Panel caving is an underground bulk mining method that uses gravitational force to mine massive, steeply dipping and deep-seated ore deposits at lower operating cost. To control dust and gas emissions entering the production level during the extraction of ore from the draw points in a panel cave, relatively negative pressure is created in the cave by installing an exhaust fan in the exhaust drift located on top of the cave. As caving is a dynamic process, designing an effective ventilation system is challenging; therefore, estimating the airflow resistance offered by the broken rock inside the cave is critical. This study investigates the effect of changes in the bulk porosity of the broken rock on the cave airflow resistance using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. The results show an inverse relationship between the cave airflow resistance and the bulk cave porosity. The pressure-quantity characteristic curves presented in this paper provide valuable information for sizing and operating an exhaust fan used for a mature panel cave ventilation.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:1841–1851, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-022-00613-0