NEW AFTON MINE: BLASTING IMPROVEMENTS

World Mining Congress
New Afton mine is an 11,000 tonne per day block caving operation, located 8 km west of the city of Kamloops, British Columbia. Due to the nature of block caving and the weak rock mass at New Afton, the mine has faced and overcome many blasting challenges during its ramp-up to commercial production. As New Afton Mine continues to grow the demand for drill and blast precision has continued to grow as well; any misstep incurs delays in achieving full production capacity. The block cave mining method used at New Afton employs single-shot draw-bells, fired with very little void and blind undercutting, allowing little margin for error. New Afton has made continuous improvements to its blasting strategy by reacting quickly to real-time problems and employing sustainable, repeatable solutions to overcome its unique blasting requirements. Examples of these solutions include: increasing blast hole diameter, casing production drill holes, developing pre-loading procedures and developing strategies for remotely blasting under-broken remnants in both draw-bells and undercutting. Increasing the blast hole diameter has alleviated initial problems with hole plugging in the highly jointed rock mass at New Afton. This has reduced drill-cleaning time significantly and enabled New Afton to meet blasting targets. PVC hole casing was trialed when blasting in extremely fractured ground, where drill holes continually plugged. The casing allowed the drill holes to remain open long enough to load and blast.
Keywords: Blast; Drill; Drills; Production; blasting; Drilling; Afton Mine; Afton Mines; Mines;
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