Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 253–275 | Cite as

Design methods for stopes and sill pillars with application to the Zinkgruvan Mine, central Sweden

  • J. Sjöberg


The design of pillars in cut-and-fill mining and open stoping in vertical and subvertical orebodies is of vital importance in optimizing mining operations. The primary requirement for a good and reliable design technique is the ability to represent the actual physical behaviour of the pillar. In this paper, a new methodology for stope roof and sill pillar design is proposed for the Zinkgruvan Mine in Sweden. Studies of failure modes, local geology and rock mass characteristics were carried out to correlate failure modes to different geomechanical environments. For preliminary design, crude and ready-to-use stress level criteria were extracted from simple linear elastic modelling. More detailed modelling was used to simulate observed failures in a mechanically realistic manner and, at the same time, to help identify the fundamental failure mechanisms. Once the correct models and input parameters were identified, a set of guidelines on choice of model and parameter values were produced. The models can be used for design of new mining areas at Zinkgruvan, and the methodology could also be applied to other mines with similar geomechanical conditions.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersson, L. (1987): Pillar strength and pillar stability in Zinkgruvan. A preliminary study and analysis. Master thesis in rock mechanics, Luleå University of Technology (in Swedish).Google Scholar
  2. Bieniawski, Z. T. (1981): Improved design of coal pillars for U.S. mining conditions. In: Proc., 1st Conference on Ground Control in Mining, Morgantown, West Virginia, 13–22.Google Scholar
  3. Board, M., Krauland, N., Sandström, S., Rosengren, L. (1992): Analysis of ground support methods at the Kristineberg Mine in Sweden. In: Rock support in mining and underground construction, Proc., Int. Symposium on Rock Support, Sudbury, 499–506.Google Scholar
  4. Borg, T., Leijon, B., Röshoff, K., Stephansson, O. (1984): Stability prediction for the Zinkgruvan mine, Central Sweden. In: Proc., ISRM Symposium on Design and Performance of Underground Excavations, Cambridge, 113–121.Google Scholar
  5. Carr, F. (1992): Ten years' experience of the Wilson/Carr pillar sizing method at Jim Walter Resources, Inc. In: Proc., Workshop on Coal Pillar Mechanics and Design, Santa Fe, New Mexico. U. S. Bureau of Mines information circular 9315, 166–179.Google Scholar
  6. Cundall, P. A. (1971): A computer model for simulating progressive large scale movements in blocky rock systems. In: Proc., Symposium Int. Soc. Rock Mech., Nancy, vol. 1, paper II-8.Google Scholar
  7. Cundall, P. A. (1976): Explicit finite-difference methods in geomechanics. In: Proc., 2nd Int. Conference on Numerical Methods in Geomechanics, Blacksburg, Virginia, vol. 1, 132–150.Google Scholar
  8. de Jongh, C. L. (1981): Design parameters used and backfill material selected for a new basemetal mine in the Republic of South Africa. In: Proc., Application of Rock Mechanics to Cut and Fill Mining, Luleå, 100–106.Google Scholar
  9. Hedström, P., Simeonov, A., Malmström, L. (1989): The Zinkgruvan ore deposit, south-central Sweden. A proterozoic, proximal Zn−Pb−Ag deposit in distal volcanic facies. Econ. Geol. 84, 1235–1261.Google Scholar
  10. Herdocia, A., Sjöberg, J., Nyström, A. (1990): Rock mechanics databank for construction elements in mining. In: Rock mechanics contributions and challenges, Proc., 31st U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, Golden, Colorado, 1019–1025.Google Scholar
  11. Hoek, E., Brown, E. T. (1988): The Hoek-Brown failure criterion — a 1988 update. In: Rock engineering for underground excavations, Proc., 15th Canadian Rock Mechanics Symposium, Toronto, 31–38.Google Scholar
  12. Hustrulid, W. A. (1976): A review of coal pillar strength formulas. Rock Mechanics 8, 115–145.Google Scholar
  13. Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (1990): UDEC Version 1.63. Minneapolis: Itasca.Google Scholar
  14. Itasca Consulting Group, Inc. (1991): FLAC Version 3.0. Minneapolis: Itasca.Google Scholar
  15. Jacobi, O. (1976): Praxis der Gebirgsbeherrschung. Verlag Glückauf GmbH, Essen.Google Scholar
  16. Kersten, R. W. O. (1984): The design of pillars in the shrinkage stoping of a South African gold mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. 89 (2), 47–58.Google Scholar
  17. Logie, C. V., Matheson, G. M. (1982): A critical review of the current state-of-the-art design of mine pillars. In: Proc., 1st Int. Conference on Stability in Underground Mining, Vancouver, 359–382.Google Scholar
  18. Mark, C., Listak, J., Bieniawski, Z. T. (1988): Yielding coal pillars — Field measurements and analysis of design methods. In: Key questions in rock mechanics, Proc., 29th U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, University of Minnesota, 261–270.Google Scholar
  19. Napier, J. A. L., Stephansen, S. J. (1987): Analysis of deep-level mine design problems using the MINSIM-D boundary element program. In: Proc., 20th Int. Symposium on the Application of Computers and Mathematics in the Mineral Industries, APCOM 87, Johannesburg, vol. 1, 3–19.Google Scholar
  20. Potvin, Y., Hudyma, M., Miller, H. D. S. (1989): Rib pillar design in open stope mining. CIM Bulletin 82 (927), 31–36.Google Scholar
  21. Sjöberg, J. (1992): Failure modes and pillar behaviour in the Zinkgruvan mine. In: Proc., 33rd U. S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 491–500.Google Scholar
  22. Sjöberg, J., Tillman, K. (1990): Stability of pillars in the Zinkgruvan Mine — A case study. In: Rock mechanics contributions and challenges, Proc., 31st U.S. Symposium on Rock Mechanics, Golden, Colorado, 1035–1042.Google Scholar
  23. Stacey, T. R. (1981): A simple extension strain criterion for fracture of brittle rock. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci. Geomech. Abstr. 18, 469–474.Google Scholar
  24. Starfield, A. M., Cundall, P. A. (1988): Towards a methodology for rock mechanics modelling. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci. Geomech. Abstr. 25, 99–106.Google Scholar
  25. Wilson, A. H. (1972): Research into the determination of pillar size. Part 1: An hypothesis concerning pillar stability. Min. Eng. 131 (141), 409–417.Google Scholar
  26. Wilson, A. H. (1983): The stability of underground workings in the soft rocks of the Coal Measures. Int. J. Min. Eng. 1, 91–187.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Sjöberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Itasca Consulting Group, Inc.MinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations