Capping abandoned mine shafts

Capping abandoned mine shafts can be successfully and safely implemented using inflatable plugs and capping the hole with concrete.

Abandoned Mine Shafts in Australia

According to Mining Australia’s publication, approximately 80,000 abandoned mine shafts are scattered across Australia. Abandoned mines can have significant risks from both public safety and environmental perspectives. Unmarked or poorly blocked mines present a falling danger for both humans and wildlife, and some abandoned mines leach toxic materials into surface water and groundwater on-site and into nearby waterways.

Capping mine shafts with inflatable plugs

Low-pressure inflatable plugs combined with concrete serve as an effective solution for capping abandoned mine shafts. The process begins by inserting a deflated plug into the opening of the shaft. Once positioned, the plug is inflated with an air pump until it expands, creating the formwork on which to pour concrete.

Subsequently, concrete is poured into the shaft around the inflated plug, filling the space and providing structural support while further sealing off the area. As the concrete sets and solidifies, it forms a durable barrier that effectively closes off the abandoned mine shaft, enhancing safety measures and preventing access.