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, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 411-420.
Over the past decade, Impala Platinum Ltd has executed several major mining projects in Southern Africa involving the sinking of vertical and/or decline shafts together with the associated ore body access development. The ground control challenges inherent in these different projects have necessitated the use of multiple support strategies for different project phases, support unit types and combinations.
The design and specification of support systems have required the evaluation of multiple parameters, often in an iterative manner. Common criteria include depth and associated rock mass response, block size, excavation dimensions, proposed mining methodology, mining equipment and planned cycle times. Occasionally, other variables also need to be considered, such as corrosion resistance, microseismicity, ground swelling, etc.
Whilst the advisory reports issued for the individual phases of each project highlight the envisaged rock-related hazards and strategies to address them, the overarching strategy is generally not provided. This paper details the approach used at Impala to select the appropriate support philosophies, systems and units/types for each unique situation.
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