The Ore-Body Knowledge theme’s main research project is the International Caving Research Network (ICaRN) and is a collaborative project between the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, the Geological Engineering program within the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science department at UBC (Geological Engineering), and the Mineral Deposit Research Unit.
Due to increasing populations and economic growth, the demand for copper has grown significantly and to meet this demand, the industry will increasingly transition to underground mining operations and access deeper resources, with the mass mining method of block and panel caving being favoured.
With this focus on deeper mining and utilizing caving methods, the ICaRN research project is working to fill the knowledge gaps that currently make this type of mining more challenging than open pit or conventional underground mining.
Six specific knowledge gaps are identified as main areas of research:
- Orebody Knowledge
- Grade Management
- Cave Mine Design
- Integrated Cave-to-Mill
- New Measurement Technologies
- Hazard Management
The ultimate goal of the project is to increase safety,
to enhance the value of mine projects, and to focus on improving revenues by delivering higher quality grades to the mill and increasing mill throughputs.