Mining Publication: In Situ Stress Measurements at the Stillwater Mine, Nye, Montana
The magnitudes and directions of in situ stresses affect the stability of mine openings, as well as the type and amount of ground support needed to maintain a safe working environment for miners. Using hollow inclusion stress cells, researchers from the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health obtained two in situ stress measurements from the face of two footwall lateral drifts at the Stillwater Mine near Nye, MT. The first measurement, obtained in 1997, was collected under the valley beneath the Stillwater River. The second measurement was obtained in 2002 under the main frontal massif of the Beartooth Mountains in the western sector of the mine. Although few data are available, the major principal stress under the valley has been recorded as nearly horizontal in a north-south direction perpendicular to the ore body, while beneath the mountains, stress runs east-west parallel to the ore body. This paper documents the measurements, describes the in situ stress state, and discusses a finite-difference analysis of the biaxial test.