The DOZ (Deep Ore Zone) mine is the third block cave mine in the Ertsberg district and is operated by PT Freeport Indonesia in the remote highlands of the Papua province in Indonesia. The mine currently produces about 50,000 tpd with a grade of 0.60% copper equivalent using mechanized advanced panel caving. The complex geology and the high rainfall in the area have resulted in significant geotechnical challenges in the design, scheduling and operation of the mine. The experiences in the operation of the previous block caves in the district have been invaluable guides for the successful operation of the DOZ block cave. Development of the DOZ was started in 1997 and undercutting to the east side was commenced in 2000. Production at the DOZ Mine was commenced from Panel 13 at the end of 2000 and slowly ramped up as the panels in the east became active. In the end of 2004, production was started from Panel 12 to the west. Of the 39 panels planned for mining in the DOZ, 22 panels are currently in production with 324 drawpoints, 5 panels have been closed permanently and the rest of the panels are still being developed. During the past five years, the production at the DOZ has slowly been increased from 25000 tpd to the current 50000 tpd and this has been possible through the close coordination between geotechnical engineers, cave managers and operations staff in identifying and jointly addressing the problems observed in the mine.
PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) is mining copper and gold deposits in the province of Papua, Indonesia in one of the world’s most geographically remote and challenging locations as given by Figure 1.