Authors: Sellers, EJ; Salmi, EF

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DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2035_0.03

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Sellers, EJ & Salmi, EF 2020, 'Breaking new ground: challenges and opportunities for maximising value from underground blasting', in J Wesseloo (ed.), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 47-76, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/2035_0.03

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Abstract:
The challenges of underground mining operations have discouraged mine-to-mill value optimisation to maximise metal production by tailoring fragmentation for plant throughput. Improved and automated blasting techniques are required for modern remote, deeper, and highly stressed operations. The definition of value is changing with investors seeking environmental, social, and governance measures, as well as the traditional revenue and net present value approaches. In this paper, analyses of blasting from a range of underground operations are used to highlight the current challenges. Demonstration of how the lack of sufficient and appropriate continuous, 3D measurement of important properties such as blastability, in situ structures, hole deviation, and fragmentation aligned with the limited insights into the effect of mininginduced stresses show how current approaches can often lead to overbreak, dilution, production delays, the lack of excavation stability, and poor plant performance. The real-time fusion of data to recalibrate and monitor the continuously changing environment is required. On the horizon, there is a suite of new technologies such as wireless detonators, nitrate-free explosives, robotic operations, and cognitive spatial management that will enable a new generation of mining methods. These include in-place operations and inmine recovery where the material movement and the environmental footprint of mining operations is reduced whilst extraction is optimised, and productivity and excavation stability increased.

Keywords: blasting, geotechnical, rock mass, mine, value, optimisation, technology

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