Raiseboring is an attractive method of constructing shafts, being safe, fast and comparatively cheap. But this means back-reaming through weathered ground. However in the gravels and weathered near-surface rocks typical of the Western Australian goldfields, back reaming large diameter shafts through to the surface is risky and conventional sinking from surface has normally been required.
An alternative construction approach has recently been used to stabilise the weak surficial materials and allow raiseboring through to the surface. The method is based on first installing rings of non-contiguous reinforced bored piles around the shaft perimeter, for temporary support, then back reaming shafts at full diameter through to the surface. Immediately after the reaming head is removed, the weak exposed materials are supported using remotely sprayed fibrecrete.
The method has been successfully applied to four shafts since July 2007; 3 m and 4 m diameter shafts at Trident Mine, a 3 m diameter shaft at Wattle Dam and a 4.5 m diameter shaft at Athena Mine.
Bored pile layout designs have varied from eight to 24 piles, of diameters 120 to 270 mm, in one or two rings. In one case, the top 10 m of the proposed shaft was pregrouted. Subsequent surveys have confirmed that fallout occurred in some shafts, out to the ring of piles, implying that the piles inhibited collapse.
The practical implementation of the method was not always easy and many valuable lessons have been learnt. This paper documents key aspects of the method and the critical elements for its application.
Webber, S, Mikula, P and Lee, M F, 2011. Bored reinforced piles for raise
bore support – four case studies and guidelines developed from lessons
learnt, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’
207- 214 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and