Blast optimization and stability enhancement through geotechnical mapping at Highland Valley Copper

Poor fragmentation, high toe areas, excessive shovel wear and tear and frequent re-drilling and blasting of certain tough waste rock zones in the Lornexpit in the early 1980s necessitated a better understanding of these zones.
A combination of geotechnical mapping, penetration rate data, toe elevation contouring and observations on shovel and drill performance were used to determine the character and extent of these zones. This complementary information was brought together by the geotechnical mapper and the explosives supervisor. Distinct zones with particular geological characteristics were determined. A classification system with three types of blast and dig-ability was developed for the Lornex pit and later applied to the Valley pit, with considerable success. The three blast zone types are called "poor", "fair", and "good". This system will be described in detail.
The explosives supervisor adjusted the blasting parameters to each zone, in particular, pattern spacing and burden. The resulting powder factors showed considerable variation between the poor, fair and good zones within each pit as well as between the two pits. Pattern geometry and length of collar were also adjusted to improve fragmentation.
Cost savings resulted from less re-drilling and less wear and tear on drills and shovels in the poor zones and more efficient use of explosives in all the zones. An annual estimated cost savings of well in excess of $1,000,000 is realized at Highland Valley Copper. A by-product of the mapping was the determination of unstable structures and water flowing zones. Blasting was then adapted to this information for enhanced slope stability.
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Summary: The annual onslaught of provincial budgets and tax changes is complete, and once again the Canadian taxpayer is being asked to dig deeper into his pocket to fund old and new programs. It is noteworthy that 1987 tax reform promised lower taxes, but a broader tax base. Five years later, we still have the broader tax base, but the lower taxes have gradually crept up to pretax reform levels. Surprise! Surprise!
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): Robert B. Parsons
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: This paper reviews tailings management at Highland Valley Copper, and outlines main features of its tailings storage facility enclosed between the H-H and L-L dams. Key management focusses are: energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, safety and integrity of the tailings impoundment, environmental protection, and reclamation after decommissioning. Main features of the tailings facility include: high international standards for seismic and flood design criteria, water management and water...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): M.D. Scott,R.C. Lo
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: The potential benefits of measuring the volume of excavated open stope are enormous. By comparing the actual excavation of the orebody contour, it is possible to determine the "real" amount of mining dilution, as well as the ore left in place. Noranda Technology Centre (NTC) has developed a stope survey system that allows for rapid and efficency measurement of underground excavation volumes. The system comprises a commercial laser (EDM), a set of lightweight rigid rods, an automated...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): Fabien Miller, Yves Potvin, Denis Jacob
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: A 3-dimensional finite element model for stress/stability analysis of rock excavations in underground mines is presented. Developed for use on personal computer under OS/2 operating system, the model employs the 8-node isoparametric brick element and accounts for such loading conditions as in situ stresses and gravity loading of the rock mass. In addition, modelling of backfill in mine slopes as in situ stress-free material is incorporated. Material failure is assessed by Mohr-Coulomb or...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): L. Zhang, H.S. Mitri
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: Highland Valley Copper is a large volume producer of copper and molybdenum concentrates. Production is by conventional truck and shovel operation combined with an extensive ore handling in-pit crushing and conveying system.
Grade of the two orebodies is low at 0.4% copper and 0.007% molybdenum and this demands a production rate in excess of 260 000 tpd at a stripping ratio of 1:1. Mining cost has to be kept at minimum levels to keep the mine profitable and thus, it is necessary to keep in the...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): A. David MacPhail
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: This paper focusses on the strength or capacity of cable bolts and introduces a new perspective for cable bolt design by demonstrating that mining-induced stress changes may affect cables in a detrimental manner. The concept underlying a novel cable bolt pull-out resistance or bond capacity model is described and its practical significance is demonstrated by application to a simple two-dimensional scenario of a fall-of-ground.
A number of practical implications emerging from the application...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): P.K. Kaiser, S. Maloney, S. Yazici
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: A laboratory and field research program was conducted to investigate the major factors influencing bond capacity of grouted cable bolts. The results indicate that cable bolt capacity most critically depends on the grout uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), the radial confinement, and the embedment length.
In the laboratory 'split-pipe' tests were conducted using PVC, aluminum and steel pipes to provide radial confinement, and field test sites were chosen in granite, limestone and shale rock...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): R.D. Reichert, W.F. Bawden, A.J. Hyett
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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Summary: In mid-1986, a world-class mining enterprise was created in Highland Valley, British Columbia, bringing together the copper mining operations of Lornex and Cominco. In 1988, Highmont joined the new partnership.
Highland Valley Copper is the largest copper mine in North America in terms of both tonnage mined and tonnage milled, and it is one of the largest in the world. Due to its relatively low ore grade its production of copper in concentrate ranks about ninth in the Western World. The...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): Poul Hansen
Issue: 962
Volume: 85
Year: 1992
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