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What Have we Learnt About Managing Rock Burst Risks?


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Author Y Potvin


Underground mines in Australia are progressively operating at greater depth, sometimes in conditions where mine induced stresses are very high. In such conditions, the seismic activity often becomes intense and violent and in response, mines must develop and implement a sound rock burst risk management strategy to continue operating safely.

This paper discusses the latest techniques successfully used in Australian mines to mitigate the risk of rock bursts. In particular, the paper describes how the analysis of data collected from seismic monitoring systems can provide an understanding of the seismicity and be used for quantifying seismic hazards in the mine. Once an adequate understanding and assessment of seismic hazard has been achieved, the associated risk can be mitigated using different layers of protection.

Strategically, modifying the mining method, the extraction
sequence and/or the mining layout can alleviate the seismic hazard, but these
solutions generally cannot be implemented rapidly. In the short-term, seismic
risk can be mitigated tactically using an energy absorbing support system or to
remove personnel from being exposed to rock burst damage by implementing
exclusion zones.

Potvin, Y, 2011.
What have we learnt about managing rock burst risks? in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’

pp 227-232 (The Australasian Institute of
Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).