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Potential of the Overburden Cast Blasting Technique in Indian Surface Coalmines – A Modular Approach and its Financial Implications


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Author M D Uttarwar and R R Yerpude


India is the world’s third-largest producer of coal and is endowed with the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world. Surface mining straddles the entire domain of the Indian coal mining industry, yielding over 88 per cent of production. With continually rising domestic demands, it has to shoulder the responsibility of sustaining the requisite increase in coal production and chasing commensurate stripping targets. Such an ambitious task calls for the deployment of smart technologies. In such a demanding situation, cast blasting of overburden has emerged as a promising alternative for enhancing production and productivity of dragline pits.

The cast blasting technique reduces stripping costs significantly as it utilises the chemical energy of explosives in place of mechanical energy to move large volumes of overburden quickly. Proper application of cast blasting not only reduces overall mining costs but also increases coal production. This paper investigates and evaluates the potential of the cast blasting technique, with special reference to dragline pits employing the rehandle method of extended bench. The economic feasibility of the technique is also ensured under different scenarios so that considerable benefits would accrue to the individual surface coalmines. To underline the efficacy of the technique, different cast blasting models have been formulated under a range of operational and economic scenarios that resemble present day practices in India. In order to test for economic variability in the application of the technique, a risk analysis of all the formulated cast blasting models is performed using net present value.


Uttarwar, M D and Yerpude, R R, 2015. Potential of the overburden cast blasting technique in Indian surface coalmines – a modular approach and its financial implications, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 655–664 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).