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Filling the underground gaps

Minova’s long history in ground support comes together with its toolbox of products to solve just about any problem in …
Australian Mining.

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This article was originally published by Australian Mining

Minova’s long history in ground support comes together with its toolbox of products to solve just about any problem in underground operations.

When it comes to underground mining operations, hazards can come from just about anywhere. Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to safety, and mines require multiple different solutions.

That’s where Minova and its vast arsenal of ground support solutions come in.

“One of the things Minova is great at is bringing our huge range of products together to solve specific customer problems,” Minova marketing and business development lead Douglas Pateman told Australian Mining.

“Minova has been around since 1882, so we have an enormous wealth of experience. We know our products and we know how they complement each other.

“That’s something no one else can really offer.”

One product in the arsenal is Minova’s FB200 grout for underground ore recovery.

“FB200 is a very low-viscosity grout that is pumped into loose rockfill to stabilise it, allowing adjacent ore to be mined,” Pateman said.

“The grout can penetrate less than a 1mm gap, meaning it can really find its way into every tiny crevice.

“This allows miners to access ore that would have otherwise been left behind or heavily diluted, giving operators access to cash and increased life of mine that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

Application of FB200 for rockfill stabilisation.

And thanks to onshore manufacturing, Minova is able to modify FB200 to work in different underground environments.

“We have in-house technical capability to modify FB200 to suit varying mine conditions, whether it be water temperatures or water salinity,” Pateman said. “We can adapt the product very quickly to suit our customers’ requirements.”

Moving from the rockface to tunnel support, Minova’s Tekflex Rapid is a new mine development technology.

“Tekflex Rapid is a thin spray liner to support tunnel faces,” Pateman said. “It’s a better alternative to typical bolt and meshing of faces or concrete spraying for a number of reasons.

“Usual concrete lining is sprayed 50mm thick or greater over the development face, but Tekflex Rapid is much thinner at less than 5mm. Not only does that make it much faster, but more importantly it lets miners see what’s happening on the rock wall behind it.

“You won’t have any issues with misfired drill hole butts, so there’s a big safety aspect to it.

“It’s also much faster than bolt and mesh facing, with a typical turnaround of less than an hour. You also eliminate any potential downstream issues with bits of steel in the ore processing system because Tekflex Rapid is a membrane. This is a huge advantage.”

Unlike typical bolt and mesh tunnel support, where rocks can fall out next to the edge of the mesh, Tekflex Rapid completely covers the tunnel face.

Minova also offers a line of injection chemical services for strata consolidation and void-filling.

Minova has a broad range of injection chemicals to solve any problem.

“Our injection chemicals are used to stabilise strata in underground mines and prevents falls of ground during production,” Pateman said. “Our consolidating resins essentially glue the rock together for stability. We also have water-stopping resins, which are designed to follow the water within the ground and form a seal around the tunnel perimeter and infrastructure. We have a range grades to handle different amounts of inflow, and hot or cold water.

“Another variation we offer is cavity-filling resins. When mixed together, these resins foam over 20 times, which allows them to fill large voids very quickly.

“We’ve found a whole range of uses for these products in the hard rock industry, from recovering tunnel falls to filling around escape way ladder tubes.”

Pateman believes versatility and speed combine to make Minova’s line of injection chemicals such a hit in underground operations.

“Our resins have a lot of different applications,” he said. “And because we manufacture locally, we can tweak them for very specific situations.”

Minova has positioned itself as a leader in underground mine safety, a fact most recently demonstrated by the company’s major sponsorship of the Ground Support 2023 event series, which brings together industry experts for a three-day conference focused on everything related to ground support, including efficiency, safety and technology.

“It’s going to be a big event for our industry and the program looks absolutely fantastic,” Pateman said.

“It’s quite a technical conference, sharing learnings around products and different ways of solving problems, all with the aim of keeping people safe. That’s really the core of our industry.”

This feature appeared in the September 2023 issue of Australian Mining.

Australian Mining.


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