Authors: Sharrock, GB

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Sharrock, GB 2008, 'The Isolated Extraction Zone in Block Caving — A Review', in Y Potvin, J Carter, A Dyskin & R Jeffrey (eds), Proceedings of the First Southern Hemisphere International Rock Mechanics Symposium, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 255-271.

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This paper reviews previous work on the Isolated Extraction Zone (IEZ) in Block Caving, and in particular, the parameters and mechanisms controlling the shape of the IEZ. Previous work is divided into four separate approaches namely: scaled physical modelling; numerical modelling; full scale marker trials; and empirical relations from site observations. Based on this review it is concluded that neither the dimensions of the IEZ nor the corresponding parameters thought to control its behaviour have been measured in full scale marker trials. Most existing knowledge of the IEZ (and interactive draw) comes from scaled physical modelling studies on sand and gravel. As a result, most computer programs currently used to forecast draw performance rely on calibration parameters and assumptions from scaled physical models, untested against corresponding full scale experiments. This paper explores these parameters and assumptions, and makes comments on possible directions for future work. One important direction for future study is the gravity flow of interlocking, dilatant rock masses, from the fully interlocked condition. This subject not been studied in any depth either in scaled physical models, or full scale trials.

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