Rock mass classification is widely used throughout the underground mining industry - in both coal and hardrock mines. It is used in all stages of the mining process, from site characterization to production operations. The goal of the International Workshop on Rock Mass Classification in Underground Mining was to provide a forum for leading practitioners of rock mass classification to come together and share their methods and experiences with the technique. The workshop was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on May 31, 2007. It was co-chaired by Christopher Mark, Ph.D., P.E., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh, PA, and Rimas Pakalnis, P.Eng., University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. The proceedings of the workshop contain 16 invited papers from 9 countries, reflecting the international depth and breadth of current practice. Applications in both hard-rock and coal mining are well represented. Some of the topics that were addressed at the workshop include: 1. Major rock mass classification systems used in mining and their variants; 2. Collection of input data through observation, rock testing, and geophysics; 3. Design of mine layouts and rock support systems using classification; 4. Estimation of rock mass strength and other input parameters for numerical models from classification; 5. Applications in weak rock, raise boring, cavability assessment, and other special topics; and, 6. Risk assessment using rock mass classification.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236