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Stope Blast Vibration Analysis at Dugald River Underground Mine


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Author R Hassell, E Villaescusa, R de Vries and J Player


Concerns regarding the uncertainty of stope dilution at MMG Dugald River Underground Mine led to a trial stoping program to acquire full-scale comprehensive geotechnical information and to test the validity of the geotechnical and mining parameters. Given that stope production drilling and blasting is a key parameter that influences dilution a detailed stope blast vibration project was implemented. The stoping trial consisted of 19 stopes, a combination of both sublevel open stoping and longitudinal and transverse stopes, of which five were monitored for blast vibrations.

The blast vibration project utilised 20 triaxial geophones and five triaxial accelerometers installed in the hanging wall of five monitored stopes. For each stope fired, full blast waveforms were recorded along with detailed information of the blast design. Analysis of the blast vibrations used the Holmberg-Persson approach, with potential damage determined by the relative (Holmberg-Persson) K values.

The project identified the benefit of parallel, breakthrough slot holes in reducing blast vibration damage. The results show that radial rings toeing or stabbing into the stope wall lead to higher vibrational energy yield which contributed to increased overbreak. Hanging wall overbreak, by comparison, with parallel, breakthrough blastholes with 1 m standoff, combined with lower density explosive charging (0.8 EP) and increased delays limited blast vibration damage. A number of ring burdens from 1.4 m to 2.5 m were monitored with no difference in terms of energy yield being identified. Changes to the stope drill and blast design are suggested to better control the large blast vibrations and recommendations from this project have been implemented into future mine design and planning.


Hassell, R, Villaescusa, E, de Vries, R and Player, J, 2015. Stope blast vibration analysis at Dugald River Underground Mine, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 221–232 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).