Stability of a rock mass using the key block theory: a case study
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In underground mines, excavating disturb the initial equilibrium state of the rock mass, and therefore require selection of a support in order to control the movement of rocks, avoid landslide and work safely. Thus, the progress of mining operations in the ST2 mineralization, in the eastern zone of the Bouazzer mine, is disrupted because of stability problems. On the basis of field observations and analyzes of core drill, the geological and structural study, carried out in this area, has shown
... is area, has shown the existence of three types of facies: altered and cracked diorite, cobaltiferous mineralization which is in contact with serpentinites. In fact, the empirical methods such as Barton, Bieniawski and the recommendations of the AFTES have qualified the rock mass as poor, furthermore they proposed as kind of supports: steel arches, shotcrete and rock-bolts. Numerical simulation by the finite element method proved to be very complex due to existence of several types of discontinuities (faults, shistosities and joints).These discontinuities are natural fractures that delimit various shapes and sizes of wedges, which can become detached from the roof or siding of the excavation and collapse under their own weight. Although the empirical methods cited above provide supports for each facies, however, this support is expensive and difficult to implement in practice because it must cover the entire surface of the excavation and thus not allowing to detect stable blocks that do not require a support. For this it was essential to carry out an analysis of wedges to better locate unstable blocks. The treatment of fracturing data has highlighted the presence of five sets of discontinuities of which three sets are principals and the other two are minor joints. Then, while taking into account the geometrical, mechanical data of the discontinuities as well as the geometrical data of the excavation, we were able to detect the shape and the size of the unstable blocks and the sets of discontinuities delimiting them and which favor their sliding and tilting. Thus, we calculated the number of anchor bolts needed to stabilize these blocks in order to ensure an acceptable safety factor. This study shows clearly how a wedge analysis of the rock mass can guide and optimize the support work.