Finite Element Modelling of Partially Bolted Potash Environments


Mr Joshua Pauls ( - University of Saskatchewan), Prof Travis Wiens (Assistant Professor - University of Saskatchewan), Prof Paul Hughes (Assistant Professor - University of Saskatchewan)

Saskatchewan potash mining takes place in generally flat lying ore beds with consistent clay seams throughout. These normally flat lying beds are occasionally interrupted by anomalous ground conditions that result in reduced stability of the mine back. Currently, mining is stopped and the area is bolted using a mechanical-style rock bolt. To improve the production rate in such areas, it is desired that the bolts be installed as mining progresses, behind the borer, and out of the way of future mine passes. This condition allows for only one half of the mined room to be bolted because secondary passes are only partial passes and overlap on the initial room. The stability of such a system needs to be compared to the current bolting process to determine the safety of implementation. One method that can be used to achieve this is finite element analysis. In this way, several different bolting patterns and scenarios can be tested rapidly and without putting underground personnel in unstable ground conditions. Using FEA software also allows the stability of tunnel to be analyzed locally, yielding some interesting results.