Discussion - Increased ore grindability and plant through- Put with controlled blasting

Fuerstenau, M. C. ; Bradt, R. C. ; Chi, G. ; Ghosh, A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
Technical Papers, Mining Engineering Vol. 49, No. 12, pp. 70-75, Discussion by McIvor, R. and Fink, R. P. We must challenge what we consider to be dubious statements in the above-mentioned article. Much of what is reported was published elsewhere over a year ago (i.e., in their reference: Chi, G., Fuerstenau, M.C., Brandt, R.C. and Ghosh, A., 1996, "Improved comminution efficiency through controlled blasting during mining," International Journal of Min¬eral Processing, Vol. 47, p. 93). There is nothing unusual or significant about a 10% or more difference in grindability between two materials of apparently similar origin and other attributes (such as chemical assays, hardness and specific gravity). Consider also that: • the materials came from different locations in the pit; • only two sets of four blastholes were considered per blast: • spatial orientation with respect to the face and other blastholes was also altered; • only two pairs of data were collected; • the impact of sampling error and bias, • both of which could be significant in this case; and • normal experimental error in parameter measurement and calculation. It is clearly inappropriate to draw any conclusions with regard to cause-and-effect relationships without first presenting a thorough error analysis. A substantial number of randomly selected test and control areas might provide meaningful statistical evidence of the claimed effect of the variables being studied. Even that appears doubtful, however, because Figures 3 and 4 show about as much variation in crushing energy for the two "regular" conditions vs. regular and altered conditions. On a separate, but also important issue, broad experience with autogenous/semiautogenous milling has shown that smaller or weaker feed material results in reduced tonnage. ? Reply Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the comments of Messrs. Mclvor ant Fink. The points raised are addressed in the order of presentation. As the commenters noted, there are parallels between this article and a previous manuscript. The reason for these complementary articles is that the audiences for the two publications are different, although there is obviously some overlap. We believe that the different audiences each profit from the technical aspects of the two manuscripts. We are not in agreement that a grindability difference of 10% is insignificant. The laboratory work is corroborated by data obtained at plant scale, which confirms that an increase in throughput of the same magnitude (between 5% and 10%) is achieved when the blasting pattern is modified, i.e., reduced from 9 to 8 m (29.5 to 26.2 ft). This increase in throughput translates into substantial power savings for ore grinding. No differences in appearance in the rock were noted between the two adjacent areas. Rock in both areas belonged to the same rock mass/block, which was quite homogeneous and without geological features in between that could create drastic differences in comminution characteristics. Given the resources, we would have sampled from all of the holes. Additional data would certainly have been desirable, as would have been additional funding to expand the study. Their comment, "spatial orientation with respect to the face and other blastholes was also altered," is not clear. Figure 1 does not show the initiation sequence. Without the initiation sequence, we do not understand how the commenters concluded that spatial orientation with respect to the face and other blastholes was altered. The commenters may be trying to make the point that the four-hole configurations with respect to the original bench face are not exactly the same. In fragmenting the
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