Cave Mining

Caving is applied to increasingly deep, large, strong, and heterogeneous ore bodies. This increases the risk of stranded reserves in overhangs, potential for cave stall and air-blast, infrastructure rehabilitation or loss, and large-scale caving-induced subsidence. Geomechanical analyses are therefore critical to understand and predict:

  • cave growth and shape;
  • primary and secondary fragmentation;
  • extraction level stability;
  • recovery and dilution; and
  • surface subsidence.

Itasca simulates mine caveability and subsidence using the continuum program FLAC3D and the discrete element programs 3DEC and PFC to predict the progressive failure and fragmentation of the rock mass from an intact/jointed to a caved material. Both FLAC3D and 3DEC can utilize Itasca’s CaveHoek and Imass material models, whereas both 3DEC and PFC can utilize bonded or free-flowing blocks/particles.

Coupled with Itasca’s deterministic, physics-based code REBOP or the statistical, cellular automata code CAVESIM, the collapse, bulking, and movement of caved rock can be better incorporated. The coupled method captures many important aspects of caveability affecting cave design, such as hang-up formation, material recovery, timing of surface breakthrough or interaction with other lifts, crater development, and surface subsidence.


Latest News
  • Workshop: The “Big Five”: Numerical Modeling of Cave Mining The objective of this MassMin2020 workshop is to review the “Big Five” geomechanical challenges associated...
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Upcoming Events
1 Dec
WEBINAR: What’s New in 3DEC Version 7
This webinar is for people who have used 3DEC before and are interested in the latest developments.... Read More
4 Dec
Analyses of Embankment Dams and Slopes Using FLAC
This hands-on, virtual training course is 16 hours total, spread over four days in a 1.5-week period, and covers the analysis of embank... Read More
8 Mar
FLAC3D Introductory Training - Minneapolis copy
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