One common problem for blasting in iron ore mines with significant weathering is the occurrence of large blocks of hard rock mixed with softer material. This situation causes a problem for blasting design and sometimes produces large boulders of rock that require a secondary blasting, as well as excavation difficulties. To minimise this situation, geophysical techniques were used to identify the hardest material amid the weathered material. To study the problem, seismic, ground penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity and induced polarisation (IP) methods were used in an intensely weathered Brazilian iron ore deposit. The methods of GPR combined with IP, resistivity and seismic showed to be effective in modelling the contrast among hard, friable materials and soil. The results were used to improve the geological model and create more favourable conditions for the subsequent blast design. The blast design based on geophysical/geological models resulted in significant improvement in the fragmentation of the iron ore. This was achieved by the adoption of a specific drilling pattern for a given geological situation. With the new specialised blasting design the formation of boulders was eliminated.
Vieira, L and Koppe, J C, 2015. Geophysical techniques applied to blasting design, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 289–294 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).