Geotechnical Aspects of Roof and Pillar Stability in a Georgia Talc Mine
Description:This report summarizes a U.S. Bureau of Mines study on the application of geotechnology to identify and minimize ground control hazards in talc mining operations in northwest Georgia. The major ground control hazard is pillar sloughing attributed to the steeply dipping orientation of a pronounced foliation in the talc ore body. The sloughing problem, which gradually reduces the effective support area of a pillar through attrition, can be minimized by appropriate artificial support, as determined by a rock classification system, and by a more uniform pillar design. A boundary element model confirmed the advantages of using a uniform pillar design to avoid excessive loads on portions of irregular pillars. Instrumentation to measure roof convergence and pillar loading was installed at selected locations in an active talc mine but failed to detect any significant changes, suggesting that the gneiss hanging wall constitutes a strong roof that probably can support large spans between pillars and permit high extraction ratios. This interpretation also is supported by a rock classification of the hanging wall gneiss.
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