You are on page 1of 2

Section 18 Underground Mining: Self-Supported

Methods
MICHAEL KARMIS, ASSOCIAT E EDITOR
C HRISTOPHE R HAYCOCKS, SECTI ON COORDINATOR

18.0 Introduction 1679 18.3.6 Case Study: La Libertad Mine,


18.1 Room and Pillar Mining 1681 Pueblo Nuevo, Durango, Mexico 1715
18.1.1 Introduction 1681 18.3.7 Summary 1716
18.1.2 Design of Pillars 1681 18.4 Sublevel Stoping 1717
18.1.3 Support of Rooms 1686 18.4.1 Ore Body Type 1717
18.1.4 Methods of Room and Pillar 18.4.2 Stope Development 1717
Mining 1688 18.4.3 Production Drilling 1720
18.1.5 Production Methods—Noncoal 1692 18.4.4 Production Blasting 1721
18.1.6 Production Methods—Coal 1693 18.4.5 Waste Filling 1722
18.1.7 Ventilation 1695 18.4.6 Ground Control 1723
18.1.8 Systems Analysis 1699 18.4.7 Safety Characteristics 1723
18.2 Stope and Pillar Mining 1702 18.4.8 Economics 1723
18.2.1 General Features 1702 18.4.9 Advantages and Disadvantages 1724
18.2.2 Conventional Stope and Pillar 1703 18.4.10 Case Study: Sublevel Stoping at
18.2.3 Dipping Ore Bodies 1705 Kidd Creek Mines 1724
18.2.4 Breast Stoping 1706 18.4.11 Underhand and Overhand
18.2.5 Advantages and Disadvantages 1708 Stoping 1726
18.2.6 Case Study: Buick Mine 1708 18.5 Vertical Crater Retreat Mining 1732
18.3 Shrinkage Stoping 1712 18.5.1 General Methodology 1732
18.3.1 Introduction 1712 18.5.2 VCR Theory 1732
18.3.2 Development and Preparation 1712 18.5.3 Adaptivity 1732
18.3.3 Stoping Operations 1713 18.5.4 Advantages and Disadvantages 1732
18.3.4 Stope Drawdown 1714 18.5.5 Case Study: VCR Mining at
18.3.5 Variations and Applications 1714 Homestake Mining Co. 1733

Chapter 18.0
INTRODUCTION
CHRISTOPHER HAYCOCKS
Self-supporting, open stoping underground mining methods methods. Open stoping methods find applications in all inclina-
are some of the earliest, starting with the prehistoric flint mines tions of ore body from flat to vertical, and where ore movement
of Europe and the Egyptian gold mines of Nubia in the time of may be either mechanical or under the influence of gravity. Table
the pharaohs. When the early miner created an opening, it had 18.0.1 demonstrates the range of ore bodies suitable for open
to be inherently stable and self-supporting to enable him to stoping, with particular reference to their dip and the deposit
continue. Therefore, as mining progressed beyond simple go- thickness.
phering, self-supported open stoping methods were devised to Most of the flat-dipping applications use ore pillars for over-
meet the needs of individual ore bodies. Timber for support all support and ground control that may be recovered under
appears in mines as early as 1000 BC, but this was for no more some conditions after completion of normal stoping practices.
than local ground control. The ingenuity of mining engineers In steeper ore bodies, rib, crown, and sill pillars used to block
through history has so refined open stoping methods that today out the ore may be recovered subsequent to the completion
they produce more tonnage than any other mining system. of stoping. Open stopes are frequently filled to facilitate pillar
Self-supported open stoping finds its application in moderate recovery. Two of the methods, vertical crater retreat (VCR) and
to strong rocks that exhibit little jointing or fragmentation. Good shrinkage stoping, utilize fragmented ore for temporary support
back, hanging wall, and footwall conditions that require no more in the stopes. In these two cases, the stope is not strictly open
than incidental support are an essential part of these mining until after drawdown.

1679
MINING ENGINEERING HANDBOOK
Table 18.0.1. Applications of Self-supporting Methods Self-supported stopes in ore bodies over 20 ft (6 m) thick are
primarily high production and are amenable to mechanization,
which makes them very efficient. The development of large-
diameter (6- to 8-in., or 150- to 200-mm) down-hole drills has
had a major impact on some open stoping because of their ex-
treme accuracy over distances up to 400 ft (120 m). Innovative
applications of these down-hole drills has significantly changed
the layouts of the classical sublevel stope, making it much more
productive while reducing costs. VCR stoping has also been a
major beneficiary of this equipment. Most open stoping has also
been a major beneficiary of trackless mining, particularly load-
haul-dump units.