28th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining, Morgantown, West Virginia, July 28–30, 2009
Authors: D. Conover and T. Ross (AAI) and S. Britton (Baja Mining Corp.)
The El Boleo Copper Project is currently in the final design stages for development of a 3-MM-tonne/yr underground copper mine located in Baja California, Mexico. The nearly horizontal mineralized zones are amenable to exploitation by conventional mechanized coal mining technology using continuous miners, shuttle cars, and belt haulage. The mine design resembles a typical full-extraction coal mining operation utilizing a sequence of mains, sub-mains and production panels. Due to numerous faults, mining will be conducted as several small adjacent mines accessed through adits from large arroyos cutting through the mine area. Up to four seams may be mined in some areas with a maximum overburden depth of about 250 m. The ore zone is relatively weak and plastic, subject to extensive creep over time. The mine workings will pass through areas of historical shortwall mining panels where the ground has flowed into old entries and gob areas, and then reconsolidated. A small test mine was developed to evaluate mechanical cutting performance, roof-bolt anchorage capacities, roof and pillar stability and caving behavior. In-mine measurements were combined with two- and three-dimensional FLAC models to evaluate alternative development and production pillar designs. The paper will discuss the various factors influencing ground stability at the El Boleo project and the strategies employed in developing a suitable ground control design.
Downloadable PDF: Ground Control Design Challenges at the El Boleo Copper Project