The aim of this research project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a blast optimisation project at BMA’s Gregory open cut mine site, suggest possible improvements, and identify opportunities by exploring the economics of the blasting operations. It also explored the application of electronic detonators to the cast blasting method and their likely impact on cast performance.
Cast blasting is used by the operation to move a proportion of the overburden to the final spoil pile. The project was suggested and facilitated by Dyno Nobel, the blast contractor on site.
Aims of the project were to:
• Reduce coal loss,
• Maintain or increase cast per cent,
• Maintain or increase dig rates (Dyno Nobel 2005).
The industry is expected to be interested in the project because of the large impact that blasting has on the economics of coal mining operations by virtue of its affect on coal recovery, quality, dilution and equipment and mine site productivity and cost.
Due to inaccuracies and deficiencies in the information that resulted from the trial blasts it was not possible to draw any solid conclusions. However the concepts that the trials used appear to be sound and worthy of further investigation by operations wishing to get better results from their mine.