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, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 109-122.
Block caving operations are increasing in popularity in the mining industry as companies are looking to extract large, deep orebodies faster and more economically. Underground mass mining methods, such as block caving, present several geotechnical hazards and risks that must be monitored using technology. Advances in geotechnical instrumentation have helped bring value to the operational and safety risks associated with block caving. There are two types of instrumentation, internal and external, that must be used in conjunction with one another to effectively monitor the geotechnical risks and ground support of the block cave. Internal monitoring of pore pressure, stress, deformation, load, and cave propagation will provide insight into the internal stability of the rock mass as well as provide leading indicators of potential failures. Key internal instrumentation would include Multipoint Borehole Extensometers (MPBX), in-place inclinometers (IPI), timedomain reflectometry (TDR), seismic monitoring, open borehole cameras, Networked Smart Markers, instrumented rock and cable bolts, embedment strain gauges, borehole and New Australian Tunnelling Method (NATM) pressure cells, borehole stressmeters, and piezometers. To corroborate the internal deformation and stress information, external instrumentation should be utilised to monitor the surface deformation within the underground workings as well as on the topographic surface. External instrumentation includes tape extensometers, laser distance sensors, prisms, crackmeters, LiDAR laser scanners, and satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). When using these multiple instrumentation technologies together, one can have a better understanding of the mining-induced ground response, have more transparency in monitoring and handling risk, numerical model calibration, and ensure that the cave is operating at the highest level of safety and production levels.
Keywords: ground support, block caving, instrumentation, monitoring
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