This paper describes how 3DEC can be used to model rock as an assembly of tetrahedral (tet) blocks bonded at their contacts and how this can be used to study veined rock masses at a large scale by introducing tensile strength heterogeneity at the block contacts. The 3DEC approach differs from particle-based methods in its ability to represent a zero initial porosity condition, as well as highly interlocked irregular block shapes that provide resistance to moment after contact breakage and associated high uniaxial compressive strength to tensile strength ratios and friction angles. An approach to constructing these models with 3DEC is outlined and the results of studies on veined rock mass strength and fragmentation associated with mining are described. In general, the results of testing to date suggest that the approach may be well-suited to studying the mining response of massive veined rock masses.

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