Campbell, AD 2022, 'A global review of recovery, dilution and draw control in sublevel caving mines', in Y Potvin (ed.), Caving 2022: Fifth International Conference on Block and Sublevel Caving
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 909-926, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2205_62
Sublevel caving (SLC) has previously been regardedas a high dilution and low recovery mining method requiring specific orebody geometry and rock mass conditions to be successful. Progress in the past 20 years at numerous operations has broken this misconception. A wide range of challenges have been encountered and mitigated at operations around the world, including high stress and seismicity, fines, inrush hazard, remnant mining and interaction with open pits and other caves. Significant improvements have also been made in ore recovery and productivity. Variants of SLC including sublevel shrinkage (SLS) and sublevel retreat (SLR) have also become more widely implemented in modern operations. Unfortunately, these advancements in knowledge and practice are not widely published and generally remain within individual companies.
To overcome this shortcoming, a global review of current practices in SLC was undertaken as part of the Cave Mining 2040 research consortium.
The purpose of the global benchmark and mining review was to document and compare operational practices, technical aspects and hazard management techniques across SLC mines around the world. A total of 21 mines spread over four continents and 17 different mining companies participated in the study. This paper describes the main findings of the study related to ore recovery, dilution and draw control practices at the benchmarked mines.
Keywords: sublevel caving, dilution, recovery, benchmarking
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