Rockfall Protection Systems in the Mining Sites
Unstable rock surfaces and environments are a reality in most construction and mining environments. When a rock fall occurs in the mine site, it is almost impossible for the people to take evasive actions to avoid injury or to save their lives. Hence, rockfall protection is one of the most significant aspects of the mining site operation, and without it, no mines can ever operate. Among the commonly used RPS in the mine site are nets and meshes made of hybrid steel wires because they are not only economical and easy to install, but they have also been tested to stop the most extreme impact energies and can cope with different threat scenarios in the mining site.
So how are meshes and cable nets used to control rockfall?
The nets and meshes serve as shields that control detached rocks from raveling down to the bottom. They are designed to hold the falling rocks or direct them to a catchment area at bottom of the slope. The mesh or nets can be attached to anchors at the top only or can be secured at both top and bottom.
Which is better?
Drapery systems or draped mesh or nets, and anchored mesh/nets are the most common structures that are used in the mine sites. Drapery systems are used to contain rockfall that occur beneath the mesh or net and control the descent of detached material from falling at the bottom of the slope. They are designed to protect against raveling-type rockfall that involves small-volume slope failures or blocks. They can also be used on both uniform and highly irregular slopes, and are not limited to a distinct rock/slope material type.
On the other hand, anchored mesh systems are designed to put pressure to the rock or slope to reduce rock movement by using rock anchors and wire mesh. The wire mesh is tensioned into the anchors specifically to apply active retention force to retain rocks and soil on a slope.
The potential hazards brought by rock fall in mine sites are reduced by the continuous development and production of innovative rockfall protection and barrier systems not only in compliance to the safety standards in the mining environment but also to ensure that the people working in the mining site are always safe and protected.