Blast Design Considerations for In-Situ Retorting of Oil Shale

Paine GG,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
The in-situ retorting of shallow oil shale deposits is an attractive alternative to the material handling problems of conventional open pit mining techniques, which involve removing overburden, fragmenting and transporting the shale to a fixed retort, and finally disposing of the hot spent shale.For in-situ retorting to be successful, the oil shale has to be fractured and the fragmented rock expanded into a void, to allow controlled propagation of a flame front through the in-situ retort. The principles of cratering with explosives have been used to develop a process for the in-situ fracturing of a thin oil shale deposit overlain by a formation of porous rock. The overlying porous rock formation is first compressed by explosive charges to create voids in the porous rock. The oil shale is then fragmented and pushed in to the voids with separate explosive charges. This paper discusses methods of creating voids in porous rocks with minimal surface disturbance, and then methods of obtaining the most uniform fragmentation of the shale. The whole process can be completed, in practice, in one blast. The results of an experimental blast are presented, and possible modifications are then discussed.
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