Over the decades, Redpath has undertaken a multitude of tunnelling and underground excavation projects for civil and mining clients both domestically and internationally. These projects have been undertaken through varying strata conditions with differing excavation methods in remote locations and in central business districts.
With the recent turbulent nature of the global financial environment, project drivers have been challenged with the emphasis being placed on methods to gain early access to orebodies, rapid development techniques, lower capital costs and reduced labour requirements to name a few.
A number of mining companies seeking to achieve these objectives have commenced the journey to better understand the operational constraints, challenges and opportunities that may be available with the use of alternative excavation methods.
The development of safe and effective alternative excavation methods that comply with both domestic and international mining legislation and regulatory requirements is a challenge the industry needs to embrace. Given the current cost pressures being faced by the Australian mining industry, some alternative excavation methods offer the potential for longer term sustainability and rapid development of resources.
More recently work has been undertaken on a project that challenged the norm and implemented an alternative excavation method with the use of an excavator with a rotating drum cutter head.
This paper will review this recent project and provide technical and operational insight into some of the challenges faced in implementing an alternative excavation method in the metalliferous industry.
Donnelly, C, Ramage, G and Burke, R, 2014. Challenging the
norm – alternative excavation method in mining, in Proceedings 12th AusIMM
Underground Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 187–190 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).