Threshold Blasting: The Renaissance Of Explosives In Narrow Reef Mining

Cunningham, C. V. B.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Threshold blasting involves the use of small amounts of high explosive to break and fragment hard rock without having to evacuate mining personnel. The method is easily assimilated and effective in rockbreaking, but requires rigid control on drilling, charging and timing. Current underground trials are aimed at fine-tuning the amount of explosive energy and blast hole geometry to allow the firing of multiple sets of shot holes in a continuous manner. Through correct procedures, the after-blast fumes, dust and fly rock can be contained so as to provide a safe working environment. Threshold blasting hugely reduces the volumes of explosives used in mining and brings to maturity the potential of the process begun by Alfred Nobel when he introduced nitroglycerine, and later dynamite, to mining. Its key contribution is its enabling of continuous mining operations with well understood and relatively low cost technologies. The use of batch blasting, employing large burdens holds the greatest potential for delivering high flow rates of ore at minimal cost. There is good potential for rapid evolution of the concept.
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