Title: Selection of the most appropriate underground mining method for Sareke copper mine

Authors: Sammy O. Ombiro

Addresses: Department of Mining, Materials and Petroleum Engineering, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P.O. Box 62000-00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract: One of the major challenges facing an underground mine planner is selection of the most appropriate mining method to extract the ore. Sareke Copper ore being flat and tabular favours the application of room-and-pillar and/or stope-and-pillar mining methods. Though these mining methods may be preferred for extracting this ore, a further analysis indicated that geotechnical properties of the hosting rock may not support the suggested excavation sizes. This paper, therefore, investigated the suitability of the above mining methods for extracting this ore. The research found out that due to geotechnical nature of the hosting rock, the pillars would be too big to be economical. It was found out that the suggested excavation size could not stand up on its own without major support. Hence, other mining methods, though expensive when compared with the above two mentioned mining methods, may be more appropriate for extracting the ore.

Keywords: extraction ratio; room and pillar mining; RMR; rock mass rating; Q; cut and fill mining; underground mining; mining methods; copper mines; mine planning; mining method selection; Kenya; mining industry; ore extraction; geotechnical properties.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMME.2016.10000782

International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering, 2016 Vol.7 No.4, pp.281 - 293

Received: 24 Oct 2015
Accepted: 08 Jun 2016

Published online: 21 Oct 2016 *

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