HOW ELECTRONICS CAN RELEASE THE IMAGINATIONIt is self-evident that economic pressure demands that today’s mines stay ahead and stay competitive. The challenge, however, is to find fresh approaches in the quest to attain maximum efficiency and optimal operational effectiveness.
One such nascent approach is to consider the optimization of the whole value-adding process of mining rather than focusing on individual activities in isolation, a process that can lead to poor investment decisions in critical areas of operation.
This concept is oftencalled ‘mine to mill’. It is never easy to establish optimal relationshipsbetween different mining operations, but there is one aspect that affects all operations: the quality and consistency of fragmentation.
In many instancesan inability to control fragmentation during blasting has been unchallenged,leading to significant investment in time and money to manage the consequences of such variation.
This talk discusses the use of electronic detonators in providing a solution to poor and inconsistent primary blasting.
Electronically programmed detonators provide not only the ability to vary a key parameter, namely timing, but also the opportunity to extract blast data to improve subsequent blasts.
The current understanding of the effect oftiming, accuracy, and scatter on rock fragmentation is reviewed and offers reasons why there is significant progress in controlling blast results.
As greater certainty of blast results is achieved so it is possible to tune the outcome to optimize the performance of downstream processes.
The ability to predictably alter blasting variables, such as fragmentation, throw, wall stability, and vibration, using feedback from the downstream process, is
a huge advantage.
Two case studies are examined, which demonstrate the benefits of the technology on the economics of the operations under review.
DR. GYSBERT VAN ROOYEN LANDMAN
After graduating in 1983 from the University of Pretoria in mining engineering,