Mining Publication: Empirical Design of Span Openings in Weak Rock based upon Support Type Employed
Existing empirical design tools have been developed from fair-to-good quality rock masses (RMR76 >50). This paper presents a focus of ground control research presently being conducted by the Rock Mechanics Group in the DBC Mining Department in incorporating weak rock masses (RMR76 <50) into existing empirical design relationships. An emphasis is being placed upon the updated span design curve/critical span graph originally developed at UBC. The original database has been augmented with over 450 weak rock data points from mines such as the Stillwater mine (Montana), the Eskay Creek Mine (BC) and several mines in the Carlin Trend and other parts of Nevada. The original database is comprised of spans supported with "traditional" mechanical bolting. In weak rock environments however, this type of support has been found for the most part, ineffective. This paper presents the span and weak rock RMR76 relationship for four different support categories. This work attempts to provide rock mechanic tools that will enable a mine operator to make economic decisions that will also ensure a safe working environment.