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|The operation of quarries for the production of crushed stone and aggregates, depends heavily on rock blasting efficiency, which usually represents a major share of total production costs. After investigating the causes of this situation, a series of technical aspects have been detected, and they are described for the purpose of contributing to the minimization of costs, which also reduces the effects of blasting on the environment. Utilization of empirical design methods, of inadequate explosive types, and of erroneous drilling pauems with respect to rock properties, are the main factors to be corrected, as a consequence of poor engineering criteria, with scarce use of computational methods and field instrumentation. Several concepts of blasting optimization are pointed out, and their application to industrial operations in a Portuguese limestone quarry indicated clear trends for the reduction of production costs, as well as some of the deleterious consequences of blasting on the environment.|