Introduction to Block Caving

Introduction to Block Caving

Areas of Study: Mining

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This course provides a general introduction to the block cave mining method, covering advantages and disadvantages, basic elements of block caving, design issues, operational issues, safety issues, and economic issues. *** This is a premium course which has been peer-reviewed by a committee appointed by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).


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Course Summary


This course is for anyone concerned with block caving operations.

It provides a general introduction to a mining method that is becoming increasing popular as we are forced to mine more and more massive, low-grade deposits. The course covers advantages and disadvantages, basic elements of block caving, design issues, the undercut level, the extraction level, haulage and ventilation, safety issues, and economic issues.

Block caving is of growing interest to companies engaged in the exploitation of massive low grade ore deposits, because of its low cost and higher degree of mechanization for improved safety and greater production rates.

Course Content

The course comprises 13 learning sessions, each of 15 - 30 minutes duration and supported by numerous figures, examples and video clips, plus seven interactive reviews that confirm the viewer's achievement of learning objectives. The total duration of the course is approximately five hours.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and basic elements of block cave mining.
  • Discuss the design issues, operational issues, safety issues, and economic issues of block cave mining.

Recommended Background

  • High school science.
  • Basic knowledge of the mining process.

Srikant Annavarapu

Srikant Annavarapu is currently a Principal Mining Engineer at AMEC and President, Master Geotech Services LLC. He has a B.Tech. in Mining Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India and a Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is a Professional Geological Engineer in the State of Arizona and is a Registered Member of the SME. With nearly 30 years of geotechnical experience within the mining industry, both underground and surface, he has designed surface and underground mining systems at multiple mining locations throughout the world, including block cave mines in Indonesia; sub-level stoping mines in Central America and Nevada; drift-and-fill gold mines in the USA; and blasthole, room-and-pillar, and cut-and-fill mines in India. Dr. Annavarapu has provided ground support and excavation designs for a variety of underground stoping systems and openings in numerous locations within varied geologic settings, and is currently involved in several mine design projects around the world.