South Australia & NT Chapter

Design of Large Underground Excavations

Dr. Tony Meyers

In Australia, large underground excavations for Civil Engineering purposes have traditionally been associated with hydroelectric installations. However, these excavations are now becoming more common and will continue to do so. In the mining industry, large underground excavations are common and many of the principles used and rock mechanics issues considered when designing these excavations are becoming relevant to Civil Engineers and Engineering Geologists. In addition, many of these professionals are considering working within, or consulting to, the minerals industry as a career path and a knowledge of the terminology used, and techniques applied in, the industry can be useful. This lecture will introduce the basic principles involved with the construction and empirical design of large underground excavations in rock for the mining industry. Based around case studies, the presentation discussed some of the challenging issues that must be considered such as anisotropy, scale effects, variability and in-situ stress. It also considered the use of probabilistic techniques in the design process.

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