Dr Gideon Chitombo recently appointed as Professor and Chair of Minerals Industry Engagement is the Technical Director of the Mass Mining Technology (MMT) project. The MMT project followed the International Caving Study (ICS) formed in conjunction with the industry including acknowledged mining experts Dr Dennis Laubscher and Dr Alan Guest (former De Beers) with Itasca USA as a major research partner. The two projects have been focusing on critical reviews of conventional caving design approaches, collation of common caving practice, and more importantly the understanding of the caving fundamentals which are caving mechanics, gravity flow, fragmentation as well as confined blasting as applied to sublevel caving.
Dr Chitombo was also instrumental in the formation of the Hybrid Stress Blasting Model (HSBM) designed to develop a numerical model of the blasting process which combines a detonation code to a geomechanical code based on the Itasca PFC3D code.
His current and long-term interest is on future mass mining methods which are likely to include large cave mines (Supercaves), ultra-deep pits and well as in-place mineral recoveries. His other interest continues to be on fundamentals of rock breakage and damage.