Many underground stone mines in the United States operate on multiple mining levels. The effects of interburden thickness, pillar offset between mining levels at various depths of cover, and in situ stress conditions are poorly understood. Pillar offset is the degree to which pillars are not columnized or stacked. In this study, calibrated numerical models are used to examine limestone pillar stability in these conditions. Also, the critical interburden thickness required to minimize the interaction between mining levels is explored. The model results show that there is interaction between numerous factors that control the stability of stone pillars in multiple-level conditions. The highest degree of local pillar instability occurs when pillar overlap ranges between 10 and 70 percent. The highest degree of stability occurs when pillars are stacked.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2022) 39:1887–1897, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-022-00655-4