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Development of an integrated computer aided design and planning methodology for underground marble quarries


Objectives and content
The EU dimension stone industry, which mostly involves
small and medium size enterprises, enjoys at present
health and growth. Exhaustion, however, of near surface
reserves coupled with environmental effects to the
surroundings forces the industry to move gradually
underground as an alternative to closure. To continue
its successful operation in the difficult and unfamiliar
underground terrain and to face this challenge and
involvement in a risk business, an integrated scientific
approach to the problems associated with underground
marble exploitation is urgently needed in order to
minimise expected rising production costs due to: lower
recovery, limiting space of operation, pillar and roof
stability, to mention only a few of the problems an
underground quarry operation will encounter. The risk
problem can be met by predicting block recovery in terms
of size, quality and quantity, and the rising costs by
optimising design of the rooms and pillars since it
affects both, recovery through size and orientation of
underground works, and productivity through space
availability and safety of working conditions. As the
currently extant design methodologies have been developed
in a piecemeal fashion over a number of years, they
neither reflect the state of the art of rock engineering
nor are they adequate to determine exactly what is the
minimum amount of mineral to be left in place. This
latter deficiency stems in part from the difficulty in
predicting the mechanical behaviour of the material, and
in part from the critical importance of not
underestimating the support requirements.
This proposal, which is addressed both to already
operating underground marble quarries and to quarry
owners that soon will be facing the problem of going
underground or closing down, seeks to provide new
improved design and planning optimisation techniques for
underground quarry excavations. These techniques, by
evaluating all possible quarry layouts and production
scenarios, will be able to predict the most cost
effective and safe layout that will lead to maximum block
recovery of such sizes and quality that the market
demands. The work is based on careful 3D modelling of
the rock mass structure coupled with modern surveying
techniques and advanced computer simulation methods.
These techniques will be used to develop a reliable
geometric model of the available and recoverable block
system, which in conjunction to the understanding of the
global mechanical behaviour will allow the optimum
design, and the most quality and cost effective planning
of the underground marble exploitation process.
It is anticipated that the general guidelines developed
as part of this project will be made available to the
industry at large, in the form of simple design manuals.
The consortium formed to undertake this project comprises
quarrying enterprises, Universities and Research
Organisations from Greece, France, Italy, Germany and
Portugal. In order to ensure that the final methodology
is widely applicable, the quarrying enterprises cover a
diverse range of geomechanical environments and minerals.
This project will address the needs outlined in the
following sections of the Brite Euram III work programme:
1.1, 1.3, 2.3 and 1.4.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Dionyssos - Pentelicon Commercial & Industrial Marble S.A
119,Messogion Av. Ambelokipi
11526 Athens

Participants (6)

Piazza Barsottini
55040 Capezzano Pianore
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
24,Corso Duca Degli Abruzzi
10129 Torino
Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques
Parc De Saurupt
54042 Nancy
Lasamarmo SpA
4,Via Marmo
39023 Lasa
Corso Duca Degli Abruzzi 24
10129 Torino (Turin)
1,Ernst-reuter Pl. 1
10587 Berlin