Authors: Wesseloo, J; Cumming-Potvin, D; Potvin, Y; Jacobsz, SW; Kearsley, E

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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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Wesseloo, J, Cumming-Potvin, D, Potvin, Y, Jacobsz, SW & Kearsley, E 2020, 'Physical modelling to provide data-rich case studies for the verification and validation of numerical modelling predictions of cave mechanics problems', 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. 462-477,

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Due to the nature of cave mining, the industry needs to rely on indirect data and limited direct observation to investigate the mechanisms and processes of cave propagation. A collaborative project with the Australian Centre for Geomechanics, the University of Western Australia, and the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Pretoria was initiated to study these processes in the laboratory using geotechnical centrifuge modelling. The results of the first phase of this study postulated a discontinuous caving process with fracture banding occurring (Cumming-Potvin 2018; Cumming-Potvin et al. 2016a). A second phase of the project has been initiated under the sponsorship and in collaboration with Newcrest Mining Ltd. Several improvements to the experimental setup were introduced in the second phase with several further tests performed. The mechanism of cave propagation in the centrifuge is dominated by extension fracturing initiating in the cave crown and extending parallel to the cave back, with secondary shear fractures predominantly occurring on the side of the cave closer to the abutment.

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