Blast Optimisation for Efficient Extraction of a Block Cave Undercut - Case Studies at De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd, South Africa

Chitombo G R, ; Grobler H P,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Production blasting of Dc Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, Koffiefontein and Finsch Mines involves both uphole trough rings of 9 to I I holes and near vertical 360 degree compound rings of 42-54 holes. The rate of production from these stages is dependent upon being able to achieve a specified fragmentation size range and this has driven the derivation of blasting practices to consistently achieve this target fragmentation. At the Dutoitspan Mine, in Kimberley, where mining of the kimberlite pipe is by block caving, 100 per cent extraction of the undercut level by ring blasting is essential. If this is not achieved, pillars are formed which not only inhibit the efficient initiation of the caving process, but also concentrates load onto the extraction level, causing damage to draw points and pillars. These two case studies demonstrate the importance of achieving optimum blasting performance for downstream mining efficiency; ie fragmentation for increased productivity at Koffiefontein Mine and 100 per cent undercut extraction for efficient initiation of the caving process at the Dutoitspan Mine. The case studies also serve to highlight the long road towards blast optimisation taken by De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd (Koffiefontein. Finsch, Premier and Kimberley Mines) since 1989.
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