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Adjusting Initiation Direction to Domains of Rock Mass Discontinuities in Aitik Open Pit Mine


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Author A Beyglou, H Schunnesson, D Johansson and N Johansson


As demand for optimisation of mining processes increases, more attention is drawn to blast performance and fragmentation improvement. Fractures and discontinuities are among the most influential factors in blast results, therefore one of the initial steps towards blast optimisation is to gather information about the rock mass and integrate it in blast design. This paper presents a method for assessment of rock mass discontinuities and integrating it in production blasts in the Aitik open pit copper mine in Sweden.

3D photogrammetric techniques were utilised to map discontinuities and distinguish domains of similar geologic structures in the pit. As a pilot study for a future campaign, four different initiation directions were tested through six pilot blasts in one of the domains. The results were compared in terms of swell and loading efficiency of rope shovels to identify the correlation between blast performance and initiation direction compared to major discontinuity families.

It was established that in the trial domain, blasts initiated towards north or north-west yielded larger swell and better performance of loading. Comparing these blasts with discontinuity families show that there is a correlation between blast performance and initiation direction according to the dip and strike of these discontinuities. Such knowledge can be used for future blasts in the same domain to increase long-term operational efficiency through slight modifications in drill pattern and initiation design.


Beyglou, A, Schunnesson, H, Johansson, D and Johansson, N, 2015. Adjusting initiation direction to domains of rock mass discontinuities in Aitik open pit mine, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 385–392 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).