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The accurate assessment of cave initiation and propagation is of critical importance to the planning of any new caving operation. For this reason, the use of numerical models for simulation of the undercutting, draw, propagation and surface subsidence processes are becoming more commonplace. This paper describes the application of a numerical caving algorithm that has been developed within the industry funded Mass Mining Technology (MMT) project. The caving algorithm allows a cave volume to evolve as a result of the in situ geomechanical conditions and the imposed production schedule. It has been validated at a number of different caving operations. The effect of the in situ geomechanical conditions and imposed production schedule on cave behaviour has been studied by conducting a series of numerical simulations of a conceptual block cave mine. The results are compared to traditional empirical methods for predicting caveability.
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