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Installation of Super Swellex Rock Supports
allows pillar ore recovery and reduces
dilution in hanging wall situationt3 rows

Frequent encounters with poor rock The Challenge

conditions were forcing Rambler Metals Frequent encounters with poor rock
and Mining to sacrifice recoverable conditions were forcing Rambler
copper ore. The copper was left behind Metals and Mining to sacrifice
in a series of back support pillars recoverable copper ore. The copper
was left behind in a series of back
required during mucking operations,
support pillars required during
making 10 percent or more of a stopes mucking operations, making 10
ore unrecoverable. percent or more of a stopes ore
Nicholas Dillman, Atlas Copco Newfoundland
More frequent encounters with poor
rock conditions forced Rambler Metals
and Mining to sacrifice recoverable
copper ore in some sections of its
Ming mine on the Baie Verte pen-
insula in Newfoundland. The back
support pillars meant 10 percent or
more of a stopes ore unrecoverable.
Ming investigated support systems
that would allow them to blast and
retrieve the pillars.

Gavin Clow and Nic Scarcelli are the

mine engineers in charge of ground
support system design at Ming. Clow
said rock competency became most
Customer problematic by Level 380: During
development we would be re-scaling
Rambler Metals and Mining a day after we finished scaling.
Without the support pillars, basically
Challenge you could just expect to have ground
Some areas of Ramblers Ming falls. The peeling and failures had
copper mine required support also increased dilution, driving ore Super Swellex bolts were installed
pillars to prevent roof falls, leaving grade below economical recovery. in a 1.5 meter spacing using a
behind up to 10 percent of the ore prototype installation tool devel-
body. If Rambler could find a fast, A 2014 Ming study determined an oped by Atlas Copco for this unique
cost-effective alternative to pillars active back support system using application. First, 4-meter-long, 2
for back support, they could recover cable bolts would enable the mine -inch-diameter holes were drilled
ore in the pillars as well. to retrieve the ore in the pillars. But for production blast charging. Then
when Clow consulted Nicholas Dill- a 2-inch-diameter installation hole
Our Solution man of Atlas Copco Canadas facility was drilled 4 meters further for

3492 0301 01 Fagersta, Sweden. Copyright 2016, Atlas Copco Craelius AB. 03.03.2016
Ming and Atlas Copco ground in Pasadena, Newfoundland, Dillman each bolt. Clow planned to set the
support engineers concluded that suggested Clow look into the advan- 4 meter long Super Swellex in five-
Super Swellex expandable rock tages of using Swellex Connectables bolt rings
bolts would deliver exactly the instead of grouted cable bolts.
results Ming sought. Several days after mucking opera-
Atlas Copco product support deter- tions the Swellex was continuing to
Results / Benefits mined that Super Swellex expand- hold the hanging wall well with less
able rock bolts with a bond strength peeling. Thats exactly what we
A passive back support system
of 12 tonnes per meter would indeed needed, Clow said. Even where
based on Atlas Copco Connectable
deliver the results Ming looked for in it did start to unravel, Swellex ar-
Super Swellex allowed Rambler not
this application. rested it nicely.
only to economically recover ore
left behind in room pillars at Ming
While Swellex is a passive ground Clows cost analysis using coppers
Mine but also to reduce dilution
support system (tension is not preset market value at that time deter-
due to back peeling and occasional
on the bolts), it offers two things that mined the Super Swellex system
failure. Proving that Super Swellex
can make it superior to cable bolts. had earned Ming 42 percent net
back support was effective in a low
The first is that it can be installed profit. We also compared the
RMR test zone assured Ming Mine
quickly, by one person, in one opera- amount of dilution experienced
it would be effective for similarly
tion. The second advantage is immedi- across all the pillared stopes in the
problematic ore zones.
ate full column rock support. Charging 380 level to the Swellex-supported
and blasting are not delayed waiting stopes in the 390 level, Clow said.
for resin or grout to cure. Less dilution was experienced in
Clow believed Level 390 was an ideal the Swellex-supported level.
test site for the back support system
for two reasons. First, the hanging Mings use of rock bolts for back
wall in 390 averages a rock mass support will be reserved for ore
rating (RMR) of only 50. Proving that zones with low RMR and relatively
Super Swellex back support was effec- long strikes, those of 40 m or more,
tive in such a low RMR zone assured and then only when backfill capabil-
Ming Mine it would be effective for ity is limited. However, it adds one
other ore zones designated for recov- more technique for recovering ore
ery using this back support method. in Mings unique resource.