Best practice for personnel, material and rock transportation in ultra deep level gold mines.
Rupprecht, Steven Michael.
MetadataShow full item record
Ultra deep mining presents many challenges to the mining engineer, one of which is the logistics to support mining operations quickly and efficiently. Typically, Witwatersrand gold mines operate at depths in excess of 2000 m with stoping taking place to 3500 m and investigations underway to mine to a depth of 5000 m. As mining progresses deeper and further from the shaft, the role of logistics becomes increasingly important if production targets are to be achieved. Access to the workings is often via sub vertical and even tertiary subvertical shaft systems with working faces as far as five kilometers from the shaft. It is inevitable therefore, that distance will negatively impact the working time available at the stope face, material transportation and distribution, as well as the removal of broken ore. Possible solutions to these logistical problems may be found in the use of different transportation systems or by applying sound design and operational principles to transportation systems, both in the horizontal and instope areas. This thesis investigates the challenges of logistics for ultra deep level gold mining in the Witwaterstrand basin for mining layouts planning to mine between 3000 m and 5000 m underground with typical horizontal distances of over 3000 m. The transportation needs analysis recognised that vertical transportation is a wellmanaged and organised system and is mainly the same for both shallow and deep level operations. As a result of this, the thesis only focuses on the logistical issues of the horizontal and in-stope processes. The literature review indicates that the majority of work previously conducted on transportation focused around the area of horizontal transportation with limited inputs to in-stope transportation systems. The review concludes that the traditional locomotive transportation system is the most applicable mode of horizontal transportation. Thus, special emphasis is given to trackbound transportation. An integrated approach is taken towards mine transportation advocating that underground logistics be considered as equally important as any other discipline, Le. rock engineering, ventilation, etc. In addition, the transportation process should consider each area equally important. All to often, the transportation of rock is considered of paramount importance over the transportation of personnel and material. Thus, the planning any transportation system should incorporate personnel, material and rock. To enable this, scheduling, communication and control are important with special attention required for transfer points in the transportation system. As each site has its own particular requirement, thus the final transportation systems must be drawn up based on the specific requirements of each mine. A guideline is proposed for the design of ultra deep level underground transport systems for personnel, material and rock transportation. Thus, providing mining engineers with sufficient information and data to select an appropriate transportation system to meet specific mine requirements. The thesis highlights areas requiring consideration by mine engineers when designing a transportation system from shaft to the working face.