Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Gray, P. Bearing plates: new developments in the unsung heroes of ground support, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 167-178.


The trend in the mining industry over the past ten years has been to use higher capacity ground support systems. Much of the engineering design and development for these high capacity ground support systems has focussed on new, more effective, and stronger rock bolts and cable bolts. However, higher (;apacity rock bolts or cable bolts are only part of the solution to ground support problems, and it is now apparent that a total systems solution is required which addresses such issues as: speed of installation; safety; cost; rib support as well as roof support; and, the interaction of different ground support products. This last factor has received very little attention in the past, and applies particularly to the interaction of bolts, mesh or straps, and, bearing plates. Bearing plates are a fundamental and integral part of any rock support system. The capacity of bearing plates should be matched to the capacity of the rock bolts or cable bolts that they are used with, and they should be designed not to damage other support systems such as mesh or straps. This paper gives examples of both good and bad bearing plate installations, and indicates trends for the future.