Underground Mining of Aggregates for the Building and Road-Paving Industry
Publication Year: 2007
Amir Eidelman, David Slutsky, Amos Bein, Ran Haklai
It is customary to plan for the provision of raw materials for building and paving roads for a span of 40 or 50 years, and that is due to their economic importance and the necessity of ensuring their accessibility on a continuous and unobstructed basis. An optimal system of planning, working in the surroundings of a free market and a developing economy, aims to offer quantities of raw materials for building and road paving that are double or triple the expected demand for a given period of planning.
This document discusses the feasibility of providing aggregates through underground mining out from open, existing quarries in the center of the country. This possibility is addressed in the context of the anticipated shortage of aggregates and the difficulty in planning additional quarries within the dense fabric of development planned in the center and north of the country. The provision of aggregates by underground mining is considered here as a possible alternative to the development of new quarries in the Negev or the import of aggregates from abroad, most likely from Jordan or Egypt.
The reserve of stone for aggregates
The national master plan for mining and quarrying sites (TAMA 14), approved in 2002 after an exhausting process that lasted over 30 years, was intended to provide for demand up until 2020. Recent surveys indicate that the accumulating reserve of stone for aggregates in Israel in 2006 is approximately 1,155 million tons, while the estimated accumulated demand for gravel for 2026 is between 750 and 900 million tons. Thus the balance of mining reserves in 20 years will be only 250-400 million tons. It is generally assumed that a decline in reserves below a minimum sufficient for a period of 10-15 years, that is, reserves of less that 500 million tons, will mark the beginning of a crisis that will be expressed by a rise in prices and pressure to find immediate alternatives.
This work focuses on the analysis of an underground mining alternative through:
- A general geological, engineering, and planning feasibility study and a detailed evaluation of a number of specific case studies;
- A general economic viability study, which concentrates on the evaluation of direct costs and definition of threshold values and framework for an overall appraisal approach within the context of the national economy perspective.