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Locate Old Underground Workings (Open-cut Mine Surveying Duties)

Abandoned underground workings pose a major risks in mines. For instance, in an underground operation, mining into old workings could lead to an inrush of water with the potential to kill. They also exhibit risk to open cut operations mining through the areas the previous existed.
An example of the risks involved regarding old underground workings in an open cut mine:

  • Bogging machinery when digging close to the level of the workings
  • Ground collapsing when machinery or people are above it
  • Carcinogenic oils being exposed when mining into the old workings
  • Old equipment, supports, or dangerous materials being exposed and damaging machinery

You may ask, why would we mine through areas that have already been mined previously? There are a variety of reasons, they include but are not limited to:

  • Previously it was not economical to mine the area open cut (e.g. minerals worth more money now may make it more feasible to mine open cut)
  • The underground mine was too dangerous (e.g. too much gas) to continue mining with that method
  • Underground mining doesn't remove as much as open cut mining, therefore there are usually resources that can still be mined in the area

Regardless of the reason for mining through these areas; to ensure a safe approach is conducted surveyors mark out the underground workings at the surface so machines can safely excavate these areas.

Example #1: Underground markings at surface for excavation

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Example #2: Exposed underground workings close-up

(Click picture for larger version)

Open-cut Mine Surveying Duties