In the mining industry, rock blasting can be considered as the first phase of comminution. The downstream phases of comminution are mechanical, and consist in consecutive stages of crushing and milling for grain size reduction. The total energy of mechanical comminution depends on grain size and on the resistance of the material to grindability. Usually, the first is quantified by the grain size distribution or one of its KPIs (such as the diameters X50 or X80), while the latter by the working index (WI), representing the amount of energy necessary to reduce the size of grains of a determined amount of material to the desired equivalent diameter (usually expressed in kilowatt hours per tonne – kWh/t). It is widely recognised that it is possible to manage the output of a blast in terms of grain size distribution varying specific charge (powder factor – PF) and charge distribution; specific algorithms such as the KUZ-RAM or the SWEBREC have been created to predict such output. It has also been demonstrated how higher PFs weaken the blasted material by creating micro-fractures that reduce its WI. This paper focuses on a related aspect: the influence of charge distribution on the specific comminution energy in crushing and milling. Small-scale blasts have been performed on 14 marble blocks with different PFs and charge distribution. For every PF, charges have been designed to simulate concentrated and distributed geometries. Concentrated charges simulate opencast blasts with large-diameter holes, with large burdens and spacings. Distributed charges simulate bench blasts with small-diameter holes and reduced burden and spacing. Three control blocks have been fragmented by mechanical means for comparison. For every sample the grain size distribution and the WI in ball mill has been determined. Results show the correlations between charge distributions and the specific energy of mechanical comminution in milling. Finally, the opportunity of adjusting charge diameters and distributions in opencast blasts to improve the output of the comminution circuits is discussed.
Seccatore, J, Romero Huerta, J, Sadao, G, Cardu, M, Galvão, F, Finoti, L, Rezende, A, Bettencourt, J and De Tomi, G, 2015. The influence of charge distribution on the grindability of the blasted material, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 749–754 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).