Application of Millisecond Blasting in Driving Tunnels

In 1951, the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation, as part of a programme of modernization in their coal mining operations at Sydney Mines and Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, undertook the development of two large cross-measure tunnels, which were to be used for the purpose of raising the coal from the underground workings by conveyor belts direct to wash plants located on the surface. These tunnels were to reach from the surface to central loading points underground located at a depth of 600 and 900 feet, respectively. They were to be driven on a pitching gradient of 11 degrees to the horizontal, and they were to r each a length of 3,600 feet in the Sydney Mines area and 10,000 feet in the Glace Bay area. The longer tunnel, 19 feet in diameter, was driven a distance of 1,500 feet and, for domestic reasons, bas not yet been completed. The other tunnel, in the Sydney Mines area, 18 feet in diameter, is steel supported and concreted throughout its entire length. This tunnel has been completed and will be in operation at an early date. The development of this particular tunnel posed an additional problem, as the rock through wl1ich it had to pass was considered to be water-bearing. In the sinking of Princess Colliery shafts in 1866, a great deal of water had been encountered, and it had been necessary, while sinking, to line the shaft with cast-iron tubbing through the water-bearing strata. The shaft l1ad to be lined for a depth of 300 feet at the upper end. It was anticipated that we would meet witl1 difficulty in driving the tunnel through this strata.
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