Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Based Explosives and Reactive Ground Awareness

CIM Montreal 2015
D. Scott Scovira (Orica)
In recent years several mines have experienced incidents of fuming blast holes and/or unexpected detonations resulting from reactions between ammonium nitrate (AN) based explosives and certain sulfide bearing grounds. This interaction is not a new phenomenon, however, many mine personnel may not recognize the condition while it is occurring in the field, or be aware of the high potential incident hazard presented.

Raising mine personnel awareness and recognition of reacting blast holes is paramount to quickly enacting emergency response procedures, managing the reaction event until it is completed, and then returning the mine to safe operation.

An review of the chemistry between ammonium nitrate (AN) based explosives, sulfide bearing ground, and catalytic conditions is presented. Site specific ground testing methodology and interpretation is discussed. A checklist of mine site conditions is detailed to aid in assessing field conditions where potential ammonium nitrate (AN) based explosives and reactive ground hazards may exist. Examples and images of actual field incidents are provided to serve as an aid in recognizing reacting blast holes. Guidelines are included to assist in developing site specific emergency response and incident management procedures.
Mots clés : Management, Testing, Awareness, Procedures, Reactive Ground, Ammoninium Nitrate, Recogition, Assessment
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