Blasting in Stopes of Deep Gold Mines

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
South Africa is the world's largest producer of gold. The survival of its gold mining industry is dependent, to a large extent, on the successful implementation of new mining technology which reduces the operating costs. Gold mines of the country have a record of a high operational cost per tonne of rock excavated. The geology of the gold-bearing rock, in addition to the mining depth and the gold recoverable grade, profoundly affect the profitability of the industry. Among the other mining operations, drilling and blasting take a fair share of the mining cost. It is therefore proper to implement a dynamic approach of technological review aimed at combating the escalation of mining costs. Over the years, the industry has moved away from labour intensive activities. Mechanised operations are introduced where possible. Management techniques are oriented more towards better utilisation of human resources and machinery so as to enhance productivity in the stopes. This paper addresses the issue with particular reference to blasting operations in the stopes of deep gold mines. It reviews the conventional drilling and blasting techniques. It outlines some innovative changes brought about in the course of recent years with the aim of optimising productivity and the stope efficiency in particular. It focusses on the peculiarities of the blasting technology in deep mines. It discusses the issue of interaction between the high stress fields underground and the blasting generated stresses on rock fragmentation, as well as their impact on the remaining excavations. It anticipates the concept of the new technology of selective blasting in stoping. Finally it puts forward the crucial role played by management of the human factor underground.
Full Article Download:
(809 kb)