Erismann, F, Hansson, M & Krutrök, B 2022, 'Concrete: an enabler of large-scale block and sublevel cave mining projects globally', in Y Potvin (ed.), Caving 2022: Fifth International Conference on Block and Sublevel Caving
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 151-164, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2205_08
Concrete, applied by a range of different methods and forms has been used in large-scale block and sublevel cave operations for decades. However, over the last 20 years, concrete has seen an exponential growth in usage for a wide variety of applications. Thanks to its local availability, its good cost performance compared to other construction and underground support technologies, and the flexibility of production, transport and application, concrete has become the go to material when it comes to efficient design and execution of critical key components of mass-mine structures. This paper gives an overview about such critical infrastructure components such as shafts, raises, ore and waste passes and yielding shotcrete liners for primary and permanent underground support.
As the design, production, transport and placement of the concrete are the most important factors for the successful completion of a specific project, various concrete systems used today in different underground mines are discussed. Such systems include the batching of large concrete volumes in wet batch plants above or underground, the supply of pre-bagged concrete to the point of use, the operation of concrete slick lines to deliver concrete underground and the application of sprayed concrete in various forms for a range of applications.
Examples and lessons learned from large caving projects such as Kiruna in Sweden, Grasberg in Indonesia, Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia and Chuquicamata in Chile have been compiled and critically reviewed. With view towards the expected service life, the durability of concrete is discussed. The paper also discusses the sustainability aspect when using concrete as a construction material and the potential impact of new, concrete related technologies on the lifecycle assessment of such materials. Such technologies include clinker free cements and technologies to reduce the overall amount of cement and steel in concrete.
Keywords: shotcrete, concrete, block caving, underground support, sustainability, sprayed concrete, ore passes, admixtures, fibres
Belem, T, Peyronnard, O & Benzaazoua, M 2010, ‘A model of formulation of blended binders for use in cemented mine backfills’, in R Jewell & AB Fourie (eds), Mine Waste 2010: Proceedings of the First International Seminar on the Reduction of Risk in the Management of Tailings and Mine Waste, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 433–447.
Erismann, F & Hansson, M 2019, ‘Early strength development of shotcrete for rapid mine development and behaviour under dynamic loads’, Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Ground Support in Mining and Underground Construction 2019, Sudbury, Canada, pp. 559–571.
Erismann, F, Hannson, M, Lindlar, B, Munoz & C, Erlangga, R 2018, ‘Rapid mine development using efficient in-cycle shotcrete’, Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving 2018, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 759–767.
Guo, R, Wang, J, Bing, L, Tong, D, Ciais, P, Davis, S, Andrew, R, Xi, F & Liu, Z 2021, ‘Global CO2 uptake by cement from 1930 to 2019’, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, vol 13, pp. 1791–1805.
Leese, R & Casey, D 2019, ‘Embodied CO2e of UK cement, additions and cementitious material’, Fact Sheet 18, 2019 MPA Cement Mineral Products Association,
LKAB, 25 November 2021, News Release,
Mahasenan, N, Smith, S & Humphreys, K 2002, ‘The Cement Industry and Global Climate Change: Current and Potential Future Cement Industry CO2 Emissions’, Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies 2002, Kyoto, Japan, vol II, pp. 995–1000.
Peyronnarda, O & Benzaazouaa, M 2012, ‘Alternative by-product-based binders for cemented mine backfill: Recipe optimisation using Taguchi method’, Minerals Engineering, Vol 29, March 2012, pp. 28–38.
World Cement 2009, ‘GGBS: the world’s most sustainable building material?’, World Cement, October 2009, "
" title="GGBS: how we can produce sustainable concrete">GGBS: the world’s most sustainable building material?
Xiao, B, Fall, M & Roshani, M 2021, ‘Towards Understanding the Rheological Properties of Slag-Cemented Paste Backfill’, International Journal of Mining, Reclamation and Environment, Vol 35, 2021, Issue 4, pp. 268–290.
ASTM International 2011, Standard Practice For Preparing And Testing Specimens From Shotcrete Test Panels, ASTM C1140/C1140M-11, ASTM International, West Conshohocken.
ASTM International 2020, Standard Test Method For Flexural Toughness Of Fibre Reinforced Concrete (Using Centrally Loaded Round Panel), ASTM C1550–20, ASTM International, West Conshohocken.
EN European Standard 2005, Testing sprayed concrete Compressive strength of young, sprayed concrete, BS EN 14488–1:2005, EN European Standard, Brussels.
EN European Standard 2006, Testing sprayed concrete Sampling fresh and hardened concrete, BS EN 14488–2:2006, EN European Standard, Brussels.
EN European Standard 2007, Sprayed concrete – Part 2: Execution (DIN EN 14487–2), EN European Standard, Brussels
EN European Standard 2019, Testing fresh concrete – Part 2: Slump test, Part 5: Flow table test, Part 8: Self-compacting concrete, Slump-flow test (BS EN 12350–2, BS EN 12350–5, BS EN 12350–8:2019), EN European Standard, Brussels.
EN European Standard 2019, Testing hardened concrete Compressive strength of test specimens – Part 3: Compressive strength of test specimens, BS EN 12390–3:2019, EN European Standard, Brussels.
EN European Standard 2011, Cement Part 1. Composition, specifications and conformity criteria for common cements, BS EN 197–1, EN European Standard, Brussels.