Authors: Álvarez, C; Gómez, P; Orrego, C; López, S

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This paper is hosted with the kind permission of the Universidad de Chile, Eighth International Conference & Exhibition on Mass Mining, 2020.


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Álvarez, C, Gómez, P, Orrego, C & López, S 2020, 'Calibration of structurally controlled caving propagation using 3DEC. The Esmeralda Block 1 case study', in R Castro, F Báez & K Suzuki (eds), MassMin 2020: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference & Exhibition on Mass Mining, University of Chile, Santiago, pp. 418-427,

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In the context of the transition studies from Open Pit to Block Cave mining at the Chuquicamata Underground Project, the validation of Itasca´s caving algorithm being used to predict caveability in a structurally controlled environment was deemed necessary. CODELCO proposed application of the caving algorithm to the observed caving behavior of Block 1 case study at Esmeralda Mine, El Teniente Division, which was known to have been influenced by the presence of a few major faults in its development. This paper presents the first successful attempt to calibrate a structurally controlled caving process in 3DEC.Itasca implemented the caving algorithm in 3DEC using all the data provided by CODELCO and successfully matched the observed behavior at El Teniente´s Esmeralda mine. From the calibration, it was concluded that the parameters with the most significant influence in the results were the stress field, rock mass properties and faults properties. A good correlation was obtained when compared with the emerging cave shapes from the model and the position of the micro-seismic activity recorded in the period of interest. When comparing the results of the geometric observational modeling developed by CODELCO with the emerging results from the 3DEC model, a reasonable match was observed in terms of geometry and volume of the caves. Additionally, breakthrough to the upper level Teniente 5 and the main propagation mechanism influenced mainly by J and H Faults were captured.

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