by E-Mining


Technology S.A. for Compaa Contractual Minera Candelaria; and

Analisis Nueva Secuencia De Explotacion Sector Mantos Elisa Mina Candelaria

Norte by E-Mining Technology S.A. for Compaa Contractual Minera Candelaria

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

SRK is of the opinion that the stopes that support the proposed life or mine plan for
Candelaria Norte, Alcaparrosa and Santos can be mined as expected.

All of the three underground mines, Candelaria Norte, Santos and Alcaparrosa utilize

a sublevel stoping mining method for ore extraction. This method is ideal for relatively
large, vertical, as well as thick deposits with favourable and stable host rock. See
Figure 34.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Figure 34: Typical Sub-Level Open Stope


Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Stopes can typically be up to 100 metres high with sub-levels at 25 metre to 50 metre
intervals. The length of the stopes is generally 80 metres with widths varying between
20 to 30 metres. Stopes are drilled down from the sub-level drilling drifts as benches
using 4.5 inch to 5.5 inch diameter DTH holes.

The holes are loaded and blasted in vertical slices towards an open face. The blasted
ore gravitates to the bottom of the stope and is collected through drawpoints at the
production level below. This lower level also consists of the haulage drift.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The drawpoints are 7 metres high and inclined at 50 to 60 degrees to allow the
blasted ore to flow. Conventionally drilled 2.5inch upholes within the drawpoints are
loaded and blasted along with the down-holes. Once the stope is mined, a remaining
rib pillar which can be another 20 metre to 30 metres wide may be blasted into the

stope providing higher extraction. A 20 metre structural pillar remains between each
stope and no backfill is used at these operations.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Ore is mucked from the drawpoints using surface-type front-end loaders and LHDs
(Load Haul Dump). The mucked ore is dumped into 30 ton highway type trucks and
hauled by way of the ramp to a surface stockpile for subsequent re-handling and
processing.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Some ore may be irrecoverable at stope completion and ore is left in-stope and as
support pillars lowering the overall mining recovery. The mining recovery varies
depending on the type of stope and its geometry. The amount of dilution also varies
depending on the stope setting. Dilution typically contains mineralized material with

low metal grades. Typical mining recovery and dilution factors are summarized in
Table 22.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Table 22: Summary of Stope Setting

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

15.4 Underground Mine Plan


The current scheduled annual production for Candelaria Norte, Santos and
Alcaparrosa is summarized in Table 23.

Table 23: Underground Reserve Schedule


Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

Table 23 highlights the short mine lives of the underground mines based on the
current Mineral Reserves. It is noted that the recent exploration programmes have
been successful in identifying additional Mineral Resources in all of the underground
mines. Continued exploration and the timely conversion of Mineral Resources to

Reserves will likely see the lives of the underground mines extended. At Candelaria
Norte, the discovery of the spatially distant Susana and Damiana orebodies may
allow an increase in mine life but also the potential for increased output rates.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

15.6.2 Underground Mine Equipment

All three underground mines utilizes conventional surface and underground


equipment designed for a hard-rock operational mine applications that are owned,

operated and maintained by contractors. LHDs (Load Haul Dump) units and FrontEnd-Loaders are used for mucking ore from the drawpoints and from development
headings. Currently, these units are not fitted with any remote control capability.
Therefore, any muck past the brow would remain in the stope as unrecovered loss.
Blasted ore is mucked into 30 tonne highway type trucks.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

For production ore, typically three to four trucks are assigned to one loader depending
on the haul distance. For drilling, Down-the-Hole (DTH) drills with a 4.5 inch to 5.5
inch diameter holes are used in the sub-levels. Twin-boom Jumbos drill off the
development headings and also drill holes for bolting. Manlifts are used for services

and installation of bolts.

The overall mining rate is currently 6,000 tonnes per day for Candelaria Norte, 3,800
tonnes per day for Santos and 4,000 tonnes per day for Alcaparrosa.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

The mining equipment used at all three of the underground mines are summarised in
Table 25.

Table 25: Underground Mining Equipment

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile

For production ore, typically three to four trucks are assigned to one loader depending
on the haul distance. For drilling, Down-the-Hole (DTH) drills with a 4.5 inch to 5.5
inch diameter holes are used in the sub-levels. Twin-boom Jumbos drill off the
development headings and also drill holes for bolting. Manlifts are used for services

and installation of bolts.

The overall mining rate is currently 6,000 tonnes per day for Candelaria Norte, 3,800
tonnes per day for Santos and 4,000 tonnes per day for Alcaparrosa.

Technical Report for the Compana Minera Candelaria and Compana Minera Ojos del Salado
Copper Projects, Atacama Province, Region III, Chile