Mining Publication: Simplified Pre- and Post-Processing Technique for Performing Finite-Element Analyses of Deep Underground Mines
Two of the major ground control safety issues confronting underground mine operations today are shaft pillar stability and the failure o rock around active mine openings. Failure of a mine shaft can lead to the entrapment of workers. Failure of rock around active underground mine openings can lead to roof falls, which in turn can result in worker injuries and fatalities. Finite-element analysis has proven to be a reliable method for predicting stresses and displacements around underground mine openings. However, this is a complex and time-consuming technique and is not used as often as it could be in mine planning. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate one technique developed at the Spokane Research Center that allows the user to create a finite-element model of a two-dimensional section of an underground mine in a relatively straightforward manner. This model is then used to calculate stresses, displacements, and safety factors around mine openings. With this information, mine planners can evaluate the stability of mine openings as well as the stability of pillars and mine shafts. This, in turn, should minimize the occurrence of shaft failure, roof falls, and other hazards associated with underground mining.