Cave Mining

Caving is applied to increasingly deep, large, strong, and heterogeneous ore bodies. This increases the risk of stranded reserves in overhangs, potential for cave stall and air-blast, infrastructure rehabilitation or loss, and large-scale caving-induced subsidence. Geomechanical analyses are therefore critical to understand and predict:

  • cave growth and shape;
  • primary and secondary fragmentation;
  • extraction level stability;
  • recovery and dilution; and
  • surface subsidence.

Itasca simulates mine caveability and subsidence using the continuum program FLAC3D and the discrete element programs 3DEC and PFC to predict the progressive failure and fragmentation of the rock mass from an intact/jointed to a caved material. Both FLAC3D and 3DEC can utilize Itasca’s CaveHoek and Imass material models, whereas both 3DEC and PFC can utilize bonded or free-flowing blocks/particles.

Coupled with Itasca’s deterministic, physics-based code REBOP or the statistical, cellular automata code CAVESIM, the collapse, bulking, and movement of caved rock can be better incorporated. The coupled method captures many important aspects of caveability affecting cave design, such as hang-up formation, material recovery, timing of surface breakthrough or interaction with other lifts, crater development, and surface subsidence.


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  • A Big Hand of Applause for Our 2023 Summer Interns ITASCA Minneapolis would like to extend our sincerest thanks to our 2023 summer interns for...
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  • Itasca has announced the release of FLAC2D v9 Itasca has announced the release of FLAC2D v9, revolutionizing the way we analyze and predict...
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Upcoming Events
20 Dec
Getting Started with FLAC2D/FLAC3D
Live Online Introductory Training Course. December 20-21, 2023.... Read More
2 Jun
6th Itasca Symposium on Applied Numerical Modeling
Itasca is pleased to announce that the 6th Itasca Symposium on Applied Numerical Modeling will take place June 3 - 6, 2024, in Toronto,... Read More