To assess the present-day functionality of large-scale sublevel caving at LKAB Kiruna a comprehensive measurement program was undertaken involving blast function, fragmentation and gravity flow. As part of this assessment, a fragmentation measurement trial was performed based on 3D imaging of the drawpoint and corresponding bucket load of the underground load-haul-dump (LHD) excavator. 3D image data from stereo photogrammetry was collected and an automated image analysis strategy developed. A number of data sets were collected for each of the drawpoint and LHD bucket, along with sieving results for four of the LHD bucket loads (totally about 70 t). Two of the sieving results were used to inform the automated image analysis strategy, and two were held back as a comparison. Large variations in the visible particles are apparent when comparing corresponding drawpoints and LHD buckets highlighting the impact of sampling location and the need to measure large quantities of data in order to avoid bias from small samples. The results show that 3D imaging and analysis can produce fully automated measurement and analysis of the visible particle size distribution. Although this is not the same as the sieve-size distribution it provides useful estimation of both the larger size classes and a bulk estimate of fine material below approximately 60 mm. The 3D stereo photogrammetry measurement system used produced very high 3D point density but this was achieved using a custom up-sampling technique which significantly smoothed the data, removing small particles, smoothing edges, and this negatively affected the particle delineation algorithms.
Thurley, M J, Wimmer, M and Nordqvist, A, 2015. Blast fragmentation measurement based on three-dimensional imaging in sublevel caving drawpoints and underground excavator buckets at LKAB Kiruna, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 763–774 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).