Sub-Level Stoping in an Underground Limestone Quarry: An Analysis of the State of Stress in an Evolutionary Scenario

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the state of stress of a „voids-pillar“ structure excavated by means of the sub-level stoping method in an underground limestone quarry near Bergamo (Italy). Both the current structure of the quarry (i.e. the rooms exploited till now) and a possible future scenario were analysed using the (FDM) FLAC 2D code. The quarry has been in operation since 1927; at present, exploitation is carried out underground via the sub-level stoping method. Exploitation involves two levels, with 5 rooms on the upper level and 9 rooms on the lower level.

After analysing data obtained from laboratory and in situ tests carried out on rock samples and natural discontinuities, the geomechanical properties of the medium, knowledge of which is essential in order to establish the parameters that must be included in the numerical model, were evaluated.

The implementation of three numerical models made it possible to study both the present conditions of quarry exploitation and the evolution of the exploited rooms, as well as a possible expansion involving a third level of rooms. Using the results obtained regarding the stress-strain present in the pillars, a potential change in room geometry was proposed aimed at reducing the stress state inside the pillars, decreasing plasticity and increasing overall quarry safety.

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The Journal of Committee of Mining of Polish Academy of Sciences

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