Authors: Cuello, D; Newcombe, G

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Cuello, D & Newcombe, G 2018, 'Key geotechnical knowledge and practical mine planning guidelines in deep, high-stress, hard rock conditions for block and panel cave mining', in Y Potvin & J Jakubec (eds), Caving 2018: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 17-36,

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Cadia Valley Operations (Cadia) embarked on a path of cave mining in the early 2000s with the establishment of the Ridgeway sublevel cave. The success of that mine led to a significant expansion into block caving operations, first at Ridgeway Deeps, and then to the now established Cadia East operations. What makes Cadia unique is the high-stress, hard rock mining conditions combined with the ability to maximise investor returns through the use of very high lift heights at depths of between 1,200 to 1,400 m. Over the last decade, a significant amount of geotechnical and mining operations knowledge has been gained. A strong safety culture, combined with innovative thinking, has allowed Cadia to challenge existing industry paradigms using empirical data, a proof of concept type approach, followed by rapid implementation. Cadia East is now poised to begin another phase of development as it continues on a multi-decade mine life to exploit over one billion safe tonnes of ore. A critical path for ensuring success is the conversion of the geotechnical knowledge into practical planning guidelines that can be easily understood and adopted during cave feasibility, establishment, and full production phases. This paper summarises the key elements of geotechnical knowledge and its input into the mine planning for the future of Cadia Valley Operations.

Keywords: caving, hard rock, fragmentation, ramp-up, planning

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