OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 36 Mining

Section 533 Mine plans

The need for detailed, up-to-date work site plans has been established by experience. The availability of such information helps officers, mine managers and workers in the delivery of their respective roles and responsibilities. The importance of such information being readily available is evident during an emergency. The information helps in:

(a) mounting an effective rescue operation, particularly underground;
(b) decision making;
(c) monitoring the operation;
(d) having a better appreciation of the mineral deposit and related problems; and
(e) identifying possible impacts of mine operations on pipeline or utility corridors.

It is important that mine plans be current, accurate and comprehensive. The requirements listed in this section represent the minimum and include both historic and current mine workings, geology, land ownership and other relevant activities affecting the mine.

Mine plans support effective safety planning so they must include major surface features such as bodies of water, unconsolidated deposits, transportation and utility corridors, etc. A specific feature that can threaten mine safety and therefore needs to be included is the presence of exploration holes drilled for any purpose in or through the deposits mined or to be mined. These could contain fluids which, if mined through, could unexpectedly flow into the mine workings. Disasters can be avoided by requiring that such hazards be clearly marked on mine plans. At Lake Peineur, Louisiana, U.S. in 1986, a salt mine was flooded when an unknown oil/gas exploration borehole drilled through the bottom of a lake.

An example of a detailed mine site plan is provided in Figures 36.1 and 36.2. Figure 36.1 shows the buildings and general working of the site; Figure 36.2 shows the direction and inclination of the strata being worked. When mining multiple seams or ore bodies, separate plans need to be kept for each one, together with one master plan showing how the different workings are related to each other, both vertically and horizontally.

Figure 36.1 General mine site plan

It is important to keep all mine plans up-to-date to support effective decision making.

No longer than three months can lapse between surveys of an active mining operation. This is a minimum requirement and, depending on the rate of mining, more frequent surveys may be appropriate to keep plans up-to-date. To help with updating plans, areas that have been mined within one month of the most recent survey may be sketched in to indicate the most recent changes.

Figure 36.2 Operations plan