Application Of Physical Modelling And Particle Flow Analysis To Evaluate Ore-Pass Design
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Application Of Physical Modelling And Particle Flow Analysis To Evaluate Ore-Pass Design

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    Synopsis U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) accidents statistics have identified ore-pass hazards as a significant safety problem in U.S. underground metal mines. The statistics show that nearly 75% of injuries are directly or indirectly related to pulling or freeing of ore-pass chutes, the use of hand tools in ore passes, fails of broken rock in ore passes and structural failures of chutes or gates and ore-pass walls. Researchers at the Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are investigating hazards in and around ore passes in hard rock mines. Risk assessment methods, such as fault-tree analysis, have been employed to identify the most probable causes of orepass failures, define research priorities and analyze the factors that result in malfunctioning and unsafe ore passes. Static and dynamic loads are being measured in a laboratory setting with the use of a reduced-scale orepass mock-up. Field tests are being initiated in mine ore passes to determine static and dynamic loads. Data from the test ore passes are being compared with data from the mine to characterize true system behavior. Computer modelling with the use of closed-form solutions, finite-element analyses and a newly developed particle flow code predicts static and dynamic leads from the flow and the impact of ore and waste in the ore pass. Preliminary results indicate that dynamic impacts from ore and waste rock might be considerably greater than expected. The total static load is substantially less than is typically used fur the structural design of chute and gate support members. It is suggested that damping factors, normal and shear stiffness and mass frictional characteristics have a significant effect on particle flow and resulting impact loads. This is being verified with the use of results from laboratory tests, field tests and particle flow analyses. Ore passes are vertical or steeply inclined openings in a rock mass through which ore and waste are transported and where they mar also be stored. A typical underground mining system is shown in Fig. 1. The arrows indicate the locations of ore passes and loading pockets and their relative configurations. The control of material flow is potentially one of the most hazardous operations in underground mining. According to MSHA data. most of the ore pass-related accidents in the U.S.A. are associated with the loading-unloading cycle and removal of blockages from ore passes. In particular, attempts to free ore hang-ups have resulted in multiple fatalities. The hazards are obvious; there is uncertainty as to when the ore will break loose and miners are unable to escape falling rock to a safe location. Although ore passes and chutes and gate systems for underground metal and non-metal mines roust meet the requirements specified in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Parts 57 and 75, recent structural failures of ore-pass linings and gates have underlined the lack of adequate ore-pass design standards available to both MSHA enforcement staff and mine engineers. Because of the importance of an ore pass to the safe operation of a mine design criteria need to be assessed and new guidelines developed. Researchers at the Spokane Research Laboratory of the Nationals Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are investigating hazards in and around ore passes in hard rock mines and studying design criteria for ore passes. The near-term goal is to conduct laboratory and field experiments and computer modelling to evaluate the ore-pass design criteria currently used. Literature searches, field site
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