Safety first: whether in mines or caverns

 Mineral Salt Exploration

Mineral Salt Extraction

Mineral Salt Processing

Sustainability in Mineral Salt Extraction and Processing

Conventional Mining
Solution Mining
Rock Mechanics
Mine and Cavern Survey


In any case mineral extraction from the underground deposit will create mine openings which must be safe and stable during the whole mine life as well as after the closure date. Therefore, rock mechanical studies are one important issue of mine design and extraction schedule as well as for environmentally safe mine closure procedures.


holds its own rock mechanics institute, the

which is well-equipped by state-of-art lab test facilities and latest modelling tools.

The Institut für Gebirgsmechanik GmbH is the successor of the former state-owned Institut für Bergbausicherheit of the Highest Mining Authority of East Germany and, therefore with widespread experiences on mine safety since five decades.

In the ERCOSPLAN Group of Companies the Institut für Gebirgsmechanik GmbH is the specialised subsidiary for high-sophisticated rock mechanical investigations and offers

  • rock mechanical laboratory test work

  • rock mechanical in-situ test work

  • rock mechanical modelling

Beside a climate-controlled testing environment, which corresponds to the in-situ conditions, well-equipped laboratories for mineralogical and petrographic examinations and petrophysical investigations the Institut für Gebirgsmechanik GmbH uses state-of-art testing equipment (see left) as well as in-situ measurement equipment like

  • borehole-TV for the inspection of break-out-effects, etc.;

  • hydrofrac probes for stress sounding;

  • extensometer and inclinometer for the measurement of ground movements;

  • borehole deformometer for measurements of borehole convergencies and stress determination by the stress relief method;

  • pressure probes and rate-controlled pumps for determination of permeation in the rocks.

For the computational modelling of rock mechanical behaviour, recent computer technology including parallel computing work stations is used in combination with the latest software tools for continuum and discontinuum mechanics, which allow the evaluation of planar and three-dimensional problems under statical and dynamical loading conditions, like FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, PFC2D and PFC3D from ITASCA, with constitutive equations which were developed by Institut für Gebirgsmechanik GmbH for special geomechanical problems and implemented in the source code of the programs:

  • elasto-plastic material model to describe the softening and brittle fracture behavior of carnallite

  • visco-elastoplastic material model with softening, dilatancy and (primary, secondary and tertiary) creep to describe the time-dependent softening behavior of salt rocks preceding creep fracture

  • combined material model for describing the creep of salt rocks, including inverse transient creep

  • MKEN, SENK - programs developed by Institut für Gebirgsmechanik GmbH for the computation of time-dependent stress-strain processes in a system of underground openings and for the prediction for surface effects resulting from mine subsidence.

By application of these tools and in close cooperation with our mining engineers all issues of underground mineral extractions and/or disposal and storage in underground openings can be investigated.



servo-controlled stear test machine MTS 816, max. vertikal force 500 kN, max. horizontal force 250 kN

servo-controlled hydraulic testing machine, system RBA 2500 for confining pressures of up to 100 MPa

servo-controlled hydraulic testing machine SMH 250 for confining pressures of up to 50 MPa; max. axial force 250 kN; pc ≤ 400 bar

MTS Teststar, Digital controlling system

View inside the rock mechanical testing Laboratory