An Economic Model For Gold And Platinum Mining Using Selective Blast Mining
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 1998
Selective Blast Mining (SBM) makes use of milli-second sequential blasting technology to separate the valuable reef material from waste rock in the blasting operation at stope faces in the mining of tabular ore bodies such as exist in the gold and platinum mines in South Africa. The waste rock is cast blast to the back of the stoping area, and the reef material is fractured and deposited close to the stope face. Only the reef material is transported to the surface. A simplified economic model is presented to evaluate the economic benefits of SBM. Although premature, in that adequate experimental demonstration of the validity of the model has not yet been possible, the model is presented since it indicates substantial benefits in the case of narrow reef gold mines. It is suggested that many marginal mines should seriously consider SBM. Benefits can also be realised in platinum mines, but a lot more experimental work is necessary to establish cost parameters more reliably. Some practical experience in the use of SBM in the mining of the UG2 reef is presented.