Challenges on the design of Mining Caverns
Design and construction of caverns for the mining industry have great challenges to address, some of which may be quite different to those found at caverns for civil or hydropower projects. This article aims to describe main features of underground openings in mining and main challenges found on their design, construction and operation. Main challenges include the variable stress field in underground mines, the proximity to other large excavations –such as caving cavities or open pits, and the high stress field often found in deep underground mines, among others. This article focuses on the rehabilitation of the Chuquicamata transfer station, which is a cavern next to a large open pit in Northern Chile. A description is given of the proposed support system for its rehabilitation, which had to cope with a challenging geotechnical condition due to the mining activities in the surrounding area.