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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Calibration of a mixing model for sublevel caving Salinas, Daniel Villa


Sublevel caving (SLC) is an underground mass mining method where the orebody is divided into a regular network of tunnels. The ore is extracted by level working downwards through the orebody. The caved waste from the overlying rock mass fills the void created by ore extraction generating a dynamic mixing situation between the broken ore and the waste (dilution) from upper levels. The dynamic process of mixing creates a significant challenge in the SLC project to estimate grades reliably. PCSLC is an application developed by Gemcom Software specifically designed for the mine planning of Sub Level Caving projects and operations. It incorporates a rich set of tools to assist with the whole design and planning process including a sophisticated mixing models, it can simulates the material flow observed in caving mines using a technique known as Template Mixing, but due to the complexity that it represents, it is extremely necessary to calibrate its results against real data. The main purpose of this study was to calibrate the mixing model implemented in PCSLC using real data from Newcrest Ridgeway Gold Mine to provide guidelines for SLC project to forecast grade reliably. The methodology used was to collect historical information provided by Ridgeway to reproduce its design and result in PCSLC and then be capable to understand the complexity of gravity flow in SLC. Key information for this purpose was the utilization of the trial marker scale experiments applied at the mine, since it creates the concept of material recovery curve per level. This was fundamental to create a PCSLC model and be able to replicate the tonnage extracted and the grades reported at the mine. One of the main results in this thesis is the understanding of the gravity flow in SLC method and the demonstration of the benefit to use a recovery curve per level as a main driver for mixing modeling. The calibration of the mixing model in PCSLC was successful and the most important part is the guideline created to use in PCSLC to get reliable results in the prediction of grades and dilution for production scheduling purposes.

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Attribution 3.0 Unported