Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Mirabediny, H and Baafi, EY, Dragline Digging Methods in Austra.lian Strip Mines - A Survey, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 313-324.


Open cut mining in Australia is facing the greatest challenge in its hilstory in attempting to compete not only with other operations internationally, but also with underground operations domestically. Most flat dip and shallow depth surfacemineable coal reserves have been depleted during the last two decadc:s and new open cut operations must extract deeper coal deposits. As open cut coal mines move into deeper areas andl the stripping ratios increase, the relative cost of overburden removal also increases. It therefore becomes even more important to design the mine around the optimum overburden removal scheme. The deeper mines are usually multi-sc:am operations with a more complex geology and with more geotechnical and hydrological problems. Deeper mines are subjected to greater problems requiring more detailed mine planning and design, such as selection of the optimUJm mining method and pit layout. In planning and design of such operations, the number of alternative methods which nl~ed to be considered is consequently greater. Dragline productivity and its stripping capabilities are directly affect,~d by the selection of digging method, strip layout and pit geometry .Every mine has a unique combination of geological conditions. The operating methods that work well at one mine may not necessarily work at another site. Selection of an optimal stripping method, strip layout and pit geometry for a given dragline must be considered with respect to the geological conditions of the mine. With increasing geological complexity of Australian strip mines, it is becoming more: important to use sophisticated techniques such as computerised mine planning methods to assist in optimising dragline operations.