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Rockburst: Understanding and Control – Past, Present and Future


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Author Ortlepp W D and Hagan T O


The problem of rockbursts presents a serious threat to many deep, hard-rock mines. For several decades, the owners and managers of affected mines have been concious of the urgent need to control rockbursts but, to a large extent, their efforts have been hampered by a lack of fundamental knowledge. This paper will attempt to outline the extent and depth of present understanding of the phenomenon and to show how better control may be achieved in the future. It is suggested that it is helpful to distinguish two aspects of the problem: that pertaining to the mechanism of the seismic event and that associated with the mechanism of damage. Understanding damage mechanism will enable development of better support techniques while proper understanding of the source mechanism could lead to better mine planning and improved stoping layouts. In this regard, the practice of partial extraction with systematic strike stabilising pillars is discussed in some detail.