The Mt Wright underground mine (MTW) is located near the town of Ravenswood in north Queensland and is operated by Carpentaria Gold – a wholly owned subsidiary of Resolute Mining Limited.
The Mt Wright mine has gone through many stages, from the conception and implementation of the world first ‘sub-level shrinkage’ stoping (SLS) with continuous fill mining method in 2010, through to steady state production. These have been outlined in detail in papers presented by Mackay (2011) and Mackay, Long and Koen (2014) at previous Underground Operators Conferences.
Since the last paper was presented, MTW has experienced significant change in two key areas.
The first significant change was the discovery of a previously unknown hazard in the form of flat rilling events (FREs) from closed drawpoints (DPs). These events are believed to be unique to MTW and pose a significant risk to both the safety of personnel and the business as a whole. The paper will discuss this hazard and the evolution of the controls and practices that have been introduced to mitigate the risk posed by the identified hazards. The material involved in these events is extremely dry, fine and hot.
The second significant change is an altered stress regime bought on in part by a change in the production front orientation and a general deterioration in ground conditions in some areas of the mine. This has caused some production interruptions at MTW. The second half of the paper will describe the challenges encountered, the mechanisms behind these challenges and the strategies implemented to safely return MTW production to planned levels.
It is believed that other operations can learn from the issues mentioned above, and the paper has been written with this in mind.`
Long, S, Carnovale, D and Louwrens, L, 2017. Mt Wright – managing unique risks, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2017, pp 295–304 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).