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Methodology for evaluation of mud rush risk in block caving mining

By Javier Vallejos Massa, K. Basaure, S. Palma and R. L. Castro


Mud rushes are sudden inflows of fine wet ore within underground mines; they can harm people and equipment as well as cause production delays. Block and panel caving mines are prone to mud rushes in their production levels, with mud flowing from the drawpoints. Different mines have developed methods to control drawpoint conditions and thus perform safe ore extraction. The aim of this study is to develop a decision matrix and apply it to samples from drawpoints for the Diablo Regimiento mine, Codelco, El Teniente Division (Chile). The Abrams's Cone was used to perform slump tests on mud samples and characterize their consistency by setting the saturation degree and packing. The unconfined strength for different saturation degrees and packing was then evaluated. The results show that conditions for fluid response in slump tests correspond to conditions for low strength in unconfined compression tests. We also found the water content value at which the flowing consistency changes from plastic to soft behaviour according to the slump test classification for each sample. This value varied between 12.2% and 16.9%, depending on the sample tested. Finally, a fluid security factor was defined in order to design an extraction pattern for the samples tested, based on the water content. We conclude that a very densely packed ore is not prone to flowing. The flow properties depend strongly on the specific properties of the ore tested, and consequently a specific criterion should be developed for different types of ore at a particular mine. The criterion developed for Diablo Regimiento ore provides critical water content values from 11% to 15%, depending on the ore type.Department of Mining Engineering of the University of Chile / Advanced Mining Technology Center of the University of Chile / Codelco, Chil

Topics: Mud rush, Block caving, Risk evaluation
Publisher: 'Academy of Science of South Africa'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.17159/2411-9717/2017/v117n5a11
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