Contour blasting is commonly performed by employing linear charges decoupled from the boreholes. This method is common in surface and underground excavations, either for civil or mining purposes. To achieve the best results in terms of rock breakage and respect of the excavation profile, blasting theory suggests that charges should be inserted coaxial to the holes to grant uniform distribution of the explosive energy, therefore obtaining a uniform radius of damage. Nonetheless, due to readiness of operations or lack of availability of specific products on the market, non-coaxial charges are often employed in blasting practice. Non-coaxial charging methods include the employ of high-power detonating cord (40 to 100 g/m), low-power detonating cord connecting small-diameter cartridges (commonly 10 g/m detonating cord priming 1” cartridges) or string loading (a thin layer of bulk emulsion pumped with controlled flow and controlled extraction of the injecting rod). This research focuses on evaluating the effects of the first two charging methods on the quality of final walls in open pit and underground operations. Different drilling geometries and charging configurations were applied to both quarrying and tunnelling blasts. The half-cast factor, the overbreak and the underbreak were evaluated as control indicators. Rock quality designation and rock mass rating were used to classify the rock mass. The research was aimed to push contour blasts to their limits, observing for which geometry and charge configuration the blast lost its design threshold with respect to the final wall for every given rock mass. Results show the operational limits of non-coaxial charges encountered in the rock masses object of this study. In good-quality rock, smooth blasting with decoupled linear charge of 40 g/m can be extended to a spacing S = 22Øf with little or no detectable drawbacks in terms of final wall quality, in contrast with theoretical formulae for the determination of the radius of damage. On the other hand, when the rock is poor, any quality of the final wall is hardly achieved at all, in spite of any care in the details of execution of smooth blasting. It is concluded that any design criterion and theoretical approach modelling the effects of contour blasting cannot ignore the features of the rock mass.
Seccatore, J, Golin, F, Cardu, M, Munaretti, E, Bettencourt, J and Koppe, J C, 2015. Evaluating the effects of non-coaxial charges for contour blasting, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 267–278 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).