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How Concrete and Bulk Earthworks are Used in the Mining Industry

Creating deep and extensive mines requires certain logistical considerations. Some of the most important are safety, mineshaft stability, and removal and storage of waste material. Many of these issues can be solved with mine concrete and bulk earthworks. But what are they and how do they help?

Mine Concrete

Concrete is often used in mines for shaft stability to prevent collapse. It not only helps prevent rock movement, but also absorbs shock from blasts elsewhere in the mine. In recent decades, mine concrete has become a fast and efficient method of securing shafts.

Mine concrete is usually sprayed onto the walls of the shaft, and to meet this demand it has a different recipe to standard construction concrete. It usually has a lower cement-to-water ratio to improve early strength and drying times. Mine concrete also has high ductility, meaning it remains plastic even under high stress.

The concrete can also be reinforced with fibers to improve its strength. In many instances, steel fibers are used to provide reinforcement and further improve ductility. This is similar to how steel rods are used to reinforce construction concrete.

Mine concrete can either serve a permanent or semi-permanent purpose. This will depend on the length of time the mine will be open, or any future plans for permanent reinforcement. It’s important to work this out before deciding on the concrete’s composition, as they require different compositions of the core ingredients.

Bulk Earthworks

Bulk earthworks essentially serve two purposes in the mining industry. The first is as a place to collect waste materials from the mining process, and the second is to reuse this waste material for construction of secondary mining facilities. For example, bulk earthworks from material extraction are often used for:

  • Road construction

  • Building dams

  • Railways

  • Trenches and canals

The overall aim is to reuse as much waste material as possible in order to reduce the expense of its removal. Conversely, it also saves on the expense of shipping in extra earth to build these necessary mining features. Striking the right balance between extraction and construction is often a challenge when building a mine, but it’s an important factor to get right.

For the process to be as efficient as possible, bulk earthworks are classified either by the material being used for by the purpose of construction. It’s important for both to be accurate in order to maintain safety in the structure. For example, constructions under higher stress, such as railways and dams, require a different composition of materials than something like a pathway or road.

Mine Concrete and Bulk Earthworks with SCRIBANTE

SCRIBANTE understands the key safety concerns relating to mine concrete and bulk earthworks. Both are necessary for addressing safety and logistical concerns in mine construction.

We help our clients to build safe and efficient mines using the latest industry developments in mine concrete and bulk earthworks. If you’re setting up a new mine in South Africa, or want to know more about safety and logistics, contact SCRIBANTE for more information.


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