Evaluation of the rock support system subjected to dynamic loads in Kiirunavaara


LKAB’s underground mine in Kiirunavaara has experienced an increasing seismic activity the last ten years. This seismic activity is caused by the stress redistribution resulting from the mining method of large-scale sublevel caving. The energy from the seismic events propagate in the rock mass as seismic waves. If one of these waves interacts with an excavation, it will be subjected to dynamic loads, and damage can potentially occur. Damage can be caused by different mechanisms depending on many factors such as pre-existing structures in the rock mass and the state of stress. To prevent these damages, LKAB has installed a rock support system for handling dynamic loads. This thesis has analysed available damage mapping reports, investigations, pictures, seismic data and history, in order to evaluate the function of the support system when subjected to dynamic loads. The conclusion of the analysis is that the support system is well designed, but there are areas of improvement. The main damage mechanisms are bulking without ejection and rockfall due to seismic shaking. Bulking with ejection and ejection due to seismic energy transfer were concluded to not yet be a problem in the Kiirunavaara mine. This result implies that an improved stiffness, static strength and yieldability are to be considered in order to decrease the amount of bulking. For rockfall due to seismic shaking, there are two main areas of improvement. The structural mapping has to be given higher priority, and it should provide direct support recommendations if needed. The second part is to increase the static strength of the system in order to survive rockfall due to seismic shaking. Since bulking with ejection and ejection due to seismic energy transfer are not yet considered significant problems, there is no need to improve the support system with respect to absorption of kinetic energy. The location of the damages in the drift profiles were also analysed, and it was concluded that a majority of the damages that occurred in the footwall drifts were located in the corner of the abutment facing the orebody. In the crosscuts, a majority of the damages occurred in the abutment and roof. Based on this, it is suggested that the support should be improved in the abutment and roof of the crosscuts, and in the abutment facing the ore of the footwall drifts

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