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Title: Instrumented geotechnical monitoring of a natural cave in a near mine operation – towards a sustainable approach to mining and preservation of speleological heritage.
Authors: Brandi, Iuri Viana
Barbosa, Marcelo Roberto
Paula, Rafael Guimarães de
Araújo, Ramon Nunes
Moura, Rafael Simões Vieira de
Lima, Hernani Mota de
Keywords: Speleology
Geotechnical instrumentation monitoring
Iron ore
Issue Date: 2019
Citation: BRANDI, I. V. et al. Instrumented geotechnical monitoring of a natural cave in a near mine operation – towards a sustainable approach to mining and preservation of speleological heritage. Journal of Cleaner Production, v. 239, dez. 2019. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 10 mar. 2020.
Abstract: The iron ore mining in Brazil is currently restricted due to federal laws for natural caves protection. Four classes of cave relevance are formally designated based primarily on geological and biospeleological criteria. According to the law, Maximum Relevance caves must be protected, together with a 250 m buffer zone. This protection zone, on the other hand, blocks substantial iron ore reserves that impacts mining projects feasibility and postpones or discontinues several ones. This 250 m buffer zone has a preliminary status and can be increased or reduced according to the results of specific long-term studies that ensure caves’ physical integrity, as well as the maintenance of its ecological balance. Considering the need to preserve the natural caves and to conduct a sustainable mining operation, this paper presents the geotechnical monitoring methodology used to anticipate instabilities in the cave, as well as to optimize the study time, considering an approach through remote instrumentation. A pilot project with operations within the 250 m protected zone of a natural cave was conducted at the iron ore mine N4EN, in Carajas, Brazil. Strain and convergence measurements were conducted on the weaknesses points/zones within the caves, identified during geostructural-geotechnical mapping. The data collected were continuously transmitted via web in real time to a database server; automatically treated and turned into updated reports and control charts available on the Internet from an expert software. The results demonstrated the applicability of remote geotechnical techniques for monitoring the structural stability of caves near mining operations, even when subjected to seismic waves, generated by regular blasting. This approach has contributed to the sustainability of the operations that reached a distance of 75 m from the studied cave that remained stable and with its speleological balance and functionality.
ISSN: 0959-6526
Appears in Collections:DEMIN - Artigos publicados em periódicos

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