Prescriptive Blasting

CIM Montreal 2007
Jonathan Peck, Rodrick Guild,
Abstract Highland Valley Copper is a large open pit copper mine in the southern interior of British Columbia. Machine guidance technology using GPS has been utilized at the mine since 1996 for blast hole drill navigation and since 2000 for shovel and dozer navigation. Since 1997, rock recognition has been part of the drilling process. This allowed the mine to develop a Mine to Mill strategy using the rock hardness information from drill monitoring systems to both refine drilling and blasting parameters as well as downstream crushing and grinding strategies.

Although this preliminary effort has been very successful at Highland Valley Copper, the current intent is to gain further benefits through better use of existing information while also deriving an enhanced data set from monitoring production drills. In the latter case, the objective is to acquire and process drill variables in such a manner as to permit more detailed definition of rock mass characteristics. The subsequent focus will be to use the derived geotechnical and geological information as part of a practical process to more prescriptively blast the rock mass. Through the definition of domains based on drill monitored derived rock mass properties, the intent will be to enhance blast outcomes that lead to optimized downstream (from blasting through to concentration) processes in a more proactive and timely manner.

This paper will examine a proposed approach to be able to derive more accurate and consistent rock mass properties from production drilling. In addition, the discussion will identify potential benefits to be gained from process improvements that result in enhanced productivities, and crushing and grinding optimisation due to blasting strategies that are more closely matched to identified rock mass characteristics.
Keywords: Mine to mill, Open pit, Production, GPS, Drilling
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