Blasting Designed for the Future

Blasting is the first step in the chain of comminution processes to remove the ore and prepare it for a marketable product. Given the ever rising operating and capital cost experience at mines, operators in the future must consider the total cost picture associated with mining and milling, and the impact on environment. The objective will be to minimize the total cost and the impacts to the environment.

Since drilling and blasting is the first step, all implications on downstream operations must be considered including fragmentation effects on the subsequent unit operations of mining and milling. This is the purpose of Drill to Mill blast optimization. The cost of energy is continuing to escalate as is the social demand to minimize power consumption to reduce the impact of carbon emissions at the generating source.

The paper will describe the methodology of identifying total power consumption and how the blasting design and fragmentation results can have an impact. Predictive models and measuring systems are used in actual practices to validate the effect of drill to mill blast optimization on total power consumption. The principle of minimizing total power can be applied to greenfield designs and to enhancing existing operation.

This paper will discuss how fragmentation and softening of individual fragments affects crushing and grinding. The energy savings and cost reduction associated with optimized blasting will be discussed. Throughput effects of drill to mill will also be discussed. The paper discusses the requirements of blast design to achieve the desired optimization and the distribution of energy consumption throughout the drill to mill system. Finally, the paper discusses current status of drill to mill blasting and what the future may look like.
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