Many caving mines use numerical flow models to simulate mine production, forecast recovered ore grades and optimise the draw strategy. In sublevel caving (SLC) mines, the effects of blasting and fragmentation at an individual ring scale generally cannot be included in these models. Previous attempts to use results from marker recovery trials to calibrate numerical flow models have been limited due to difficulties in accounting for blasting effects at a ring scale. This paper outlines how an empirical criterion for blasting and fragmentation was used to attribute variable flow properties into a numerical flow model based on the blast design and modelled fragmentation. The flow model was then validated using data from a number of full scale marker recovery experiments. The result of this approach was a significant improvement in forecast accuracy when compared against the same modelled cave marker recovery without the inclusion of these blasting effects. Improvements in the flow model are currently being adopted within the mine scale model to further improve the accuracy of grade forecasting, optimise the draw strategy and increase net present value. The integrated modelling approach is also being used to simulate the effects of different drill and blast designs on cave recovery. It is suggested that, if implemented, the technique would lead to improved blast designs in other SLC mines, increase the value of marker trial data and reduce costs associated with large scale blast design trials.
Campbell, A D and Power, G R, 2017. Improving calibration of flow models against SLC marker trials by linking blasting effects to particle mobility, in Proceedings 13th AusIMM Underground Operators' Conference 2017, pp 11–22 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).