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Minerals 2017, 7(7), 109; doi:10.3390/min7070109

Discrete Element Modelling of Footwall Rock Mass Damage Induced by Sub-Level Caving at the Kiirunavaara Mine

Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Laboratorievägen, Luleå 97187, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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The Kiirunavaara mine is one of the largest sub-level-caving (SLC) mines in the world and has been in underground operation for more than 50 years. The mine has been the focus of several case studies over the years. The previous works have either focused on the caving of the hanging wall, using the footwall as a passive support, or focused on the footwall using the hanging wall to apply a passive load. In this updated study the findings of the previous case studies are combined to study the interaction between the caving hanging wall, the developing cave rock zone and the footwall. The geological data for the rock types in the mine area are used to derive upper and lower limits for the geomechanical parameters calibrated for numerical models in the previous studies. The calibrated parameters are used as inputs to a numerical model constructed using Itasca’s Particle-flow-code (PFC) encompassing a mine-scale 2D section at the mid portion of the mine. The model captures the failure locations well in the footwall underground and indicates damage development without a coherent large-scale failure. The trend in subsidence data on the hanging wall is adequately simulated but the magnitude of deformation is underestimated. The input strength for the hanging wall was lowered to study the impact of hanging wall strength on footwall damage development. It is shown that when the footwall strength is kept constant, while lowering the hanging wall strength, the extent of damage and magnitude of displacements in the footwall increases. From these observations it is argued that the hanging wall and footwall cannot be studied independently for the Kiirunavaara mine since the cave rock zone significantly affects the damage development in both walls. View Full-Text
Keywords: Kiirunavaara; PFC; case study; mine-scale; rock mass damage; numerical modelling Kiirunavaara; PFC; case study; mine-scale; rock mass damage; numerical modelling

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Svartsjaern, M.; Saiang, D. Discrete Element Modelling of Footwall Rock Mass Damage Induced by Sub-Level Caving at the Kiirunavaara Mine. Minerals 2017, 7, 109.

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