Opportunities and Challenges in Deep Mining: A Brief Review

Pathegama G. Ranjith, Jian Zhao, Minghe Ju, Radhika V.S. De Silva, Tharaka D. Rathnaweera, Adheesha K. M. S. Bandara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Mineral consumption is increasing rapidly as more consumers enter the market for minerals and as the global standard of living increases. As a result, underground mining continues to progress to deeper levels in order to tackle the mineral supply crisis in the 21st century. However, deep mining occurs in a very technical and challenging environment, in which significant innovative solutions and best practice are required and additional safety standards must be implemented in order to overcome the challenges and reap huge economic gains. These challenges include the catastrophic events that are often met in deep mining engineering: rockbursts, gas outbursts, high in situ and redistributed stresses, large deformation, squeezing and creeping rocks, and high temperature. This review paper presents the current global status of deep mining and highlights some of the newest technological achievements and opportunities associated with rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering in deep mining. Of the various technical achievements, unmanned working-faces and unmanned mines based on fully automated mining and mineral extraction processes have become important fields in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Deep mining
  • In situ stresses
  • Mining automation
  • Rock mechanics
  • Rockburst

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