ABSTRACT: A stope and gully support rationale is being developed for application in tabular stopes in South African mines. At present there exists no design rationale for optimum support. Present support systems differ widely in both type and unit spacings, even under similar mining conditions, and different support systems may be used in adjacent stopes, both with apparently similar success. Some of these support systems provide no or little back area support, while others provide substantial support resistance. Many of the systems have evolved empirically as a result of trial and error, with little attempt to quantify their effectiveness or contrast the effectiveness of different support systems. This highlights the need for establishing a sound engineering design rationale for support systems for given mining conditions in terms of maximizing safety and if possible, reduced cost.

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