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Understanding the Role of Production Drilling and Drilled Stocks in Efficient Operation of a Sublevel Cave Mine


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Author C Beal


Proper understanding and management of production drilling in sublevel cave (SLC) mines is essential for meeting production targets and for avoiding inefficiencies that could lead to costly bottlenecks. In many SLC mine management models drilling is considered a derivative activity of firing and bogging. Its scheduling is considered to be implied in a firing schedule and given an arbitrary target completion, ‘several weeks’ or ‘a month’, ahead of production firing. Like development, drilling activities are most efficient when conducted separately from other production activities. Unlike development, however, it is not apparent during planning and feasibility how far in advance of firing drilling activities ought to be conducted. This paper presents a method of defining a minimum threshold of drilled stocks above which drilling, firing and bogging operations occur most efficiently. As an example, the drilling activities, procedures, and maintenance at Glencore Xstrata’s Ernest Henry Mine are presented, and the larger scale consequences of improvements to these areas are presented to illustrate their importance in the operation of an SLC mine.


Beal, C, 2014. Understanding the role of production drilling
and drilled stocks in efficient operation of a sublevel cave mine, in
Proceedings 12th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2014 , pp 235–242 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).