Application of plasma arc torch technology for selective underground narrow-vein mining

2nd Int'l Symposium on Mining Techniques of Narrow-Vein Deposits
Jean-Marie Fecteau, Marcel Laflamme, Gill Champoux,
Abstract Today still, the use of chemical explosives is the only effective way of breaking hard rock. Hydro Québec and Natural Resources Canada have joined their expertise in the development of thermal rock fragmentation to selective narrow-vein ore extraction using an electrical powered plasma arc torch to break the rock.

So far, laboratory tests have been conducted on granite blocks. The results obtained were sufficient to convince each partner to move a step further and realised a technico-economical study. Upon having acquired a better knowledge of this technology, it seems that it presents a great potential for selective mining in underground hard rock operations.

This paper summarises the results obtained from laboratory tests using a plasma arc torch to break the rock. It also presents the anticipated the concept elaborated for the application of a plasma arc torch to selective ore extraction.
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