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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

A successful method of reclaiming subsidence in abandoned mining areas Tribe, Norm L.; Tribe, L. John


Old mine openings present hazards to the public and liabilities to the property owners. Many makeshift attempts have been devised to solve the problems of old mine openings and mine subsidence, but few have been successful. This document will describe a method of plugging mine shafts, ventilation raises and mine cave subsidence which has been designed, tested and found to be successful, meets environmental requirements and has not failed in over 150 reclamation sites. Engineering design parameters were first applied by the writers to the plugging of mine openings in 1992. The design was inspired by the expandable thermos bottle cork which expands into the fragile throat of the vacuum bottle and seals it off. The concept was adapted to the mine openings with old mine tires as the cork. The compound polymer-steel toroid structural unit (loader tire) is designed to compensate for poor anchor points, loose rock, a tensional component in the stresses and when compressed and allowed to expand into the cavity, applies considerable pressure on the sides of the cavity, stabilizing the opening. This is a dynamic structural design component, capable of moving with the rock as the strain is taken up and the latent stresses in the rock are relieved. Once the opening is stabilized using the toroid plug, a three step, matte, mesh and cloth geotechnical solution can be applied and finished with backfill, topsoil and seeding to complete the reclamation.

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