The worldwide use of underground space, in conjunction with projects that benefit from the earth´s natural resources, is increasingly growing. This includes the implementation of major underground infrastructure for: mines, hydropower plants, storage, oil and gas projects, water conveyance, geothermal heat, among other purposes.
In view of this increasing use, the ITA-AITES is preparing a series of Open Sessions at the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) to examine specific issues and requirements associated with this infrastructure. The sessions will be titled “Underground Space and Natural Resources”.
The first Open Session of this series, which will be held on 13th May during the WTC2014 in Iguassu Falls, Brazil, will be specifically focused on the mining industry, which has substantially increased its use of the underground space for mining infrastructure and ore extraction. In this rising worldwide trend, the mining industry is turning more and more to underground mining methods, which require massive underground structures for both the temporary and permanent facilities.
Presently, tonnage of ore production is approximately 80 percent derived from open pit mining. A rapid change in this industry is predicted over the next 20-30 years, due to the declining mineral ore content at shallower levels, the need to preserve the environment, and new technical advances. It is now anticipated that 50 percent of the ore production tonnage will be obtained from underground mining.
The Open Session “Underground Space and Natural Resources” will have presentations by prominent international speakers from the mining industry, who will present their insights on the challenges, needs, trends and other perspectives on the use of underground space for the mining industry. Key lectures will be followed by a round table involving the speakers and the audience.
The ITA-AITES is pleased to send a broad invitation to mining industry representatives to join this Open Session and share the discussion on global challenges and opportunities for the use of the underground space in the mining sector. This event will provide an opportunity to bring the ITA-AITES’s understanding of tunnel and underground space development, and the mining industry to the same forum for common sharing of knowledge and fostering of further development together.