UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Linking the fracture intensity of an in situ rock mass to block cave mine fragmentation Munkhchuluun, Munkhtsolmon


Prediction of cave fragmentation has been one of the biggest concerns for caving operation, since the inadequate assessment can potentially result in loss of project value and safety. The spatial variability of the natural fracture network holds significant implications with respect to block cave mine fragmentation. In this thesis, an in situ fragmentation model is generated, based on Discrete Fracture Network (DFN) models. The volumetric fracture intensity value (P₃₂), derived from the DFN model, is used as an indicator of the rock mass’ structural character, and it provides a direct link to rock mass fragmentation. Major structures were included in the model in a deterministic manner, and the spatial variability of the fracture intensity was analyzed to derive a geostatistical model of rock mass fragmentation. The fragmentation ‘block model’ was then superimposed onto a PCBC draw schedule model, in an attempt to link fragmentation and height of draw. Poor data can potentially compromise DFN analysis, and may result in flawed validation and understanding. At the same time, it is important to define clear and objective methodologies, when analyzing field data, and when deriving input for DFN models. Piecewise Linear Interpolation and recreation of the conceptual DFN model are both used to study the influence of fracture intensity interval length and role of human uncertainty, on the final DFN-derived 3D spatial model. The results show that interval lengths are related to a resolution that can be effectively used in large-scale 3D continuum models, to represent the Representative Elementary Volume (REV) for the rock mass. A digital image processing technique is applied in order to assess caved ore fragmentation. Validation of this method has been gained from the study of lab experiments. Furthermore, a conversion factor for relating 1D image-based measurement to 3D objects is calculated, since the DFN-based in situ fragmentation model yields volumetric size distribution, whereas image processing techniques yield equivalent spherical diameters. Finally, by using the above-mentioned input data analyses, this thesis investigates the possible links between natural fragmentation, secondary fragmentation, height of draw, and observed over-sized material and hang-up.

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