Cost Effective Mine Stabilization

Designing a cost effective mine stabilization program requires significant interaction between the risk manager and the Engineer who should be an expert in mine subsidence engineering. The remediation choice made by the risk manager based on options proposed by the Engineer can mean easily $100,000’s to $1,000,000 reduction in project costs on a typical project.
When evaluating mine stabilization options, the risk manager decisions depend on the comfortability (i.e. reliability) on the Engineer’s qualifications. This is important because the risk manager must rely on the asserted damage potential for the different grout options proposed by the Engineer for the lifespan of the project. Therefore, qualifications of the Engineer, risk acceptability of the risk manager and a good understanding of the damage potential all play a crucial role in determining the best decision for the project.
The process of designing the most cost effective mine stabilization plan involves a number of important steps and is summarized in the workflow chart shown in Table 1. It involves determining which mine areas under the structure are unstable and require stabilization. This typically includes subsurface mine investigation and mine stability analyses. In areas where the stability of the mine is an issue, a cost versus risk (damage) analysis is then performed considering various mine grouting options. The Engineer should provide the risk manager mine stabilization options with the relevant cost-benefit data. For example, a very important aspect of cost-benefit aspect is the amount of subjacent buffer of the mine that should be stabilized around the protected structure. This is quantified by comparing the grouted buffer width around the protected structure to the damage potential and associated costs. This is demonstrated in Figure 1 which illustrates the chance damage spectrum (CDS) and associated cost for a stabilization project.
After discussion with the Engineer, the risk manager then selects the cost-risk option which is most acceptable to them. Then, with the mine stabilization option selected, the Engineer optimizes the mine grouting approach and produces the plans and specifications for the project from their experience on the performance of previous mine grouting projects.
For MEA, our copyrighted plans and specifications have been through over 30 years of mine grouting experience combined with our over 40 years of experience with dispute resolution proceedings. From our experience, with these plans and specifications claims are difficult to obtain even when significant loses occur by the grouting contractor.

FIGURE 1 ILLUSTRATION OF NECESSARY MINE STABILIZATION DATA TO PERFORM A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

 

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