Pre-Splitting - Wall Control for Surface Coal Mines

Cocker A,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
Pre-splitting for smooth highwall formation is conducted in around 75 per cent of surface coal operations within Australia. The CMTE (Centre for Mining Technology and Equipment) in conjunction with BHPAC (BHP Australia Coal) initiated a project to look at pre-splitting and to investigate the notching of blastholes for fracture plane control. The notching was specifically for pre-split initiation and also for discing of the toe of the production holes to minimise coal loss from the top of the coal seam. There are currently a number of factors which are driving the introduction of new pre-splitting technologies and products. The first is the ever increasing bench height being employed in strip mines which require a higher quality wall with less blast damage to maintain stability. Currently depths of 55 metres are common place with depths of 70 - 80 metres fast approaching. The second factor is the introduction of new technologies or methods which require a high quality highwall produced, eg highwall mining. This paper discusses the current state-of-the-art in pre-splitting and the main issues facing successful pre-splitting in the future. The use of a blasthole notching technology to promote fracturing along the pre-split line is also analysed. The review indicates that most pre-splitting challenges in the future can be addressed through better use and developments of current drill and blast technology. It is also concluded that a blasthole notching technique may find niche applications in improving final walls within a surface coal mine, especially where a high quality wall is required. The notched blasthole method may also allow pre-splitting in ground conditions and adverse rock structure which currently cannot be pre-split by existing technology.
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