Goncalves, CG & Naidoo, V 2009, 'Electronic detonators and the Gautrain rapid rail project', in PM Dight (ed.), Proceedings of the First International Seminar on Safe and Rapid Development Mining
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 173-179.
The Gautrain rapid rail link project is currently Africa’s largest infrastructure project connecting South
Africa’s major airport (or Tambo), Johannesburg and Pretoria. Phase 1 is planned for completion in time
for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and involves 80 km of track and 15 km of underground tunnels. The
key blasting issues revolve around maximising advance and improving blasting cycles to meet the tight
deadlines as well as environmental control in tunnel blasting which, in some cases takes place only 15 m
below the city infrastructure.
To achieve success, DetNet South Africa supplied a range of electronic detonator systems to cater for the
different blasting applications involved (tunnels, portals, shafts and viaduct foundations). One such product,
QuickShot, was used for the first time in a major civil engineering project and has been used for every tunnel
blast to date since.
The QuickShot system combines pre-programmed electronic detonators with special on-face components
that enable the user to quickly and easily design the firing sequence solely by using the order of connections.
This precludes the user from having to deal in absolute delay times. The connecting system enables faces to
be hooked-up speedily by multiple users who have differing levels of experience.
This paper provides details of how, after 26 months, the system has been embraced by the project by aiding
in maximised advances, improved cycle times and meeting the required environmental constraints.
Tose, S.J. (2003) Tunnel blasting handbook, African Explosives Limited publication, pp. 3–27.
Tose, S.J. (2007) Guidelines for the control of airblast for Gautrain project, Gautrain bulletin, May 2007, pp. 16–21.
Electronic detonators and the Gautrain rapid rail project C.G. Goncalves and V. Naidoo
180 SRDM 2009, Perth, Australia