The Bureau of Mines has investigated the structural aspects of shafts and support systems using the finite-element technique. In situ field measurements in deep, vein-type metal mines show that rock stresses are often higher in the horizontal direction than the vertical, and unequal in the horizontal plane. These data and laboratory and field-determined physical properties were used as input to analytical studies. Various design and construction parameters were investigated to determine the effect on shaft stability. Rectangular shafts were studied in detail to determine the effects of applied stress ratio, shaft orientation and dimension, influence of interbedded quartzite and argillite, and rock fracturing. Various support systems were analyzed, including concrete lining, timber, and steel sets. Circular configurations were investigated to evaluate yield zones and liner thickness. Elliptical shafts and time effects were briefly evaluated to illustrate shape and time effects and demonstrate the methodology. It is shown that the magnitude, direction, and ratio of applied stress and rock mass anisotropy are keys to determining shaft stability. A realistic conceptual framework was developed with which to examine the rock and support interaction in deep mine shafts. Structural analysis techniques overcome some of the historical difficulties with shaft design by defining the field data requirements and structural sensitivity of various design and construction parameters.