Blasting at Shallow Depths: Problems and Improvements

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Rock formation at shallow depths is generally associated with complex geology consisting of many joints, fractures, bedding planes, etc. Fragmentation results from primary blasts in such strata are therefore significantly influenced by structural discontinuities. To evaluate the role of discontinuities, which is of great use in the design of blasts in such conditions, a two-stage investigation program was taken up. In the first stage, model scale tests were conducted with single and double holes with the strike of discontinuities parallel and perpendicular to the face. Later, field studies were conducted in a limestone mine and a coal mine. Blast patterns were modified based on the results obtained from model scale blasts. Secondary blasting was taken as a measure to assess blast performance in the field, whereas mean fragment size, fine and coarse fragmentation indices were considered as fragmentation measures in model scale tests. Model tests indicated confinement of explosive energy by the discontinuities surrounding blasthole. Crater shape and size were significantly influenced by the orientation of joints with respect to the face. Modified blast designs with decreased burden x spacing patterns resulted in improved fragmentation in the field. A reduction of about 12 per cent in explosive consumption was recorded with modified blast designs. Boulder formation was observed to decrease by about 79 per cent as well.
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