Cave Mining

Caving is applied to increasingly deep, large, strong, and heterogeneous ore bodies. This increases the risk of stranded reserves in overhangs, potential for cave stall and air-blast, infrastructure rehabilitation or loss, and large-scale caving-induced subsidence. Geomechanical analyses are therefore critical to understand and predict:

  • cave growth and shape;
  • primary and secondary fragmentation;
  • extraction level stability;
  • recovery and dilution; and
  • surface subsidence.

Itasca simulates mine caveability and subsidence using the continuum program FLAC3D and the discrete element programs 3DEC and PFC to predict the progressive failure and fragmentation of the rock mass from an intact/jointed to a caved material. Both FLAC3D and 3DEC can utilize Itasca’s CaveHoek and Imass material models, whereas both 3DEC and PFC can utilize bonded or free-flowing blocks/particles.

Coupled with Itasca’s deterministic, physics-based code REBOP or the statistical, cellular automata code CAVESIM, the collapse, bulking, and movement of caved rock can be better incorporated. The coupled method captures many important aspects of caveability affecting cave design, such as hang-up formation, material recovery, timing of surface breakthrough or interaction with other lifts, crater development, and surface subsidence.

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Upcoming Events
6 Apr
PFC Introductory Training-Minneapolis - CANCELED
This four-day course provides guidance in the use of the PFC2D and PFC3D to simulate the mechanical behavior of granular and solid mate... Read More
20 Apr
3DEC and UDEC Introductory Training, CANCELED
An introduction to UDEC and 3DEC for application to geotechnical analysis.... Read More
26 Apr
2020 SMRI Conference
The Solution Mining Research Institute (SMRI) is a research and educational organization focused on solution mining. SMRI views solutio... Read More