Mining Publication: Stability Mapping to Examine Ground Failure Risk: A Field Study at a Limestone Mine
As the surface reserves are being depleted, more and more stone operators are seeking underground mining options. Stability of underground openings is a major concern for the safety and productivity. This paper relates to a field study conducted at a large underground limestone mine in Central Pennsylvania. Identification of hazards leading to ground failures and assessment of roof fall risks are important in mitigating injuries. Field observations at this mine were integrated with Roof Fall Risk Index (RFRI) mapping software recently developed by West Virginia University. The system is designed to combine field study data related to geologic factors, mining-induced damages, roof profile, and ground water influx to generate RFRI maps. The mine has adopted a proactive ground control program consisting of comprehensive examination of drilling and bolting logs; precision surveying of roof and rib; accurate mapping of cutters, falls, and geologic structures; and installation of extensometers and microseismic monitoring systems. Investment of time and resources has eliminated fatalities and lost-time injuries due to ground fall. This paper presents the geologic settings, mining conditions, ground control issues along with risk management and control techniques adopted at the study mine.