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Modelling Full-scale Blast Heave with Three-dimensional Distinct Elements and Parallel Processing


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Author D S Preece, A Tawadrous, S A Silling and B Wheeler


The two key results of rock blasting are fragmentation and movement of geomaterials. Movement/flow of the blasted rock is often referred to as heave. Moving rock with explosives rather than mechanical equipment can improve mining efficiency. Such is the case with coalmine cast blasting. Controlling and directing rock movement through explosive deck delay timing can greatly improve ore recovery by segregating ore and waste. In both cases, understanding, predicting and controlling heave is an important element of successful blasting.

Computer programs for predicting 2D blasting-induced heave have been used in mining for decades, helping to drive the innovation of new and more efficient mining methods, ie cast blasting. The past few years have seen the advent of 3D distinct element modelling of blast-induced heave. This is an important advancement because most blasting situations are three-dimensional in nature, especially when controlling the direction and intensity of rock movement through explosive deck delay timing.

This paper documents the first full-scale blasting simulations in 3D with distinct element models that include hundreds of blastholes and in excess of a million particles, made possible with parallel processing. Surface mineral blasting is the focus of this study which treats the effect of blasthole delay timing on ore recovery. Ore waste and dilution resulting from typical row-on-row delay timing will be demonstrated. Also demonstrated will be the ore recovery possible with delay timing designs that significantly enhance ore/waste segregation. This type of high fidelity modelling and the use of electronic detonators makes possible the sculpting of rock blasting muck into separate piles of ore and waste.


Preece, D S, Tawadrous, A, Silling, S A and Wheeler, B, 2015. Modelling full-scale blast heave with three-dimensional distinct elements and parallel processing, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 127–136 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).