Implementing a process improvement plan for blasting can improve downstream operations

By Anthony Konya and Dr. Calvin Konya

Drilling and blasting is a complex process, which in many situations is not given the full emphasis it deserves in process development and controlling the costs throughout the mine. For example, the blasting process dictates muck pile configuration, which affects shovel and loader fill factors. The fill factor of the shovel determines how many trucks are required on-site, how fast those trucks can be loaded and the truck fill factor. The fragmentation of the blast also impacts the crushing costs and leaching efficiency. The overbreak of the blast influences slope stability, slope steepness, pit safety and scaling costs. The blasting process affects every aspect of the operation and poor blasting can lead to millions of dollars in direct costs and tens of millions in indirect costs at larger operations.
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