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Wattle Dam Gold Mine has successfully mined a significant gold orebody in very weak rock, where some of the ore strength was less than 1 MPa. Almost 100% ore recovery was achieved despite the weak rock.
Conventional rockbolts did not achieve high anchorage capacities in this material. As mining extended to depth, squeezing developed in the rock mass. The mine trialled several ground control options in response to developing hazards and implemented two of them successfully. The first was shotcrete ribs for long-term control. The ribs were installed after allowing some squeezing movement to occur. Novel methods were developed to easily fabricate mesh for the ribs. The second option was cemented rock fill (CRF) for backfill of stope panels in order to control convergence and overbreak. Novel crush firings were used to allow blasting of stopes without conventional rises being required.
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