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Higher Energy Bulk Explosives – Matching Products to Rock Types Using an Energy Map Concept


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Author D Wilkinson, G Rigby, J Norgard and S Thomson


Bulk explosives provide the energy to move a rock mass and reduce it to an optimal size (fragmentation). The intensity of energy needed depends on several factors including a customer’s geology and end objectives. An energy mapping tool has been developed to help customers to determine their bulk explosive needs based on these objectives.

At one end of the energy map dealing with high-energy products, a new range of bulk explosives products for surface mining have been developed. With these products, it is possible to provide blast designs with up to nearly triple the relative bulk strength (RBS) of ANFO, and address primary focus areas for mining operations, including the reduction of drill and blast costs, improvements in production rates, better face advance through improved broken stock management, better drill productivity, improved milling efficiency and lower energy costs in surface mines.

In this paper, field trial results from the first level of new high-energy products are presented. These products have an RBS 2.25 times that of ANFO. Industry variations of a smaller diameter (89 mm) pumped product for civil quarrying applications, and for large diameter (311 mm) hard-rock metalliferous mines are presented. For both cases, the run-of-mine fragmentation levels obtained with the new bulk explosives are contrasted with the fragmentation profile generated with the currently accepted product range applied in similar geological conditions. The new products show increased fragmentation across the measured size distribution, with reduction in P50 values of 20 and 37 per cent over the currently used product for the 311 mm and 89 mm diameter blastholes respectively.


Wilkinson, D, Rigby, G, Norgard, J and Thomson, S, 2015. Higher energy bulk explosives – matching products to rock types using an energy map concept, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 579–584 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).