Block Caving - Production and Mass Mining

MDA’s Surface Asset Monitoring block caving service offers timely monitoring of block caving operations to within millimeter-level accuracy using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technology.

Our solution delivers wide area coverage, with millions of points of data collected, routinely exceeding the capabilities of traditional survey methods and providing advanced warning of potential surface deformation risks inherent with block caving.

Block Caving

Underground mass mining methods present several geotechnical challenges and risks inherent with block cave mining environments. Underground mining methods such as block, panel, and sub-level caving continue to be the primary choice for deeply situated massive orebodies, due to the high production rates and low operating costs involved. These methods are generating increasing interest in the mining industry, as mining companies look to exploit large orebodies faster and more economically.

Some of the geotechnical and operational challenges and risks inherent with block caving ​operations include induced stress zones due to large and deep open pits, instability of the slope and of the crown pillar, accurately monitoring wide-area subsidence, and maintaining a high level of operational safety as well as integrity of surface infrastructure.

These challenges can be especially true in the interface between open-pit and underground mass mining applications, when they have to work concurrently for a period of time, as well as when only the caving operation is sustained. Surface subsidence, which occurs above block caving operations and in areas neighboring open pit operations, may affect buildings and other critical infrastructure. The effective monitoring, prediction and management of mining induced ground deformations should be a key concern for all mine operators.

Optimization of Survey Resource Allocation

MDA’s Surface Asset Monitoring provides early warning of ground movement across the full mine site, allowing operators to target valuable site resources (ground-based radar, geotechnical team, survey crews, etc.) ​in a more cost effective manner.

Dense Network of Survey Points

InSAR can provide thousands of points of data per image, resulting in the most extensive coverage available.  

Compatibility with Operational GIS Environments

InSAR outputs from our block caving product allows easy data fusion into existing GIS formats.

Early Detection of Potential Hazards

InSAR ​enables early detection of potential hazards and allows mine operators to monitor the movement of ground deformation in a strategic manner.

Low-Risk Monitoring Technique

InSAR allows the mine operator to monitor the activity from ​a distance with precision survey results, eliminating the need to install survey monuments or send employees into the subsidence zone.

Significantly ​Reduced Monitoring Cost