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Umbrella Arch/Forepoling Support Methods

Determining the most appropriate umbrella arch/forepoling support methods for use in an underground mine takes expertise and experience.

Tunnels play an important role in underground mines, as they are the means (along with shafts) by which personnel and equipment are moved in and out of the operation, and by which ore is moved out of the mine to surface for processing.

A big part of the safety and strength of a tunnel is related to the type of rock/terrain through which it is developed, and the amount of support it has.

When tunnelling occurs through high-strength rock, the process is relatively straightforward. These tunnels are largely self-supporting, with only basic support needed. However, when tunneling takes place in weak or medium-strength rock, extra support is required for stabilizing the roof, and possibly the walls.

In these cases, reinforcement is typically provided by means of the umbrella arch/forepoling support methods. Umbrella arch (also called pipe umbrella) and forepoling methods have different attributes, with variations in the installation methods and materials used. Neither system is inherently better than the other – they are simply designed for different use cases and situations.

The decision on which specific umbrella arch/forepoling support methods to use in a given mine tunneling situation and how to implement the relevant support structure should be made by (or in consultation with) an engineer who specializes in this type of work.

At Mine Design Engineering (MDEng), we have a team of expert engineers who have the knowledge, expertise and experience to serve as specialist consultants/advisors in a range of specific disciplines, including tunneling and umbrella arch/forepoling support methods.