Blast-induced rock damage and optimized blast design in a hard-rock mine
Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration
, 2014, Vol. 336, No. 1, pp. 435-440
An analysis was conducted to determine the effects of blasting on slope stability and downstream comminution processes. To investigate these effects, the extent of blast-induced rock damage and the magnitude of induced stress were examined. This analysis showed that damage may extend up to 500 m (1 MPa, tensile strength) into the rock mass, a distance that is sufficient to have an impact on the pitscale slope over the long term. In addition, the damage zone was calculated using the assumption that compressive waves are the primary agent in microfracturing during blast fragmentation. The calculated damage zone — up to 2.2 m (43 MPa, rock mass compressive strength) — indicates that microfracturing can occur throughout 20-50% of the entire rock mass in the blasting area, depending on the blast geometry, burden and spacing. Finally, an economic analysis was conducted by comparing two assumed blasts in a copper mine. The change in energy required for crushing and grinding was demonstrated using Bond’s law after increasing the blast energy from 180 kcal/t to 350 kcal/t. A total cost saving of 13.3% ($9.4M) was achieved with the increase. However, the benefits of blast-induced microfracturing must be balanced against the potential impacts to slope stability to ensure safe conditions, a top priority in mining operations.