Mining

block caving geomechanics by Edwin Thomas Brown

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By Edwin Thomas Brown

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The top of the molybdenite orebody lies more than 1000 m below the peak of Red Mountain and the lowest excavation is at a depth of 1600 m making Henderson one of the deepest caving operations in the world. The deposit is elliptical in plan with axes of 670 and 910 m. 14, the ore is transported by conveyor from a crusher complex on the 7065 level at an elevation of 2153 m to the mill site 25 km away on the western side of the Continental Divide. This discussion of the Henderson Mine is drawn from the paper by Rech et al (2000).

14: General section, Henderson Mine (after Rech et al 2000) Henderson commenced operation in 1976 as a mechanised panel cave with rail haulage from the 7500 level at an elevation of 2286 m. 15 illustrates the original panel caving method. Approximately 90 million tonnes of ore were produced from the 8100 level (at 2469 m) from 1976 to 1991. In 1992, the 7700 level (at 2347 m) was brought into production and by the year 2000 had produced more than 45 million tonnes of ore. A particular feature of the operation of the Henderson mine is that during its life, the world molybdenum market has experienced several phases of over- and under-supply with the result that the mine’s production rates have had to vary accordingly.

It is a collective term for most types of joints, weak bedding planes, weak 36 Chapter 2: Rock Mass Characterisation schistosity planes, weakness zones and faults. It contrasts with more specific terms such as bedding plane, joint or fault which describe discontinuities formed under particular conditions and mechanisms. Rock mass discontinuities can be classified using a number of criteria. A useful geometric classification used by structural geologists is to describe the discontinuity as a penetrative or non-penetrative structure.

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