The use of explosives in mining began in Hungary in 1627. Black powder was used initially, until dynamite was invented. The majority of developments in the field of explosives have taken place over the past 150 years, and today there are a large variety of products available, suited to various on-site conditions. A significant number of technical papers have focused on blast design, explosive selection, blast optimisation, cost analysis, environmental impacts, and safety. Included in past research, and documents of the current mines, is significant work on risk management and assessment for blasting operations. However, there is little published or available to show the statistics of the explosives used in Australian mines and quarries. This thesis investigates the statistics of usage, purpose, consequences and outcomes of explosives and blasting operations in various mines and quarries.
A questionnaire was developed to survey a selection of mines (coal, metalliferous, open-cut and underground) and quarries to gather such explosive-related information. The data collected from the responses to the survey form the basis of this research work. The topics examined include explosive products and accessories used, blast design and optimisation practices, as well as safety and environmental issues.