Thermal Rock Breaking - Application in Narrow-Vein Extraction

CIM Vancouver 2002
Donald Brisebois, Jean-Marie Fecteau, Marcel Laflamme, Sylvie Poirier,
Abstract This paper focuses on new development regarding thermal rock breaking applications. The technology consists in a powerful burner supplied with diesel fuel. The thermal reaction created allows for the enlargement of 5" to 6 1/2" holes by breaking the rock in a spalling effect. It has been used for over 30 years in Russian open pit mining. Following an agreement between F. Gilbert Ltd and the owner of the technology, major improvements have been brought to the technology allowing for the fabrication of a prototype suitable for the Canadian industry.
The actual usage of thermal rock breaking is to drill large diameter holes for surface mining. Having acquired a better knowledge of this technology, it seems to present a great potential for selective mining in narrow-vein operations, from either surface or underground mining.
Rocmec International Inc. and Natural Resources Canada are technical partners in the evaluation of the operational parameters as well as environmental aspects such as gas, heat and fog emission. Canada Economic Development is a major financial partner in the project.
The paper explains the technology behind thermal rock breaking. Secondly, the preliminary results obtained from field tests are presented. Explanations of the foreseen applications for the surface and underground selective mining are also given. Finally, the economical evaluations for the proposed mining applications are detailed.
Keywords: thermal rock, narrow-vein, Extraction, breaking
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