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Mining of Slate and Production

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Part of the Springer Mineralogy book series (MINERAL)


Slate has been mined in open-pit quarries and underground mines. The different methods of exploitation and common terms are explained in this chapter. Before mining begins, geoscientific exploration and a mining plan has to be established. The chapter describes the steps within the geological investigation, leading to a geological model as a prerequisite for a subsequent rock mass classification such as the RMR value (Rock Mass Rating) and the GSI (Geological Strength Index) and a final geotechnical model of the slate deposit. Rock failures and related geotechnical safety aspects during mining of the slate deposit are defined. The investigation is completed by the explanation and illustration of the stress distribution and rock-mechanical behaviour of the planned excavations which are crucial for mine stability. Two examples for room and pillar design of underground mines are introduced. These explanations are accompanied by the description of failure criteria such as the Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion and the Hoek-Brown failure criterion. These criteria assume a rock-mechanically isotropic rock and since slate is a rock-mechanically anisotropic rock, the Ubiquitous-Joint Model is applied. Mining of slate is followed by the more or less immediate production of different slate products, mostly of roofing slate. The production ranges from a very basic and simple manner to a production with automats or by means of robots with few manpower involved only. The various steps, different techniques and important factors of the roofing slate production are introduced. Besides roofing slate, also the production of crushed slate and expanded slate are explained.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-35667-5_6
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(courtesy of Mr. Cattelein 2017)

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(after Deere 1963)

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(after Bieniawski 1993)

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(after Bieniawski 1989)

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(redrawn after Pfeiffer and Salzmann 1954)

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(after Konietzky and Walter 2009, unpublished)

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(after Konietzky and Wichert 2018, unpublished)

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(after Twiss and Moores 2007)

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(after Twiss and Moores 2007)

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Fig. 6.28

(Source Wikicommons, photographer profile deleted 2017); e and f Punching of slate in the company of Camara Slate (NY, USA)

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Fig. 6.30


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Correspondence to Jörn Wichert .

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Wichert, J. (2020). Mining of Slate and Production. In: Slate as Dimension Stone. Springer Mineralogy. Springer, Cham.

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