Blasting can impact the efficiency of entire downstream mining operation. Individual technology solutions for blasting have been available in the industry for many years but all of them only cater for certain aspects of blasting. Many of them are based on individual research and/or experiences. Some of the available software solutions are not suitable to be used in the field as that they need advanced skills or tools. Also, most do not take technology advancements like mobility, advanced data analytics, web solutions and integration into consideration. Hence, no technology platform is currently present in the industry that addresses all potential needs a blaster may need in an integrated manner.
This paper presents an integrated solution that takes care of all aspects of blasting – design blasts according to mine plan; collect data after drilling has been carried out (as there is often difference in designed and actual drilled hole locations in the field); predict blast results in terms of fragmentation, flyrock, ground and air vibrations, wave front reinforcement and flyrock distance; and after assessment, allows changes in charging, delay timing and sequence. The technology solution is a secure, cloud-hosted, web-based software-as-a-service solution that can be accessed from anywhere. Also it has a mobile app, which is available for both Android and iPhone/iPad. The mobile app is also integrated with the web-based solution using application programming interface calls to the central data repository.
Case studies for two limestone mines are presented where this solution is being used in its initial format. This software platform enabled analysis of the outcome from a previous blast pattern and then subsequently allowed optimisation of blasting operations based on historical data. Uses of this platform have resulted in improved key performance indicators in these two limestone mines. The mobile app as part of this platform enables extensive field blast data capture and analysis and also various predictions before a blast. Data collected include blast parameters, individual hole charging, initiation pattern, videos, photographs and vibration records for analysis/reporting. The key features of the solution are a blast designer, a detailed blast data collection/analysis and a series of environmental predictors. These predictors give blast results in terms of fragmentation, flyrock, ground and air vibrations and wave front reinforcement and take remedial steps before blasting to optimise and control adverse environmental impact. Many features, such as fragmentation predictor and mobility solution, are completely unique features that are not available elsewhere in such a field personnel-friendly manner.
Bhandari, S, Parihar, C, Garg, R and Bhandari, A, 2015. An integrated technology solution for optimised and environmentally-controlled blasts, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 393–400 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).