Sublevel caving: Engineered to Perform

Source: Mining Magazine, September 2013

Sub-level caving is a highly efficient, top-down, underground bulk mining method. Recent developments in sub-level cave mining have advanced the understanding of the technique and its production performance, which allow it to now be considered as a highly viable alternative to open stoping and, in some cases, even to block caving. In addition to a low unit cost, sub-level caving offers the following advantages over open stoping and block caving:

  • Less up-front capital expenditure;
  • Earlier access to the ore means revenue is generated early in the project;
  • It can target bulk ore bodies more precisely;
  • It is more flexible to adapt to metal value, production and scheduling requirements; and
  • It presents opportunities for improvements in local geotechnical conditions

Historically, mining companies have been deterred from using sub-level caving because it involved significant uncertainties around cave propagation and ore flow.

Read the rest of the article published in the September 2013 edition of the Mining Magazine.

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