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Stope Design Considerations Using Rock Mass Classification Tools At The Xstrata Zinc George Fisher Mine; Proceedings Of The International Workshop On Rock Mass Classification In Underground Mining
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    The development and use of rock mass classification tools have been a key component for improving stope design over the past 4 years at the Xstrata Zinc George Fisher Mine in northern Queensland, Australia. In 2003, stope extraction data from 3 years of open-stope mining provided an excellent situation to review the assumptions in the feasibility study. Extracted stope profile information, drillhole geotechnical data, underground observations, and oral and written communication were used to develop a thorough stope reconciliation performance database. With-out collecting the back analysis data and presenting the data in a usable format, engineers are left to debate opinion instead of engineered judgment. This can lead to biased and uninformed design parameter choices with the potential to repeat poor design. This paper demonstrates some effective, practical examples of empirical data collection where rock mass classifications tools were developed and used to create improved confidence in predicting stope stability and failure profiles. The work contributed to design changes that resulted in a reduction in stope hangingwall dilution and an increase in head grade while continuing to ramp up production from 2003-2005.
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