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In many mining regions, the properties of rock masses are either unknown or the available data are very patchy, which makes it challenging for engineers and modellers to accurately predict rock-mass behaviour using numerical methods. Our modelling technologies are helping miners overcomes these challenges.

The challenge

Modelling unseen complexities

Safety, environmental impact and economics are essential components of mine viability.

To address these three components, the response of the rock mass to mining needs to be understood during both mine design and operation.

Poor knowledge of rock-mass behaviour and inaccurate prediction of rock-mass response to mine operations may result in mine accidents, injuries or fatalities, mine stoppages and significant economic losses.

However, predicting rock-mass behaviour is very difficult because:

  • rock masses are generally heterogeneous, anisotropic and may be faulted, meaning their response to mining is complex
  • little information is available about the rock-mass properties at most mine sites, and
  • modelling mine-scale problems in 3D is daunting due to the enormous size of many mines

Our response

A combination of field monitoring and advanced modelling

To predict the complex behaviour of rock masses in 3D, we have developed a wide range of unique modelling approaches and technologies, using our extensive knowledge of rock-mass rheology and its practical use in numerical models.

The solutions we’ve developed include technologies and modelling tools across the following areas:

  • prediction of  pit-slope stability, OB dump stability, underground-mine stability, mine-water ingress, impact of mining on groundwater and surface-water systems, mine-gas emission and more
  • methods to incorporate naturally occurring fractures both implicitly and explicitly in the rock mass model
  • dedicated numerical modelling software (e.g. COSFLOW) to model the behaviour of coal measure rocks reliably, accurately and efficiently
  • enhancing the capabilities of advanced modelling codes such as MOOSE (https://www.mooseframework.org/) by developing modules essential for mining applications
  • better calibration of mine-scale numerical models using an integrated approach of field monitoring and rock-mass modelling, and
  • using parallel computing to model large mine/regional-scale 3D problems using 3D numerical models, as opposed to simplified 2D numerical models.

The results

Improving the accuracy of difficult predictions

 We've dedicated decades of research to make accurate predictions of rock-mass response to mining in different geological environments.

We aim to provide practical solutions to some of the industry’s biggest issues.

Our technologies and expertise is helping mine operators predict subsidence, rock-mass fracturing, mine stability, hydrogeological impact of mining in Australia and around the globe.

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