This course is for those who seek to understand why block caving is becoming the mining method of choice for large, disseminated copper deposits at greater depths. This is partly because we are running out of such deposits nearer the surface; partly because it offers economies of scale unachievable with other methods; and also partly because it presents opportunities to maximize metal recovery.
The method has been in use for many years and, though conceptually simple, is perhaps the most technically challenging of all underground methods. The amount of metal recovered is a function of a complex set of inter-relationships between geology, rock properties, stress, cave propagation, fragmentation, layouts, draw strategy, draw compliance and time.
Modern caving operations are scheduled to produce at substantially higher tonnage rates from deeper ore bodies located in more competent ground than has been the case in the past. These are large, capital intensive operations that must be justified by a good understanding of the relationship between the major value drivers: orebody knowledge, design, schedule, and performance. This understanding must in turn be based on quality measurements of orebody data such as geology, grade, rock properties and stress, and key performance data such as cave back propagation, fragmentation size, material movement in the draw column, draw control and drawpoint availability.
This course introduces the student to the concepts and principles of block caving.
The course comprises 11 learning sessions of 30-60 minutes each at the text level, plus multiple-choice reviews and numerous illustrations, figures, video content and a glossary of block caving terminology. Estimated course duration is equivalent to approximately 8 hours of viewing content.