Cut and Fill Mining
Cut and Fill mining is a favored choice for steeply dipping and sometimes irregular ore bodies and preferred by mines that require the capability of selective mining and adaptability to variations in the rock mass. Cut and Fill mining is generally referred to as a small-scale mining method. Mining is carried out in horizontal slices along the ore body, where the bottom slice is mined first. The excavated area is then backfilled and production continues upwards. Each production level is accomplished by drifting until the entire slice has been mined. The slice is then backfilled and the fill becomes the working platform from which the next level is mined.
Backslashing is done for providing access to the upper slices within the stope. When a stope is completed, a new access drift from the ramp is created to continue the production within the upper stope. One of the advantages of Cut and Fill mining is the possibility to reuse waste for backfill material, such as tailings sand from the processing plant, or waste rock from development. To mine the ore in one of the slices, we first need to drill blast holes. The next steps are charging and blasting the ore and then ventilate the toxic blast fumes. The ore is then mucked out and dumped into an orepass or onto a truck. Before continuing with the next round, the rocks need to be reinforced. How this is done is decided by the mine for each individual situation. The mining continues until the entire slice of the ore has been mined. Since the mining can be tailored to suit the shape of the orebody, it is possible to minimize dilution of waste rock.
To get access to more production points, a second entrance can be opened at another level in the ore body and excavated in parallel. The equipment used for mining the ore is usually the same as what is used for development. As the ore body is mined, the rock stresses increase in the pillar above the mine area. Cut and Fill mining is regarded as a low productivity mining method but the advantage is high selectivity with good ore recovery and low dilution.
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