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Bench Blast Modeling

Bench Blast Modeling

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Published by: Muwafaq2002 on Oct 08, 2008
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07/17/2013

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1ABSTRACTThe ability to accurately model the movement of gradeboundaries during a typical bench blast would be of significant benefit to mine operators. The movement of grade boundaries during the blasting process may havesignificant impact on grade recovery if not accounted for.The paper describes the preliminary stages of a researchproject which combines numerical blast models andconventional mine planning software to allow practicaluse of the results of a numerical blast simulation. A twodimensional bench blast is simulated using the UniversalDistinct Element Code (UDEC). The results of thesimulation are used to provide input to the Surpac mineplanning package which can be used to generate gradecontrol plans.INTRODUCTIONComputer simulation of open pit bench blastingcontinues to present a significant challenge to the miningindustry. Several models have been developed whichallow some visualization of burden movement as a resultof a typical open pit bench blast, (Chung et al. 1994;Minchinton and Lynch 1996; Scott et al. 1996; Jorgensonand Chung 1987). In general these codes are not widelyavailable and in some cases their distribution is limitedfor competitive reasons. Since 1993 the MiningEngineering Department at the Mackay School of Mineshas been investigating the use of “off the shelf” numericalmodeling software for use in bench blast modeling.Previous work (Gilbride 1995) demonstrates that it ispossible to model bench blast movement to some degreeusing codes such as Itasca’s Universal Distinct ElementCode, UDEC. The blast model used in this paper islargely based on work by Gilbride. In associated work,the possibility of measuring and predicting grademovement in a bench blast has been investigated byseveral workers, (Zhang 1994; Harris 1997).Grade Control
For many mining and explosives companies, theultimate goal of blast modeling research is the ability todesign a new blast and view the results in terms of burdenmovement and fragmentation without the need for fieldtrials. In addition to fragmentation and heave, the abilityto model blast movement will allow the engineer topredict the movement of grade boundaries and othergeologic features such as rock structure. For the majorityof open pit gold mines in the Western United States, thereis no geologic distinction between ore and waste rock.Blast hole sampling is used to determine grade boundariesprior to a given pattern being fired. As a result, gradecontrol practice includes attempts to minimize rock movement during the blast, allowing pre blast gradeboundaries to be used as dig limits on the resultingmuckpile. This paper describes a preliminary attempt touse a mine planning software suite, Surpac, in transferringblast model data into usable mine planning information.UDEC MODELA blast model (Figure 1.) has been constructed usingUDEC. The model represents a single hole bench blast intwo dimensions and is based on blast designs typical tothe Nevada gold mining industry. Table 1 belowdescribes relevant blast geometry as applied in the model.
PropertyValue
Bench Height7 mBurden3 mBlast Hole Diameter170 mmStemming Length2 mSub Drill1 mTable 1. Blast geometry and rock properties.Two joint sets are included in the model, the firstdipping at 15
o
into the bench and the second dipping at45
o
towards the free face. The joints are considered to becohesion less with a friction angle of 20
o
, the blocks arenon deformable and the joint stiffness values are specifiedat 1000 GPa, in order to prevent block penetrations whichcause the model to crash.The UDEC model is capable of modeling both theshock wave and gas pressure effects of the blast on therock mass. Incorporating gas pressurization and hence a
Bench Blast Modeling Using Numerical Simulation and Mine PlanningSoftware
I.R. FirthD.L. Taylor
Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno. U.S.A.
 
2fluid flow algorithm in the code requires significantlylonger run times for the model.Figure 1. Basic UDEC blast model.For the purposes of the paper, an internal stressboundary was applied to the blast hole walls, with nosubsequent gas pressure loading. The boundary conditionmagnitude decays over time, approximating thedissipation of explosive energy throughout the rock massas the blast progresses.Blasthole PressureA Blasthole pressure of 100 MPa has been used in themodel. Discussion of blast hole pressure in the literaturesuggests a wide range of values, often depending onindividual model requirements. Preece and Knudsen1991 suggest a value of 10 GPa as the maximumexplosion pressure for ANFO, while Potyondy et al.,1996, use a maximum pressure of 130 MPa.It is noted that the current model in its described statewill not infact completely model the movement of abench blast to the point at which the rock blocks arecompletely at rest. The run time required for such amodel, when incorporating a gas flow algorithm, wouldbe measured in terms of days or weeks, even using amoderately powerful desktop PC. There are alsoconcerns over the numerical stability of UDEC whenblock separations become significant relative to the model(Gilbride 1995).SURPAC INTEGRATIONGeneral ApproachThe next step in the process is to integrate the resultsfrom the UDEC model into Surpac, an integrated minedesign package produced by Surpac SoftwareInternational Pty Ltd. Redcliffe, Western Australia. Thegeneral approach is to take a file of the coordinates of theUDEC elements and generate closed strings in Surpac.The strings can then be classified by reference to theirlocation in a block model database, allowing correlationwith properties such as rock type, grade, ownership etc.These properties can then be tracked as the blastprogresses.The UDEC model is run for a specific number of timesteps, to allow significant block movements to occur. Themodel is then halted and, using standard instructionsembedded in the UDEC command language, the locationof the centroid of each block in the model is written to atext file, the location of the corners of each block in themodel are written to a separate text file. This processcontinues, generating these files at predeterminedrepresentative time steps throughout the blast.After the UDEC simulation has been completed, thecentroid and corner files are processed through an Excelspreadsheet using Visual Basic macros to produce commadelimited files for input to Surpac. Macros written forSurpac then process these files into Surpac string files,with each block from the original simulation generating aclosed string. At this point the string files can beassociated with attributes from a block model of thedeposit, for visualization of the movement of criticalcomponents through the blast.ResultsFor this study a simple classification was used tosimulate a stratified gold deposit, the strata planes runningparallel to the 15
o
dipping joints. The deposit is separatedinto three zones: the upper zone represents a low grade,heap leach ore, the middle zone a high-grade, mill oreand the lowest zone is assumed to be waste. A typicalapproach to mining these two zones might be to use twoshort benches to avoid mixing of the ores and therebysignificantly increasing mining costs or, alternatively, theplan might be to just use an average grade and either shipdiluted ore to the mill or high grade to the heaps, eitherincreasing the processing costs or decreasing recovery.In any case, the two horizontal ore zones can causeproblems for the ore control engineer.The following four figures show the movement of thebedded strata through the simulated blast. Figure 2.shows the in-situ material prior to detonation. Figure 5.shows the material after 10,000 cycles of the UDECmodel. While this last figure is not the final resting placeof the blasted material (due to time constraints in theUDEC model), it does indicate a horizontal segregation of the low-grade and high-grade ores in the resulting muck pile. If this were in fact verifiable, it would allow the twozones to be loaded separately for different processing andpossibly avoiding some of the problems inherent inhorizontal zones.Figures such as these, can allow the mine planner totrack the location of specific portions of the rock mass
 
3through the blast to their final resting location. With thisinformation, accurate dig maps can be generated andgrade estimates of the loaded material can be made. Withthis information available, blasts can be designed on thebasis of efficiency of rock fragmentation, rather thanminimization of blast movement. This will allow forimproved overall fragmentation and hence lower total unitcost of mineral produced.Figure 2. Blast model prior to detonation.Figure 3. Initial burden movement after 2,000 cycles.Figure 4. Continuing burden movement, 4,000 cycles.Figure 5. Burden movement at 10,000 cycles.DISCUSSIONIt is noted that there exist various numerical blastmodels which may be more appropriate as the modelingplatform for this work. UDEC has been used in the firstinstance in order to demonstrate the concept. The use atwo dimensional blast model would not be appropriate forpractical application. Itasca produce two distinct elementcodes which operate in a three dimensional environment.Bearing in mind previous comments regarding the runtime required for accurate modeling using a twodimensional version of UDEC, it unlikely that the 3Dversion would improve this aspect of the work. Threedimensional codes are significantly more expensive thantheir 2D counterparts.Orica Explosives, in conjunction with Sandia NationalLaboratories, has developed a 2D distinct element codecalled DMC (Distinct Motion Code). It is reported thatthis code is capable of running a full blast simulation inminutes using standard desktop computer hardware.A common theme of both UDEC, DMC and othercodes is their ability to produce visual results. If theresults in terms of rock block locations are to be used asinput to other software, such as Surpac, this capability isin many ways redundant. The visual results of thesimulation, while interesting, are irrelevant when theblock centroid locations can simply be used as data to befed into a block model.Assuming that a three dimensional blast model can bedeveloped which will give accurate results in reasonabletime, there will be the need to validate the model in someway. This raises the question of blast movementmeasurement, as distinct from modeling. There iscurrently no proven method for accurately measuring themovement of ore boundaries, specific geologic units orthe intermixing of burden from multiple row shots.Several workers have attempted use of bags, pipes, chalk,dyes and other similar methods. In general, thesemethods provide limited information and can be highly

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