Mufulira mine has been in operation since 1933. The mine is situated in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, which is predominantly rich in copper and cobalt mineralization. Since the beginning of 1970s, the mine has been recording incidents of rockbursts and applying various efforts to find mitigation measures for rockbursts. Recently, an M2.8 rockburst occurred in the mining drive at 1440 meter level underground on 16 January, 2018. In order to understand the mechanism of the rockburst, three major steps were taken. These were field geotechnical investigation, followed by uniaxial compression tests, and finally stress analysis. Under field investigations, scan-line mapping of joints indicated few major joint sets in the surrounding rock mass to the rockburst location. Stress analysis showed very high stresses in the chain pillars and low stress concentration at the rockburst site during initial stages of mining. But later, stress levels gradually increased with mining. It was therefore concluded that fracturing of the relatively intact rock mass around the mining drive under gradual stress increase by mining could be the cause of the rockburst.
Investigation of Rockburst in Deep Underground Mines, a Case Study of Mufulira Mine, Copperbelt, Zambia
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Sinkala, P., Nishihara, M., Fujii, Y., Fukuda, D., Kodama, J., and E. Chanda. "Investigation of Rockburst in Deep Underground Mines, a Case Study of Mufulira Mine, Copperbelt, Zambia." Paper presented at the 53rd U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, New York City, New York, June 2019.
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