Authors: Tierney, SR; Morkel, IG

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Tierney, SR & Morkel, IG 2017, 'The optimisation and comparison of re-entry assessment methodologies for use in seismically active mines', in J Wesseloo (ed.), Deep Mining 2017: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Deep and High Stress Mining, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 183-196,

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The hazard posed from large seismic events is often high enough to warrant the exclusion or evacuation of personnel from underground workings. A period of exclusion is often determined following blasts or large events due to the increased risk. The period of exclusion until re-entry occurs is a decision for site geotechnical engineers and mine management that must balance the potential risk to personnel with lost production time and associated costs. There is currently no widely accepted method for determining reentry times and mine sites typically develop their own rules for exclusions after blasts and large events. A systematic and evidence based approach to the development of re-entry protocols could potentially reduce the risk to personnel from an early re-entry or reduce the lost production from an unnecessary exclusion. Four methods of re-entry assessment have been considered in this paper. The seismic responses at three mines have been modelled and used to optimise each assessment method and gauge the relative success through back-analysis. These same techniques are available for other mines to review their own data and potentially improve their current re-entry protocols. The results of this research indicate that a realtime reentry assessment method can offer improved outcomes compared to blanket re-entry rules by reducing the average exclusion time while still capturing the same number of large events. The incorporation of event size in the assessment can result in better results than the event count. Vallejos and McKinnon (2009) developed a probabilistic framework for re-entry assessment but this method was found to be less efficient than the blanket rule in the majority of cases in this study. The method would also result in more administration and uncertainty for mine planning and scheduling. Several potential improvements to the analysis techniques, and avenues for further research, have been discussed.

Keywords: seismic re-entry, seismic risk, mine seismology

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