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Underground Stope Drill and Blast Designs Optimisation Program


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Author D Roy, T Williams and C Preston


The easiest way to mine valuable orebodies is through the use of explosives and well-planned blasting layouts that produce fragmentation profiles designed specifically for conveyance equipment in underground mines. The design of blasting patterns is specific to not only the explosives being used but also the rock or ore type being fragmented. Many blasting designs are based solely on the experience of those developed for similar orebodies in terms of properties and orientation or individuals that have some blasting experience.

The primary technical objective of this paper is to outline a unique methodology for determining underground blasting methodologies (developing specific blasting parameters) commensurate with explosive energies and rock/ore equations of state for a narrow-vein gold property located in Northern Quebec and for underground mines in general.

The procedures developed are to define the desired fragmentation specification so that a specific thermodynamic break is generated, taking into account powder factor, energy factor, tonnages, explosive energies and distribution along with blasthole diameter and orebody orientation for a specific set of explosive and dynamic rock/ore properties. Determining dynamic modulus values for the ore using seismic sensors to measure P- and S-wave velocities, the aforementioned parameters will be utilised to set the design constraints to maximise recovery and minimise overbreak and dilution.

New underground blasting software (AEGIS) will use thermodynamic break in conjunction with defined fragmentation profiles to create an array of blasting parameters used to design and plan ring layouts. This software will also allow mining planners, prior to drilling and loading a production blast, to appraise future intended blasting patterns to minimise the potential of diluting ore with host rock and the likelihood of damaging mine support structures.


Roy, D, Williams, T and Preston, C, 2015. Underground stope drill and blast designs optimisation program, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 137–148 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).