The sublevel caving used in Kiirunavaara mine induces failure and subsidence of the hangingwall. Two sections of the mine were studied by means of numerical analyses. Numerical models were developed using finite element and discrete element codes. The former was applied to calculate the location of new failure surfaces in the hangingwall and to estimate the break angle when mining advances downwards. The latter was used to analyse the displacement path of the caved rock during draw and to determine its effect on the stability of the hangingwall and footwall. The models were calibrated using displacement monitoring data. The finite element analyses indicated that the break angle is almost constant for deeper mining levels but may change if the geometry of the orebody changes. The discrete element model showed the formation of a stationary zone along the footwall that reduces the magnitude of the shear forces during draw, increasing its stability.
Keywords: Kiirunavaara mine, hangingwall failure, sublevel caving, numerical analyses