Designing for early access to deep orebodies is an essential driver for improved project payback.
Vertical shaft sinking techniques have been developed to allow concurrent mine level excavation while continuing to sink. Project cash flows can also be improved when simultaneously deepening existing shafts beneath operating hoisting systems. Further economic advantage has been realised through creative sinking sequencing in twin ventilation/service shaft projects. A fourth technique to reduce project schedules involves partial shaft barrel equipping allowing unrestricted access to construct stations and continue with level installations. This approach reduces interference with barrel sinking activities to insignificant proportions.
This paper reviews how these approaches have added significant value to actual shaft sinking projects, as assessed from a contractor’s perspective, and discusses some of the practical issues to be addressed when planning future projects. Designers need to take cognisance throughout all project engineering phases of the adage that you are only sinking when cleaning the face. Cleaning can only be sustained when there is sufficient hoisting capacity.