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Blast Design for

Underground Mining Applications
Roger Holmberg,*
William Hustrulid,*
and Claude Cunningham*
Good blast design and execution are essential ingredients for
successful underground mining. Poor blasting practices can have
a severely negative impact on the economics of mining. Military
blasting, rather than precision blasting, can result in overbreak
and dilution of high-grade ores. Military blasting can damage
sensitive or tender rock structures that make up the hangingwall
or footwall so unwanted caving occurs with the
possibility/probability of ore loss and/or dilution. Poor design
and execution when ring drilling can mean that succeeding rings
are damaged and unchargeable. Failure to complete undercuts
can mean the transmission of very high loads to the underlying
structures and their subsequent failure. The results are lost
revenues and added costs. 1 2 3
Good drilling and good blasting go hand in hand. If the drilling is
poor, there is little one can do to correct the rest of the job. It is
similar to building a house. If the foundation is poorly done,
there are major problems along the rest of the way. A discussion
of drilling practices is beyond the scope of this chapter, but the
blast design must begin there. Prior to designing the blasting,
one must be sure that the miners have the machines and the
capabilities to build the design. If the design cannot be built with
the tools at hand, then it is no design. Hence, one starts the
design process by carefully examining the drilling capabilities.
Fortunately, great improvements have been made in machine-
Fortunately, great improvements have been made in machine-
based drilling precision capabilities over the past few years.
These include laser alignment, using tubular steel, in-hole
guidance, and boom alignment instruments and techniques.
However, the miners must then use the capabilities of these
improved machines to the fullest.
Although a good blast design base does exist for underground
mining applications, it has often been poorly explained and
documented in the literature. This chapter tries to correct this
situation, at least to some degree, by offering some initial
design guidance for:
Bench blasting
Ring drilling
Crater (VCR) blasting
In this short chapter it is impossible to provide full coverage of
such a broad topic as underground blast design. Several
different approaches are described, and examples are given as
appropriate. A number of simplifications have been made to
facilitate the presentation. This is to be regarded as providing an
introduction to the topic and not as a cookbook. The reader is
advised to contact an explosive supplier and/or other specialists
for help in solving complex blasting problems.
There are a large number of properties that one considers when
choosing an explosive. In terms of doing a blast design,
however, the properties are relatively few. They can be
simplified to:
Weight strength
Specific gas volume
For the rock, the properties are also relatively few:
Fracture conditions
Rock strength, modulus, and toughness
Water conditions
Figure 72.1 shows the process involved in developing a blast
design. One starts with the results that one wants to achieve
and then works to the final design. These results may be
and then works to the final design. These results may be
expressed in the form of a certain desired fragmentation,
minimum blast damage to the surrounding rock, vibration limits
of sensitive structures, and/or minimum overbreak. Here, for
simplicity, it will be assumed that the explosive-rock interaction
can be defined in terms of a "powder factor." Although the term
"powder factor" is widely used in mining, it must be used with
care. It may be expressed in terms of the amount of explosive
required to fragment either a certain volume or mass of rock.
Thus, it is sometimes expressed in the units of kg/m3 or kg/ton.
The difference between these is the density of the rock. For the
same generic rock type, the required powder factor to yield the
same fragmentation may be quite different, depending on the
initial fracturing condition. When discussing powder factor, one
must also indicate the explosive that has been used, because
the breaking characteristics depend upon the characteristics of
the particular explosive in that rock. For example, one kilogram
of ANFO has a different energy content than does one kilogram
of an emulsion explosive. Even for explosives having the same
energy content as expressed in kcal/kg or MJ/kg, the
distribution of the energy in terms of the shock energy and the
gas expansion energy can be rather different. This partitioning
depends upon the characteristics of the rock mass as well as the
explosive, so the process is complicated. In performing an actual
design, one might consider several different explosives. Then it
is important to have a way to examine their relative
performances and associated costs on paper. Langefors and
Kihlstrm (1963) suggested that, when comparing the relative
strengths of explosives, one should consider both the weight
strength and the gas volumes produced. The relative strength of
explosive A with respect to ANFO is expressed by:

SANFO = 5 QA/(6Q) + VGA/(6VG)
where SANFO = relative strength of explosive A with respect to ANFO
QA = weight strength of explosive A (kcal/kg)
Q = weight strength of ANFO (kcal/kg)
VGA = gas volume of 1 kg of explosive A at STP (l)
VG = gas volume of 1 kg of ANFO at STP (l)
The values of weight strength are often given in the specification
sheets for different explosives. The values for the gas volumes
are seldom given; hence, one is often forced to use the
simplification that the relative weight strength of explosive A
compared to ANFO is

Unfortunately, in the literature there is no standard value for Q.
Here, to provide an index, Q will be assumed to be 912 kcal/kg
or 3.82 MJ/kg. The bulk strength (BS) is the weight strength
times the density and has the units of kcal/cm3, MJ/cm3 or
times the density and has the units of kcal/cm3, MJ/cm3 or
equivalent. The relative bulk strength of explosive A having
density &##961;A compared to ANFO having density &##961;

where BSANFO = relative bulk strength of explosive A compared to
&##961;A = density of explosive A
&##961; = density of ANFO
As an example of the application, consider
&##961; = 800 kg/m3
&##961;A = 1200 kg/m3
Q = 912 kcal/kg
QA = 850 kcal/kg
The weight strength of explosive A relative to ANFO is:

The bulk strength of explosive A relative to ANFO is:

Because it is a particular hole volume that is to be filled with
explosive, the bulk strength is of major importance when
considering the blast design.
From a drilling point of view one must look at the ability to drill-
out the design. The reasons for the problems are:
Collaring inaccuracies
Set-up errors
In-hole deviation
As will be seen, these problems affect all of the different
operations from blasting the cut in a drifting round to stoping
Bench-type blast designs are used in a number of different
underground mining applications. They include:
underground mining applications. They include:
Stoping with parallel holes (Figures 72.2 and 72.3)
Drifting in overhand cut-and-fill (Figure 72.4)
Up-holes in shrinkage stoping
Benching in room-and-pillar mining (horizontal or
vertical) (Figure 72.5)
The stoping holes in drifting
Normally a square pattern of holes (rows and columns aligned)
rather than a staggered pattern is used (Figure 72.6) because
the final opening shape is normally square. The hole pattern
itself can be rectangular or square. There are two approaches to
arriving at a design. Both start with knowing the hole diameter
(D) to be drilled.
The Ash Approach

A standard approach to designing open-pit blasts is based upon
the design guidelines of Ash (1963). The same approach, with
some minor modifications, can be applied to bench-type blasting
in underground mining. It can be shown that the burden B, the
distance from the hole to the closest free surface, is directly
related to the diameter of the blasthole (D). This is expressed
B = KB D
The hole spacing (S) is related to the burden by:
S = KS B
and the stemming (T) can also be related to the burden
T = KT B
When examining actual operations, Ash found that for ANFO
used in rocks having a density of about 2.5 g/cm3:

KB = 25
The design-spacing factor KS was in the range of (1 to 2) B. The
practical range for open-pit mines is from 1 to 1.3, based on
energy distribution considerations. The average stemming factor
is 0.7 B. Hustrulid (1999) has shown that the factor KB can be
related to other explosives using the relative bulk strength
KB (explosive A) = KB (ANFO) (BSA)1/2
For the example given above:
KB(explosive A) = 25(1.4)1/2 = 29.6
The value used for KB also depends upon the density of the rock
mass. For rock densities significantly above or below 2.5 g/cm3,
this factor must be considered.
For underground applications, the spacing ratio is about the
same as used for open pit mining:
KS = 1 to 1.3
Assume that in an open-pit mine, that holes with a diameter of 4
in (100 mm) are used with ANFO (density of 0.8 g/cm3) in a
rock with a density 2.5 g/cm3. For simplicity, it will be assumed
rock with a density 2.5 g/cm3. For simplicity, it will be assumed
KB = 25
KS = 1.3
Using these together with the hole diameter, the burden and
spacing become:
B = 2.5 m
S = 3.25 m
The explosive charge/meter of hole (Mc) is given by:
Mc = &##960;/4 D2 &##961;ANFO = &##960;/4 (0.100)2 800 = 6.28 kg/m
The volume of rock broken per meter of hole is:
V = B &##8734; S &##8734; 1 = (2.5)(3.25)(1) = 8.125 m3/m
The amount of rock broken per meter of hole is given by:
W = SGrock &##8734; V = 2.5 &##8734; 8.125 = 20.3 tonnes/m
where W = mass broken/m of hole
V = volume of rock broken/m of hole
SGrock = specific gravity of rock.
The powder factor (ANFO) expressed as required charge per
mass then becomes:
PF(ANFO) = W/L = 6.28/20.3 = 0.31 kg/tonne
The use of (ANFO) in the expression simply means that it
applies for ANFO. In terms of volume, the powder factor (ANFO)
K(ANFO) = L/V = 6.28/8.125 = 0.77 kg/m3
This is very similar to the typical ANFO powder factors used in
open-pit mining. However, in open-pit mining the loading
equipment is often large and there is lots of room to handle
oversize. The same is not true underground, where the presence
of oversize can cause significant handling problems. To
of oversize can cause significant handling problems. To
overcome this, the powder factor is increased to produce a finer
average fragmentation. The authors have found that this can be
taken into account by simply reducing the KB values in the Ash
formulas when applying them underground. The following value
is used as a first approximation:
KB = 20 for ANFO
In rock with a density of 2.5g/cm3. If the above example is
repeated with this value one finds that:
B = 20 (0.1) = 2 m
S = 1.3 B = 2.6 m
V = 5.2 m3/m
W = 13 tonnes/m
and the powder factor becomes:
PF (ANFO) = 6.28/13 = 0.48 kg/tonne
As will be seen later, this is very similar to that experienced in
The Powder Factor Approach
In the powder factor approach, one begins with a given hole
diameter and assumes (or knows) the required powder factor.
One can then write the volume of rock that is broken for a fully
charged hole of length L with a burden B and spacing S. This is:
V = B &##8734; S &##8734; L
The mass of rock broken is:
W = B &##8734; S &##8734; L &##8734; SGrock
where L = charged length
SGrock = the specific gravity of the rock
The amount of explosive in the hole is given by:
Vexpl = &##960;/4 D2 &##961;expl
Using the known powder factor PF, one can combine equations
(72.14) and (72.15) to yield:

Assuming that the hole diameter is 4 in (100 mm), the explosive
is ANFO with a density of 800 kg/m3, and the required powder
factor is 0.48 kg/tonne. Substituting these values into Equation
(72.16), one finds that:

Now one must choose either B or S to solve for the other.
Assume that:
S = 1.3 B
Equation (16) then becomes:
1.3 B2 = 5.236 m2
Solving for B, one finds that:
B = 2.0 m
Thus, the pattern would be:
B = 2.0 m
S = 2.6 m
and the powder factor is that required.
The fragmentation depends somewhat on the burden-spacing
ratio, and the same powder factor will give different
fragmentation depending upon the rock-mass condition and the
explosive used. The timing is extremely important to the final
results achieved. However, these two approaches are a way to
begin the design. For further information, the interested reader
is referred to the papers by Cunningham (1992) and the books
by Persson, Holmberg and Lee (1994) and by Hustrulid (1999).
Wall Damage
Along the walls, special designs are used to minimize unwanted
damage. This procedure will be discussed under the drifting
Data from Canadian Mines
In the Canadian Mining Journal's "2000 Mining Sourcebook," a
large amount of data collected from Canadian underground
mining operations is presented. The blast-pattern data for the
open-stoping and blasthole-stoping operations are summarized
in Table 72.1. One can see that a wide range of hole diameters
and explosive types are included. The spacing:burden ratio
varies from 1 to 3.5, with the most common values in the range
of 1 to 1.3. Figure 72.7 is a plot of burden versus the hole
diameter. Due to a lack of complete information, the different
explosive types were not taken into account. Superimposed on
the data set are lines corresponding to different KB ratios. As
can be seen, the data fall between the lines of KB = 15 and KB
= 30. The spread is natural considering the different explosives
and rock densities involved. Assuming that KB = 20 as a first
approximation is probably good enough for starting the design.
Based on the results, the pattern can then be spread or drawn
in. Table 72.2 is a summary of the powder factors and the host
rock types involved with the different operations. The values
range from 0.27 to 1.05 kg/tonne.

As a first approximation, the design approach used in surface
mining can be applied to bench-blasting geometries
underground. The principal change involves increasing the
powder factor to provide the required finer fragmentation.
Ring blasting is fundamentally different from all other forms of
blasting because the holes are drilled from a central point in and
radiate outwards to the limits of the ore block being mined. As
shown in Figure 72.8, the technique involves three distinct

Driving a tunnel (or tunnels) along the axis of the
proposed excavation. This is the "ring drive."
Creating a vertical slot at the end of the ring drive(s)
to the full width of the excavation.
Drilling sets of radial holes called "rings" parallel to
the slot. These rings are then blasted progressively into
the slot.
Figures 72.9-72.13 show some typical designs and demonstrate
the basic benefits of the technology.

The method is very flexible in coping with variations
in block size and shape.
It enables large blocks of ground to be blasted from
a few access points, thereby improving both
development costs and ground stability.
It offers high productivity and insurance against
breakdowns because the holes can be drilled and
charged well in advance of blasting operations.

It is safe, as men do not enter the stope.
In fact, as underground mines seek to meet the challenges
posed by the new century, many are seeking to maximize the
benefits of ring drilling by harnessing modern drilling technology
to extend its application and achieve previously undreamed-of
efficiencies. Unfortunately, there is also a downside to ring
Because the blastholes radiate from a central drilling
position, the coverage of the block of ground varies
from minimum at the toe position to maximum at the
collar position. This leads to continuously varying
factors, greater explosive consumption than is
theoretically necessary, and complications in charging
the holes so as to minimize overcharging.
The holes are drilled at different angles, leading to
varying deflection forces for the holes and a potential
for gross discrepancies between the designed and
achieved drilling patterns. This can lead to poor blasting
results and failure to reap the potential production from
each ring.
The holes meet the block outline at different angles,
making it difficult to ensure that an appropriate and
equitable concentration of explosives is achieved in the
equitable concentration of explosives is achieved in the
critical breaking area at the toe.
The holes are drilled at different angles and to
different lengths, being collared at close intervals. This
imposes a strain on the production team in terms of
achieving the planned layout. In addition, if in-hole
initiators are used, stock controls over lengths and
delays can be difficult.
Up-holes are normally used; these present added
costs and problems in terms of retaining explosive,
especially where large-diameter holes are concerned.
Ring holes are very prone to misfires caused by
cutoffs in the collar area, where the holes are closely
bunched and excess energy tends to be available. On
the other hand, inter-hole delays are necessary,
especially with large blastholes, to reduce the vibration
levels. Therefore, selecting and implementing the
initiating system is critical.
The extent to which the above challenges can be met depends
both on an understanding of the extent of the problem posed,
and on ways in which good design can reduce or eliminate each
problem. The major recurring problems related to blast design is
as follows:
Failure of up-holes to break out at the toe, leaving
`crown' pillars
Poor drawpoint availability caused by the enormous
boulders created by back-damage, allowing blocks
behind the ring to fall into the drawpoint
Excessive secondary breaking due to a poor
distribution of explosives related to both design and
implementation problems.
In this section, an approach to ring design is presented that will
implement intrinsically productive designs, or at least give
advance warning of problem areas.
Basic Mine Layout
There is a general desire to increase the rate of bringing a mine
into production at minimum cost by having very great vertical
separation between the mining levels. This means that rings
need to be drilled so as to reach between levels, and the longest
holes will be those that just reach to the furthermost corner of a
block. First, serious consideration needs to be given to the inter-
level spacing because the longer the holes, the greater will be
their deviation, and the greater the problem if the drill string
their deviation, and the greater the problem if the drill string
should get stuck during drilling, or the ho1e should become
blocked prior to blasting. In addition, very large ore blocks will
call for more holes to be drilled from the same position,
multiplying the bunching effect around the ring drive. It is
difficult to believe that angular increments of fractions of a
degree are meaningful in this context, yet this is what is called
for if reasonably uniform drilling patterns are required. Ideally,
the holes should not be more than 25% from their planned
positions, let alone intersecting each other. Table 72.3 gives
different lengths for holes designed to have a spacing of 3.5 m
and an angular deviation of 25%, owing to both setup and

Table 72.3 shows that, above 40 m, exceptional drilling
equipment, setup procedures, and operator commitment is
required. A further consideration is that very large rings reduce
the ability of a mine to source production from different areas in
the interests of grade, or of keeping production up in the event
of problems with the production ring.
The decision as to the relative areas to be assigned to up-rings
as opposed to down-rings needs to be seriously considered. Up-
holes should be drilled as short as possible, because their cost
and the work involved in charging them is greater than for
down-holes, and the differential increases with length. In
addition, the ability to load to a controlled collar distance is
much greater with down holes than with up-holes. Apart from
operational factors, spillage of explosive from up-holes is
inevitable, the extent depending on the borehole conditions, the
skill in the handling of loading equipment, and the variability of
the explosive being use. Waste reduces efficiencies, but the safe
and hygienic disposal of spilled explosive also impacts on the
overall productivity. Thus, while it is clear that the effective
loading of long up-holes is technically possible, it is highly
desirable to facilitate charging operations by locating the ring
drive high in the ore block. If the ring drive is no more than 15
m below the top of the block, loading operations are much
enhanced. The shape of the ore blocks--especially their
enhanced. The shape of the ore blocks--especially their
placement opposite one another and other profiles--is extremely
important. It is easy to create "shadow" areas inaccessible by
drilling from the available ring drives, or areas that result in an
uneconomic drilling pattern owing to indentations or "nodules"
at critical points. These may be unavoidable, but can sometimes
be prevented during the design stage.
General Design Principles
Good fragmentation can result only if sufficient explosive is used
in correctly drilled holes, with initiation arranged to ensure that
all the explosive detonates in the proper sequence. Owing to the
complexity of ideal layouts for ring blasting, however,
compromises have to be reached between what is theoretically
desirable and what can reasonably be implemented.
Blasthole Length. When laying out rings, one of the main
considerations is to limit the maximum hole length. To minimize
development, holes are often laid out over excessive lengths
simply to span the distance between sublevels. This creates the
following problems:
1. Inaccurate drilling--the small-diameter holes used in
this technique can seldom be drilled with reasonable
accuracy over more than about 20 meters with
conventional equipment. Beyond this length, and
especially with angled holes, severe departures from
the planned burden and spacing are likely, resulting in
poor fragmentation, toe formation, and overbreak.
2. Gauge reduction--used as the hole results in
reduced critical toe area. Smaller drill bits are often
used as the length increases, with explosive loading in
the critical toe region.
3. Drilling inefficiency--the efficiency of blow
transmission in the drill string decreases by about 10%
across each extension coupling and this results in
reduced penetration rates and increased equipment
wear over long holes. In ring blasting, the situation is
even worse because of the short extension steels
necessarily used
in constricted ring drives.
Ideally, both up-and down-holes should be drilled to double the
distance between sublevels, but in sublevel caving, for example,
only up-holes can be drilled. This factor should be taken into
only up-holes can be drilled. This factor should be taken into
account when laying out sublevels. As a rule, the majority of
holes should not exceed 30 meters unless specialized equipment
(operated by properly trained drilling crews) is used. With longer
holes, poor fragmentation is likely to be inherent to the system
and can only be compensated for by adopting a higher
explosive-loading ratio than would normally be considered.
Determining Drilling Pattern. The terms "spacing" and "burden"
require definition because of a lack of general agreement among
ring-blasting operators. "Burden" means the distance between
two consecutive rings. "Spacing" means the distance between
the ends (or "toes") of neighboring holes in one ring, measured
at right angles and straddling the outline of the ore block, using
construction lines (see Figure 72.14). The correct drilling pattern
is one that delivers the appropriate energy at the toes of the
blastholes. If it can be shown that a particular drilling pattern in
a parallel-hole benching operation gives the required blasting
results, this pattern should be adopted for ring blasting. An
example of this is tests that were performed in kimberlite. The
ring-drilling pattern was derived from preliminary blasting trials
in the last months of the open-pit operation, with fragmentation
as the criterion. In the absence of such guides to hole spacing, a
powder factor approach can be taken. Care must be exercised,
however, because it does not allow for special geological
conditions, specific breaking results, the blasting geometry, or
the effect of explosive type.

The following method of calculating burden and spacing ensures
good breaking in the critical toe area around the ends of the
good breaking in the critical toe area around the ends of the
blastholes. For simplicity, the calculation assumes that all holes
are parallel, with the explosive column reaching to a collar
length of twenty charge diameters. The hole length used in the
calculation is the average length in the ring. For ANFO or slurry,
the explosive diameter equals the hole diameter. The fact that
the powder factor increases towards the ring drive through
convergence of the holes is compensated for in practice by using
different uncharged lengths in each hole. Alternatively, spaced
charges or charges of lower strength can be used, but these
solutions are not recommended because of the complications
they introduce.
The formula relating the burden and spacing to the powder
factor is:

where B = nominal ring burden (m)
S = nominal toe spacing (m)
L = length of explosive column (m)
H = average hole length for ring drilling (m)
Mc = explosive mass per unit length (kg/m)
K = powder factor (kg/m3)
For simplicity, we will assume that all holes are parallel, and the
uncharged portion is equal to 20 charge diameters. The charged
hole length becomes:
L = H - 20D
where D = explosive diameter (m)
In general, the toe spacing of holes should exceed the burden
on the ring, but the exact ratio of spacing to burden is not
critical. The spacing:burden ratio is normally assumed to be 1.3,
but can be as high as 1.5.
In normal ring blasting, good fragmentation is required and
fairly high powder factors are necessary, whatever the ground
hardness. A starting figure of 0.8 kg/m3 would suit most types
of weak rock, while 1.2 kg/m3 would suit a dense, strong rock.
The design powder factor depends on the toughness and
blockiness of the ground and whether or not tight breaking
conditions prevail. It is good practice to allow for at least 30%
expansion from the solid when blasting into a restricted slot.
expansion from the solid when blasting into a restricted slot.
A major error to be avoided is using a planned powder factor
across the whole ring. This approach is likely to result in
excessive hole spacing, since convergence of the holes always
causes overcharging inside the pattern. It is patently poor
blasting practice to tolerate inadequate energy at the toe portion
just so an average powder-factor can be obtained.
To indicate how the calculation process works, consider using an
emulsion explosive with a density of 1,180 kg/m3 in a 102-mm-
diameter blasthole. The powder factor is 0.8 kg/m3. For
simplicity, we will assume that the explosive extends to the
collar and that the hole length does not have to be considered.
In Equation 72.17:
Mc = 9.64 kg/m
K = 0.8 kg/m3
and thus

Assuming that:
S = 1.3 B
1.3 B2 = 12.05
B = 3.05 m
Therefore, the "nominal" drilling pattern is 3.0 m &##8734; 4.0
m. The rings should, therefore, be drilled 3 m apart along the
ring drive and the holes angled to terminate with their toes 4 m
Laying Out the Ring. Once the "nominal" drilling pattern has
been obtained, it must be applied to the block outlines. The
been obtained, it must be applied to the block outlines. The
spacing is measured perpendicular to the blasthole. Because
most of the holes will not meet the block outline at right angles,
the holes have to be fitted so that no energy starvation takes
place between them along the oblique parts of the outline. This
is done by plotting the hole positions beyond the outline and
imposing the designated spacing between the holes so as to
straddle the outline equally (Figure 72.14). Each variation in the
ore block requires a new layout. The exercise is easily and
quickly performed by hand as follows:

1. Holes are drawn in from the drilling position to the
corners of the ore block.
2. Using a scale and 90&##176; offset, the toes of
intervening holes are marked off consecutively, using
the calculated spacing, as shown in Figure 72.14.
3. As the intermediate holes approach fixed corner
holes, small adjustments are made. The hole before the
corner hole is (a) either centralized between the corner
hole and the next one back or (b) omitted. This is done
at the discretion of the person doing the layout. When
it is omitted, the next hole back should be centralized,
if necessary. This practice rarely results in more than
10% deviation from planned spacing. When this
process is complete, the last hole will very seldom fit
exactly on the last part of the outline, and the spacing
should be readjusted, reducing or increasing the
spacing slightly until all the holes are equally spaced
spacing slightly until all the holes are equally spaced
(Figure 72.15).
4. On completion of the ring layout, the actual angles
and lengths of the holes are measured and entered on
the instruction sheet (Figure 72.16).

If the ring is not vertical, the exercise must be done in the plane
of the ring.
Charging Pattern. The blast holes converge towards the ring
drive and, to avoid serious overcharging, require an alternating
pattern of uncharged collar lengths. This pattern has to be
simple and repetitive if charging crews are to adhere to it
meaningfully, and the following compromise arrangement is
Assume three uncharged collar lengths:
Ts = 20 explosive diameters
Tm = 50 explosive diameters
Tl = 125 explosive diameters.
The holes are numbered beginning at a readily recognizable
hole, e.g., the lower left-hand side. The uncharged lengths are
then specified in that order:
then specified in that order:
Ts, Tm, Ts, Tm, Ts, Tl, Tm, Tl, Ts, Tl, Tm, Ts, Tm, Ts, Tm, Ts
Prior to charging up, a responsible person attaches tags
indicating whether Ts, Tm, or Tl apply to the collar length for
each hole. It should be noted that no uncharged collar should be
more than two-thirds of the hole. If Tm exceeds two-thirds of
the hole length, use Ts. If only Tl exceeds two-thirds of the hole
length, alternate Ts and Tm until holes longer than 1.5 Tl are
encountered. The end holes (which only occur where full rings
are not drilled) are always given Ts. When the planned powder
factor and the actual projected explosives used per cubic meter
broken are finally compared, there may be a significant
discrepancy, caused by using approximations to specify the
uncharged lengths. This is unavoidable without either sacrificing
fragmentation or imposing a more complex charging system. It
can be justified on the grounds that a higher powder factor will
result in finer overall fragmentation, which is usually welcome in
ring-blasting operations. In trying to reduce the eventual overall
powder factor, it is important not to decrease the powder factor
in the original calculation. This would result in poor breaking in
the critical region of the ring perimeter.
If a large number of ring designs must be made, the process is
very tedious and time-consuming if done by hand. Software has
been developed to perform this task. The software "Ring"
developed by AECI's Blast Consult Group is one such example. It
provides optimized ring-drilling designs in a minimum of time.
This is extremely useful in comparing the effects of different
hole diameters and checking the achieved hole spacing against
the design. The package normally uses the nominal spacing as a
base to find the number of holes in the ring and the actual
spacing. It can also be given the required number of holes and
can derive the spacing from this. Once the correct outline
pattern is achieved, the spacing can be offset against the
designed powder factor to correct for excessive or inadequate
energy in the toe area. For example, if the exercise in the above
example yielded a final average toe spacing of 3.7 m, instead of
4.0 m, Equation 72.17 cou1d be used, which would derive a ring
burden of 3.25 m instead of 3.0 m.
Optimizing Results
The basic approach to designing the layout of ring-blast holes
and distributing explosives within each ring was discussed in the
previous section. This section shows how blasting results can be
optimized by suitable choice of hole diameter, explosive type,
and initiation system. Priming and initiation of holes is also
Choice of Hole Diameter. Hole diameter and explosive density
basically determine the hole spacing. An increase in diameter
increases the spacing and enables fewer holes to be drilled. This
means that large-diameter holes are a good choice for large ore
blocks. The largest feasible hole diameter should be used for
ring drilling. This has the following benefits:
Less drilling--Large holes take more explosive, which
can break to wider patterns. This means the holes are
less crowded around the ring drive and charging
operations are faster, and greater production is
obtained from the available equipment.
Easier loading--Larger holes tend to suffer less from
obstructions that prevent cartridges (or loading hoses)
from being pushed to the back of the hole. Using hole
diameters below 45 mm may necessitate charging
with 32 &##8734; 200-mm cartridges, which have the
disadvantage of being shorter and taking longer to
The largest diameter that should be considered for up-holes is
about 100 mm. Above this, retention of the explosive is a major
It often happens, however, that the same drilling equipment
used for large blocks is also used for small blocks, e.g.,
production cones. It is patently inappropriate to use a hole
diameter that calls for a hole spacing of 3.5 m if the available
space is 4.5 m, or even 9.0 m. Each available block
accommodates a particular number of equally spaced holes and
the smaller the block, the less the ability of large holes to deliver
the ideal hole spacing. This can be particularly so when the
outline includes "notches" because of the intrusion of other
openings or geological features.
A further consideration is the extent to which up-holes will be
required. Holes in excess of 64 mm are difficult to load with
required. Holes in excess of 64 mm are difficult to load with
cartridged explosives, while those in excess of 89 mm require
special skills with ANFO. For holes in excess of 115 mm, the
effort needed to retain any explosive is so great that only short,
relatively infrequent holes should be considered.
If rock deterioration is a serious concern, it should be
remembered that large-diameter holes deliver greater vibration
energy to the rock. The explosive energy can be reduced to
counter this by using smaller-diameter holes.
Selecting Explosive. From the foregoing, it will be apparent that
selecting the explosive is likely to follow naturally from the
choice of hole diameter, which itself is largely determined by
considerations of ore-block size and the extent to which up-
holes are to be drilled. Almost any explosive is suitable for near-
vertical down-holes, but an in-hole transport system is
necessary as the inclination to the horizontal decreases below
50&##176;. The same restrictions apply for up-holes. In larger
holes, ANFO and pumped emulsion products are the only option;
the actual choice will depend on parameters beyond the scope of
this paper, not least of which is the availability of suitable
loading equipment.
High-density, high-energy, well-coupled explosives have the
best potential for ensuring good fragmentation in ring blasting.
ANFO can only be used in dry blastholes. Its low price and
convenience in pneumatic loading, together with its effective
breaking, make it a good choice in most conditions, but it is not
always used to best advantage. In particular, the ANFO column
should be boostered at 5-m intervals to ensure the maintenance
of a stable detonation velocity over the entire charge length.
Any cap-sensitive cartridged explosive can be used for boosters.
Failure to observe proper boostering is bound to result in
substandard performance.
Charging Holes. Because the blastholes converge, grossly
inefficient blasting will occur unless the uncharged collar is
varied from hole to hole. What length to 1eave uncharged is not
a trivial matter, because it is related not only to the planned
hole spacing, but also to the size and shape of the ore block.
The primary criterion is that holes should be charged to the
point at which the tangential distance from the end of the
charge to the next hole is half the designed hole spacing. In
charge to the next hole is half the designed hole spacing. In
practice, even skilled charging crews are unlikely to be able to
control charging lengths to accuracies better than whole meter
lengths, and design considerations should take this into account.
When deciding on the uncharged lengths, the software programs
are extremely useful. They can quickly determine which regions
are under- or over-charged.
Initiation. Initiation is a subject of its own. Technically, ideal
initiation is basically implemented when each hole is initiated
from a point near its toe with very rapid firing of holes spreading
from a central point downward on each side. This results in
optimized fragmentation while limiting the vibration levels and
avoiding cutoffs near the ring drive. Unfortunately, the practical
problems with ideal initiation sometimes lead to pragmatic
solutions, the chief aim of which is merely to ensure that all the
holes fire while the vibration is limited as far as possible. In
planning a blast, delay units and primers are allocated to each
hole, and judgment must be used as to whether backup units
are needed. Ground conditions and loading methods will
determine the likelihood of initiation failures, and any sign that a
hole may misfire calls for a backup system. Collar priming
imposes real limits on timing options because cutoffs
automatically result if some holes fire earlier than their
neighbors. Delay detonators inside the blastholes are the most
commonly used means of initiating ring blasts because they are
less likely to be cut off by rock movement and concussion.
Continuity of detonation is assured by lining each blasthole with
detonating cord.
Selection of Delays. Theoretically, a different delay should be
used in each hole to improve fragmentation and limit vibration
effects, but this has some disadvantages:
Limitation of blast size--The range of delays is
limited and assigning different delays to each ring
would severely restrict the number of rings that could
be blasted at one time. Large blasts are usually
desirable as they result in fewer oversize slabs of rock
Misfiring of later delays--The collars of the holes
converge on the ring drive and with the common
practice of collar priming, the detonators are located
close together in the rock mass.
As a result, the first hole to detonate is likely to break out the
collars of adjacent blastholes, complete with detonators. This
can happen even when detonators are quite deep inside the
blastholes, but the likelihood is much reduced if all the delays
are the same.
In view of these problems, and because it is simpler to
implement, it is preferable to specify only one delay per ring.
The detonator lead wires should be not less than 4.5-m long, as
most cutoffs take place within 3-4 m of the collar, and the
detonator should therefore be located at greater depth.
Notwithstanding the above, it is sometimes essential to use two
or even three different delays per ring to reduce concussion. To
minimize the danger of cutoffs, the delays are not alternated
between holes, but are apportioned to whole sections of the ring
as shown in Figure 72.16.
Delay Range. Using alternate rather than consecutive delay
numbers is recommended to eliminate the possibility of both
out-of-sequence shots and "crowding" between consecutive
delays, due to inherent scatter about the nominal firing times of
delay detonators.
In some cases, large numbers of rings have to be fired in
sequence, requiring in excess of the entire range of delay
numbers. No attempt should be made to increase the delay
coverage by firing pairs of rings on the same delay: choking,
overbreak, and poor fragmentation are likely to result.
The maximum range of delays is:
SPD numbers 1 - 20
LPD numbers 3 - 14
Thus, there is a total of 32 delays. If only some SPD numbers
have to be used consecutively in a medium-scale blast, delays
1-6 should be the first ones run consecutively, as there is
minimal chance of overlapping with these units.
Instantaneous detonators are not recommended for series-in-
parallel circuits, as their detonation may cause premature
dislocation of the blasting circuit, resulting in misfires. Naturally,
dislocation of the blasting circuit, resulting in misfires. Naturally,
if only single rings are blasted, these can be primed simply with
detonating cord and initiated using an electric detonator or
capped fuse. The advent of the electronic delays means that
there are many more possibilities for initiating the holes and in
the number of rings that can be fired.
Priming Ring Holes
ANFO. Pneumatic ANFO loading, generates high-voltage static
electricity, which can prematurely fire normal electric
detonators. Three solutions to this hazard exist as follows:
"NONEL" detonators can be used with confidence in
pneumatically charged ANFO. The detonator is initiated
by a shock wave transmitted through a long, non-
destructing plastic tube, which may, however,
constitute a contaminant in certain types of ore.
Static-safe electric detonators. These detonators
require a 60 MJ/ohm firing impulse (as against 4
MJ/ohm for normal detonators) and can be safely used
in pneumatically charged ANFO. They require more
powerful exploders and heavier blasting cables.
The simplest, but least satisfactory solution because
of the danger of cutoffs is to collar-prime all ring holes
with normal electric detonators. The detonators should
not be attached to the detonating cord down-line for at
least an hour following the completion of loading
operations, to allow for the dissipation of any static
Cartridged Explosives. The detonator is normally fixed inside a
primer cartridge, which is then pressed into place using a buffer
cartridge or plastic "spider." Where the uncharged collar length
exceeds that of the leading wires, the detonator is attached to
the detonating cord down line.
Toe Priming. Because of problems associated with long lead
wires, it is not advisable to toe-prime ring holes with electric
detonators. This is easily achieved, however, if "NONEL" delay
detonator assemblies are used.
Blasting Circuit
Current leakage from the blasting circuit is a common cause of
misfires in ring blasting, especially under the following
Where it is wet and conductive salts are leached out
of the explosive
In conductive orebodies
Where high resistance iron leading wires are used
Therefore, precautions should be taken to maintain effective
insulation between the blasting circuit and the country rock.
When charging up, the PVC insulation on detonator lead wires is
prone to damage from sharp edges or tight kinking. Care must
be taken to avoid damage while unraveling the lead wires,
making up primers, pushing primers into blastholes, and loading
explosive over lead wires. Insulating putty should be used to
enclose the bare wires at each connection. Neatly suspended
blasting cables are easily inspected and are less vulnerable to
accidental damage. An earth-leakage tester is invaluable for
checking circuit insulation. Furthermore, all modern detonators
are designed to minimize current leakage by operating at a
relatively low voltage.
A review of the foregoing indicates that a technically optimized
ring-blasting layout can be proposed. The idealized design, then,
would be as given in Table 72.4.

While ring blasting techniques offer substantia1 benefits, there
are intrinsic problems that are exacerbated when large blocks of
ore are mined in attempts to improve the production economics.
These problems relate to both the convergence of the holes
around the ring drive and the charging of the up-holes. The size
around the ring drive and the charging of the up-holes. The size
and shape of the ore block concerned should be careful1y
considered so that good drilling patterns can be achieved. The
hole diameters chosen both affect, and are affected by, the size
of the ore block. The explosive selected depends on the hole
diameter and, together with the diameter, determines the
nominal drilling pattern. Ring-drilling patterns are best derived
through the use of computer software together with engineering
judgment. Explosive loading is necessarily high, and charging
patterns require careful thought if overcharging is to be
minimized and adequate energy is to be available at all parts of
the ore block. Initiation systems are critical to the blasting
results, but sub-optimal systems must be adopted if collar
priming is practiced. In view of all these factors, idealized
guidelines can be given for ring design, but it should be
recognized that developments in technology might in time
change these parameters.
A blasting development program that focuses on determining
the real effectiveness and productivity of ongoing blasting
operations is a worthy investment at any mine that uses ring
blasting. The design process for ring blasting is exceptionally
demanding, and good software is invaluable for exploring the
various options in a timely fashion. Such software is particularly
useful if it also provides drilling, charging, and initiation
instructions and if it can show the efficiencies and costs for any
particular layout.
In Canada, a new underground mining method, the Vertical
Crater Retreat (VCR) or Vertical Retreat Mining (VRM) method
(see Figure 72.17) was developed in 1975 for primary stoping,
pillar recovery, and drop raising. This was made possible by the
introduction of 165-mm-diameter holes to underground mining.

When vertical (or inclined) large-diameter holes are drilled on a
designed pattern from a cut over a stope or pillar to bottom in
the back of the undercut, and spherical charges of explosives
are placed within these holes at a calculated optimum distance
from the back of the undercut and detonated (see Figure
72.18), a vertical thickness of ore will be blasted downwards
into the previously mined area. Repeating this loading and
blasting procedure, mining of the stope or pillar retreats in the
form of horizontal slices in a vertical upwards direction until the
top sill is blasted and the mining of a stope or pillar is

The VCR method has been and currently is being practiced in
various mines in Canada, the United States, Europe, Central
America, and Australia.
In this section, the theory of the VCR method will be discussed
and then applied to the Luossavaara mine in northern Sweden.
Cratering Theory
Introduction. The concept of cratering and its development may
be attributed to C.W. Livingston. It is a versatile tool for
be attributed to C.W. Livingston. It is a versatile tool for
studying the blasting phenomenon, and its application has
resulted in the development of a new underground mining
method, the VCR method of primary stoping, pillar recovery,
and drop raising. A crater-blast is a blast where a spherical or
near spherical charge (1:6 diameter-to-length ratio) is
detonated beneath a surface that extends laterally in all
directions beyond the point where the surrounding material
would be affected by the blast.
Figure 72.19 shows the nomenclature used in VCR, and they are
described below.

&##8709; = Hole diameter
6&##8709; = Charge length
db = Depth of burial. Distance from surface to center of charge
do = optimum depth of burial. The depth of burial at which the
greatest volume of rock is broken
N = Critical distance. The depth of burial at which the effects of a
cratering charge are just noticeable on the surface
r = Radius of crater
ro = Radius of crater formed at optimum depth of burial
V = Crater volume
W = Charge weight
There is a definite relationship between the energy of the
explosive and the volume of the material that is affected by the
blast. This relationship is significantly affected by the placement
of the charge. Livingston determined that a strain-energy
relationship exists, as expressed by an empirical equation:
N = EW1/3
where N = the critical distance at which breakage of the surface above
the spherical charge does not exceed a specified limit.
E = the strain energy factor, a constant for a given explosive-rock
W = the weight of the explosive charge
The same equation may be written in the form of:
db = &##916; EW 1/3
where db = the distance from the surface to the center of gravity of
the charge, i.e. depth of burial
&##916; = db/N which is a dimensionless number expressing the
ratio of any depth of burial compared to the critical distance
When db is such that the maximum volume of rock is broken to
an excellent fragment size, this burial is called the optimum
distance: do. For further study of the cratering theory, see Lang
Choosing the Best Explosive for VCR Mining. When the material
that is to be blasted remains constant, but several different
explosives are considered, the cratering theory may be used to
determine the most suitable explosive through the application of
Livingston's Breakage Process Equation:
where: W = Charge weight
V = Crater volume
E = Strain energy factor
A = Energy utilization number
B = Material's behavior index
C = Stress distribution number
Inasmuch as V, W, and E can be measured with certainty, it
remains for the observer to isolate the variables A, B, and C.
The energy utilization number, A, is the ratio of the volume of
the crater within limits of complete rupture at any depth, to the
volume at optimum depth, where the maximum proportion of
the energy of the explosion is utilized in the failure process:
A = V/Vo
The maximum value of A is equal to 1.0 at optimum depth
(where fracturing reaches the most efficient development).
Accordingly, the numerical values of A are less than 1.0 at other
charge depths.
The material behavior index, B, is a constant for a given type of
explosive and weight of charge in a given material. B is
measured at optimum depth and:
B = Vo /N3
It has been derived from:
Vo = B(WE3AC)
where A = 1 at optimum depth do
C = 1 if the charge is spherical
One can conclude that both A and B describe the effect of the
explosive upon the failure process in blasting. The value `A' best
describes the effects of the variation in energy density with
distance, and B best describes the effects of the variation in
energy density accompanying changes in the stress-strain
relations as measured at a given reference energy level. The
following example will demonstrate the application of the
breakage process equation for the comparison of the
performance of the explosives in the same rock.
Basic cratering research was conducted in a hard, cherty
magnetic-iron formation with two types of slurry: Slurry 1
(Selleck 1962) and Slurry 2 (Lang 1962). The curves of V/W
versus &##916; for the two experiments are plotted in Figure
72.20. The optimum depth ratio was found to be the same for
both explosives: &##916;o = 0.58, but E and N were different.

The values of A were calculated for each crater, and the results
were plotted against depth ratio (see Figure 72.21). The two
were plotted against depth ratio (see Figure 72.21). The two
curves are similar to those of V/W versus &##916;. This
diagram clearly indicates that in the case of Slurry 2, more
energy is being utilized in the secondary fragmentation range
and in the flyrock range than in the case of Slurry 1. This is
responsible for better fragmentation and more gas energy.
Production-scale blasts confirmed the results of these cratering

Material behavior index values for both explosives were
calculated at optimum depth and found to be:
Slurry 1. Bo = 0.42
Slurry 2. Bo = 0.33
Higher values of B are characteristic of brittle-type failure.
Experiments show that B decreases as the material becomes
more plastic-acting, which was true in this experiment as well.
Slurry 1 had a high detonation velocity; thus the material was
acting in the brittle manner. Slurry 2, due to the 10% Al
content, had a lower detonation velocity and the load was a
slower and more sustained type. Hence, the same rock behaved
in a rather plastic manner.
The stress distribution number, C, was 1 because both
experiments employed spherical charges. One may conclude
that when comparing different explosives in the same material,
the comparison must be made keeping the geometry of blast
constant; otherwise, the results will be misleading.
constant; otherwise, the results will be misleading.
1. Separate cratering experiments should be conducted
with the different explosives in the same material.
2. Determine N, &##916;o for each experiment.
3. If this information is for designing VCR-type
blasting, then do and optimum spacing should be
calculated for each explosive and ore combination.
These criteria should be used in each respective stope.
Small-Scale Cratering Tests. The purpose of performing small-
scale crater tests is to obtain the data required to make qualified
predictions of the blasting results in the full production stope. It
is necessary to conduct the crater tests as close as possible to
the stope where the VCR method will be used. Different rock
properties and structural geology may cause an over- or under-
estimation of the depth of burial for the production blasts.
If the depth of burial is less than optimum, it will result in a
satisfactory breakage, but the cost for drilling and explosives will
be too high. If the depth of burial is larger than the optimum
one, bells or unsatisfactory fragmentation may occur.
Due to development work in the stope, it is sometimes possible
to carry out the test in the stope (in the undercut).
Application of Crater Blasting to
the Luossavaara Mine
Introduction. When the activities in the Luossavaara Research
Mine were planned and outlined, it was decided that new mining
methods with large-diameter holes should be tested. Discussions
during the planning of the Luossavaara Mine resulted in a small
test stope D1 (see Figure 72.22) where the VCR method could
be evaluated under Swedish conditions. Mr. Leslie Lang, of L.C.
Lang & Associates, Inc., in Canada, was engaged as a consultant
to the Research Mine and SveDeFo when the test shots for the
future design were planned. This section describes the results of
the test shots and the proposal that was made for the full-scale
production of stope D1.

Small-Scale Crater Tests. In Luossavaara, a field mapping
procedure was carried out to investigate whether the abandoned
mine area above production stope D would be suitable for crater
tests (Mki 1982). Through comparison to available data, it was
found (Mki 1982 and Rshoff 1981) that "On the basis of the
analysis of structure densities, structure lengths and RQD values
it may be concluded that no major variation of rock properties
exists within the orebody." The data from the test level at 250
m was compared with data from an access drift between the
270- and the 290-m level. However, as the major part of this
drift was located in the footwall, it was possible that the
conclusion could change somewhat when data concerning the
stope itself became available. Cores from profiles in the test
area indicated good-to-excellent rock. The RQD values were in
the range of 80%-100%. The primary rock types of the side
walls were breccia, quartz porphyry, and syenite porphyry. A
total of 23 holes were drilled with hole diameters of 38 and 102
The tests were located at the 250-m level above stope D where
the rock properties and geological structure were similar to what
was expected in the production stope. Eleven 102-mm-diameter
holes were drilled and blasted with a non-cap-sensitive TNT-
slurry, Reolit. Two 102-mm-diameter holes were blasted with
ANFO, and six holes with a diameter of 38 mm were drilled and
blasted with ANFO. The reason for blasting the 38-mm-diameter
holes was to investigate the scale effect. The test holes were
horizontally drilled in the rib, perpendicular to the drift. The face
was relatively smooth without large hills or valleys. The collars
of the 102-mm-diameter holes were drilled 1.6-2.0 m above the
floor, and the distances between the holes were not less than
4.5 m. The 38-mm-diameter holes had a spacing of 2.5 m. The
length of the holes used for the 102-m-diameter TNT-slurry
tests were 3.0, 2.8, 2.6, 2.0, 1.8, 1.6, 1.6, 1.2, 1.1, 1.0, and
tests were 3.0, 2.8, 2.6, 2.0, 1.8, 1.6, 1.6, 1.2, 1.1, 1.0, and
0.85 meters. Only two 102-mm-diameter ANFO test holes were
drilled and blasted. One hole was 1.1 and the other hole was 0.9
m deep. In the ANFO test, holes 38 mm in diameter and 1.3,
1.0, 0.8, 0.7, 0.6, and 0. 5 meters 1ong were used. All holes
were drilled in the footwall. The holes were flushed clear and
measured after drilling.
The explosives used in the small crater tests were Reolit,
manufactured by Nitro Nobel AB, and ANFO K2Z, manufactured
by Kimit AB. To initiate the explosives, a plastic PETN explosive
NSP-71, developed by Bofors, was used. Reolit is a non-cap-
sensitive TNT-slurry explosive containing 22 % TNT and 3% Al.
The density is 1,450 kg/m3. The weight strength relative to
ANFO is 1.20. ANFO K2Z consists of 47.3 % prill, 47.3 %
crystalline ammonium nitrate, and 5.4 % fuel oil. The density is
1,000 kg/m3. The charge weight in the 102-mm-diameter holes
was 6.7 kg for the TNT slurry and 4.75 kg for ANFO. Using 38-
mm-diameter holes, the charge weight was 0.25 kg/hole. The
102-mm-diameter charges were primed with 250 g of NSP 71
Bofors and the 38-mm-diameter holes with 25 g of the same
explosive. To be able to load the horizontal holes the explosives
were packed in 100-mm-diameter plastic bags.
To check the performance of the explosive, the velocity of
detonation was measured in the 102-mm-diameter holes. The
VOD measurement setup consists of probes, a pulse former unit,
and a transient recorder, a Nicolet Explorer 1090 A. When the
detonation front reaches a probe, the circuit is shorted, and a
pulse in the pulse former unit is generated. This pulse has a
defined RC constant. A transient recorder registers the positive
or negative pulse. By positioning a number of probes along the
travel path of the detonation front, a number of pulses, each
with its own RC characteristic, can be registered by the transient
recorder. By measuring the time lapse between the pulses and
by knowing the distances between the probes, the velocity of
the detonation wave can be calculated. Three probes for VOD
measurements were taped on a PVC rod with a diameter of 5
mm. By pushing the PVC rod into the very bottom of the hole,
the distance between the hole bottom and the first probe was
fixed. Half the charge was then placed and tamped at the
bottom of the hole. The primer was pushed in with a loading
stick and with great care tamped close to the inner part of the
charge. The remaining part of the charge was finally placed and
tamped. The three probes for VOD measurement were now
tamped. The three probes for VOD measurement were now
placed in the outer half of the charge. The length from the collar
to the charge was measured and a three-part wooden plug kept
the charge in position. Stemming consisted of a plug of
bentonite and gravel (0-30 mm). A Nonel-cap initiated the
After firing the shot, scaling of the crater walls was kept to a
minimum. All structural weakness planes, which may have
influenced the size or shape of the crater, were noted.
Photographs of the craters were taken after each shot. Crater
depth as a function of position was determined using a sliding
ruler attached perpendicular to a 2.5 &##8734; 2.5-m vertically
mounted aluminum frame. From measurements made on a 25-
cm grid, the maximum depth and radii could be determined and
the volume calculated. A total of 11 craters were formed at
different depths of burial while keeping the charge weight of
Reolit slurry constant: W = 6.8 kg. The results are given in
Table 72.5.

The critical distance (N) was determined to be N = 2.5 m, and
the calculated strain energy factor (E) was:
E = N/W1/3 < 1.32
The plot in Figure 72.23 indicates some scatter. This is due to
minor geological discontinuities present in the rock mass. The
structural geology will generally have a more overwhelming
influence on the cratering results when using relatively small
charges than it will with larger charges. The optimum depth
ratio (&##916;o) appears to be in the range 0.52-0.6.
Additional tests would be needed to reduce the interval. To be
on the safe side &##916;o is estimated to be &##916;o = 0.52
in this test. This suggests a predominantly shock type failure of
the ore when using Reolit. For &##916;o = 0.52 and N = 2.5
m, the calculated depth of burial for a 6.8 kg charge is:

do = &##916;oN = 0.52 &##8734; 2.5 = 1.3 m
From Figure 72.23, the value of V/W corresponding to the
optimum depth ratio is V/W = 0.33 and hence V = 0.33
&##8734; 6.8 = 2.24 m3. Representing the crater by a cone
with apex at the bottom of the charge, one may calculate the
radius ro.
ro &##8734; &##960;(do + 6&##960;/2) /3 = 2.24
ro = 1.2 m
The following basic data have been obtained:
W = 6.8 kg
N = 2.5 m
E = 1.32
&##916;o = 0.52
do = 1.3 m
ro = 1.2 m
The Production Scale Design. The next step is to scale up these
cratering results for a production-scale blast in VCR stopes when
the charge weight of the same explosive is increased to W2 =
31 kg and the hole diameter is 6.5 in. Following the Livingston
theory, it is assumed that E = 1.32 remains constant. The
critical distance for the 31-kg charge weight is:
critical distance for the 31-kg charge weight is:
N = EW21/3 < 4.15
The center of this charge should be at the optimum distance Do
from the back of the stope:
Do = &##916;oN = 0.52 &##8734; 4.15 < 2.2 m
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nuclear Cratering Group,
uses another form of the calculation. They calculate a scaling
factor (F) of:
F= (W2/W)1/3 = (31/6.8)1/3 < 1 .66
The optimum distance for this larger charge is:
Do = do F = 1.3 &##8734; 1.66 < 2.2 m
The crater radius becomes:
Ro = ro F = 1.3 &##8734; 1 .66 < 2.0 m
It is important to ensure complete breakage of the rock between
two adjacent holes in the stope by designing an optimum
spacing between holes. The recommended hole spacing (So)
should be in the range of 1.2 Ro to 1.6 Ro. In the case of Reolit
it is:
Smin = 1.2 &##8734; 2.0 < 2.4 m and
Smax = 1.6 &##8734; 2.0 < 3.2 m
It is more prudent to design the first stope using Smin and then
increase it gradually to Smax. In further stopes, if the results
are satisfactory, the pattern can be expanded. However S = 3 m
will probably not cause any problem in the Luossavaara type of
The advance A will be:
A = Do + 6 &##8709;/2 = 2.2 + 0.5 = 2.7 m
The specific charge (q) for So = 3 m is:
q = 31/(A &##8734; 32 ) = 1.3 kg/m3
Comments on the Reolit Tests. As can be seen from Figure
72.23 where the smooth curve has been fitted by eye to the
experimental points, it is obvious that the curve could have been
drawn in various ways. For example, if the curve had been fitted
using the least-square method, it would definitely not have
looked the same. The interpretation of the results appears to
require a considerable amount of subjective assessment on the
part of the person conducting the small-scale tests. This means
that cratering should preferably be carried out only by persons
with previous experience in crater testing and, if possible,
production blasting. For instance, the values for shot No.10 were
omitted when plotting the curve because the geological mapping
indicated that the rock was fractured to a greater extent around
this hole than around the rest of the holes. Shot No. 2 had a low
VOD, which might explain its small crater volume. If the value
for shot No. 10 had been taken as the peak of the curve
(yielding the optimum ratio Ao = 0.28), a strong shock-type
failure would have been indicated with all its consequences (do,
Vo). This would not be consistent with the majority of the
The ANFO Cratering Results. Tests were carried out with ANFO
charges to estimate the breaking capacity with an explosive
having a smaller energy density than a TNT-slurry. The plan was
to carry out experiments with both 102-mm and 38-mm hole
diameters. The 38-mm hole diameter was to be used to
estimate the effect of the rock structure on the breakage.
Unfortunately, all of the &##8709;102-mm holes that had been
drilled could not be used because of potential interference with
the production demands in the mine. Therefore, only two shots
could be made in 102-mm holes.
Of the 38-mm diameter shots, six holes yielded questionable
results. The results reveal that the rock structure plays a major
role in the breakage process. Because of the small number of
test shots carried out, no evaluation of the proper scaling for
production blasts could be made. The tests, however, did show
that the hole diameter used for the tests should be chosen as
that the hole diameter used for the tests should be chosen as
close as possible to the hole diameter used for production
blasting. The rock structure obviously influences the breakage
process in a dominant way. However, for guidance, the test
shots are reported in Table 72.6.

The Production Blasts
The Proposal. This part outlines a proposal based on the
performed crater tests. As the reader may have noticed, the
experiments with ANFO charges were not carried out to such
extent that proper scaling could be done with this type of
explosive. However, because of its low price, ANFO is and will be
a very competitive explosive whenever dry conditions can be
achieved in blasting. Therefore, ANFO should be tested in the
Luossavaara mine to make a proper evaluation of the blasting

Although there were not enough ANFO tests for proper scaling,
the results achieved, combined with the experience of Leslie
Lang, allowed an initial alternative hole pattern relative to the
TNT-slurry to be considered. ANFO has lower energy density
than a TNT-slurry but produces a larger gas volume per weight
of explosive. Because the charge weight only will be around 20
kg, both the energy content and the gas volume release will be
much higher with the TNT-slurry. This indicates that the specific
drilling will be much higher with the ANFO explosive. Experience
from earlier experiments carried out by Lang indicates that the
ANFO explosive will need a spacing of 2 m with a loading depth
ANFO explosive will need a spacing of 2 m with a loading depth
of 1 m. The crater curve for this type of explosive also indicates
a more plastic type of breakage behavior (Figure 72.24).
Today, in addition to the high energy TNT-slurries and the ANFO
type of explosives, a new generation of explosives exists--the
emulsion slurries. Emulsion slurries have been introduced
throughout the world and are priced somewhere between the
TNT-slurry and the ANFO explosives. The energy density and the
gas release energy for this type of explosive are also somewhere
between the explosives mentioned. They can be easily loaded
up-hole, and they are water-resistant. Today there are three
types of explosives, each with a different breaking performance,
to study for production blasting--the TNT-slurry, the emulsion
slurry and ANFO.
If the optimum explosive-geometry-ore combination is to be
found, then the following procedure should be followed:
1. Explosive Type 1 (TNT-slurry), Type 2 (Emulsion),
and Type 3 (ANFO) are considered for the VCR stope.
Explosive Type 1 has a higher density and energy ratio
than explosive Type 2, which has higher ratings than
explosive Type 3. Consequently do and spacing will be
greater for Type 1 than for Type 2 and Type 3.
2. Three different hole patterns are drilled in the stope
Dl. Type 1 should be used for the test stope with a hole
pattern equal to 3 &##8734; 3 m. Type 2 should be
used for
a pattern 2.5 &##8734; 2.5 m, and Type 3 should be
used for a pattern 2 &##8734; 2 m.
3. The Type 1 explosive should also be tried in the
stopes drilled for Type 2 and Type 3 to examine
whether the higher specific charge will result in such a
good fragmentation that the lower cost for loading,
hauling, and crushing will pay for the extra costs
caused by the higher specific drilling and specific
charge resulting in a lower total mining cost.
4. If the Type 1 explosive pulls satisfactorily in the
lower part of the stope with hole pattern 3 &##8734; 3
m, it would be wise to see whether a larger do can be
used (a smaller specific charge). The breakage process
must be somewhat different when several charges are
detonated at the same level and at the same time
detonated at the same level and at the same time
compared to the crater experiments where just a single
shot is made.
5. To evaluate the results, it is important to follow up
the fragmentation distribution achieved and the costs
for drilling, blasting, loading, hauling, and crushing.
Table 72.7 and Figure 72.25 give the details of the proposal. The
suggested values for the Type 2 explosive (emulsion) are
uncertain and should probably be checked by a test in 4-in hole
diameter with loading depth of 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, and 0.9 m.

Results from the VCR Production Blasts. The main objective of
this section was to show a way to measure, perform, and
evaluate crater tests. The results from the production stope are
summarized in Tables 72.8 and 72.9 to give the reader a feeling
of what the outcome became when the test data were applied as
design parameters for scaled-up blast.

The explosive used in the production stope had the data found
in Table 72.8.
Blast Design for Drifting
Fully automated drifting is not yet a reality, and it will take some
time before it is developed to its full potential. Manual work is
still needed to charge the rounds. In drilling, scaling, rock
support, and mucking, mechanization has improved. In modern
mines, hydraulic drilling equipment has taken over after the
pneumatic. This has meant enormous capacity increases as the
penetration rates have gone up by a factor of 3-4.
Most new drill rigs are equipped with air-conditioned and noise-
insulated cabs where the operator may comfortably sit and
listen to his choice of music, if so inclined. Computers improve
the accuracy and help drill the holes in the face right at the spot
where they should be. The earlier, time-consuming survey work
and mark-up of the holes to be drilled is, or will soon be, gone.
Today, the charging work is not as highly mechanized as the
drilling, but there has been considerable development work to
increase safety and provide a better work environment. Many
mines still use fuse-and-cap or electric detonators, but in
modern mines shock-tube detonator systems like Nonel? are a
modern mines shock-tube detonator systems like Nonel? are a
must due to safety aspects. With electric detonator systems,
there are, unfortunately, still too many accidents due to
electrical interference. Many mines perform the drift-charging
with scissor-lifts placed on a truck. The charging is done with
sticks of NG explosives such as dynamites and cartridges of
watergel or emulsion. In dry conditions ANFO is usually charged
by means of pneumatic equipment. Formerly, at larger tunnel
excavations, one could see drill rigs with one or two booms plus
a telescopic working basket that made it possible to charge the
holes at the same time as the drilling. In many countries this is
considered unsafe and has been abandoned. The risk of falling
rock was large and mistakes drilling into a charged hole caused
unintentional detonations.
Modern mines have invested in dedicated charging equipment,
which can visit the face after the drilling is performed, and from
where the crew can safely charge the round. The trend in recent
years has been away from NG-explosives and toward emulsion
explosives. ANFO, however, is still overwhelmingly used. Many
emulsion-charging trucks use a repumpable, ready-made
emulsion that can be pumped into the boreholes. The most
modern of these can bring with them an unsensitized emulsion
matrix that will not be sensitized until the emulsion leaves the
nozzle of the charging hose. Through chemical gassing, small
gas bubbles (hot spots) are introduced that transform the
unsensitized matrix to an explosive with excellent
characteristics. The advantage of the emulsion is that it is a very
good water-resistant explosive. When the detonation is ideal, it
produces far less toxic fumes than other explosives, the
breakage performance is excellent, and, through smart
equipment, the linear charge strength can be made flexible for
performing cautious blasting of the contours.
The Design Process
Dividing the Tunnel Face Area in Design Sections. The basic
principles for charge calculations are still based upon the work
by Langefors and Kihlstrm (1963). When the charge calculation
of the drill and blast pattern is performed, it is normal to divide
the face into five separate sections:
Cut section
Stoping holes breaking horizontally and upwards
Stoping holes breaking downwards
Contour holes
Lifter holes
The most important operation in the blasting procedure is to
create an opening in the face to develop another free surface in
the rock. This is the function of the cut holes. If this stage fails,
the round can definitely not be considered a success. In the
worst case, the rest of the round freezes and cannot be mucked
or reshot safely.
Advance. Figure 72.26 shows a cut design in which one large-
diameter empty hole has been used. The advance is restricted
by the diameter of the empty hole and by the hole deviations for
the smaller diameter holes. For economy, the entire hole depth
must be utilized. Drifting becomes very expensive if the advance
(I) is much less than 95% of the drilled hole depth (H).

H = 0.15 + 34.1&##8709; - 39.4&##8709;2
where &##8709; is the large hole diameter expressed in meters
(0.05 < &##8709; < 0.25 m) and H is the drilled depth (m).
The advance I for 95% advance then is
I = 0.95H
Equations 72.25 and 72.26 are valid for a drilling deviation not
exceeding 2%.
Hole depths needed for a &##8709;102-mm-large hole in a
parallel cut would be about 3.2 m. A &##8709;120mm hole
would need a hole length of 3.7 m and a &##8709;150 mm will
need 4.4 m. For the large hole diameters of &##8709;250 and
&##8709;300 mm used in the LKAB tests presented in sections
6.3 and 6.4, the advances were 6.1-6.9 m before scaling for the
&##8709;250 mm hole and 7.1-7.5 m for the 300 mm.

Equations 72.25 and 72.26 would predict 5.9 m for the
&##8709;250mm and 6.4m for the &##8709;300 mm hole,
indicating that the equations underestimate the advances when
very large hole diameters are used. The calculations of each
individual burden in the quadrangles, the stoping holes, the
lifters and the contour holes are described in detail by Persson,
Holmberg, and Lee (1994).
Number of Blastholes. The number of blastholes necessary to
provide a balanced distribution of explosive energy is dependent
upon the rock type, the geology, the stress field, the explosive
characteristics, blasthole diameter, and the contour blasting
In tunneling and drifting, the number of blastholes and the
specific charge used is a function of the drift area. Figure 72.27
gives an indication of the number of boreholes needed for
various tunneling areas. Figure 72.28 indicates the required
specific energy.

Cut. In the cut, the holes are arranged geometrically in such a
way that firing the charges in sequence creates an opening,
which becomes wider and wider until the stoping holes can take
over. The cut holes can be drilled to form a series of wedges (V-
cut), to form a fan (fan cut), or in a parallel-hole geometry they
may be drilled in a pattern close to and parallel with an empty,
large central hole (parallel-hole-cut or parallel cut).
The choice of cut must be made with an eye toward what drilling
equipment is available, how narrow the tunnel is, and the
desired advance. With V-cuts and fan cuts (where angled holes
are drilled), the advance is strictly dependent upon the width of
the tunnel. The parallel hole cut with one or two centered large-
diameter empty holes is being used extensively with large,
mechanized drilling rigs.
The advantages are obvious: in narrow tunnels, the large booms
cannot be angled sufficiently to create the necessary V-cut
angles; it is easier to maintain good directional accuracy in the
drilling when all holes are parallel so there is no need to change
the angle of the booms.
In the parallel cut, standard-diameter holes are drilled with high
precision around a larger hole usually with diameters of 65 to
175 mm. The large, empty hole provides a free surface for the
smaller holes to work toward, and the opening is enlarged
gradually until the stoping holes can take over the breakage.
Stoping Holes. After the cut has been shot, the stoping holes will
successively enlarge the excavation opening,. The stoping holes
have a much easier job to do than the cut holes and the burdens
can be increased considerably as the free face to shoot towards
is wider.
Lifters. When the lifters, the wall holes, and the back holes are
drilled, the lookout angle should be considered. For an advance
of 4 m, a lookout angle of 3&##176; should be enough for
providing space to drill the next round.
The floor is seldom dry and as the holes are angled downwards,
they are often filled with water. Therefore, a water resistant
explosive should be used. It is important to achieve good heave
and fragmentation in this part of the round to provide for an
acceptable mucking operation.
Methods for Minimizing the Damage to the Walls. Optimum
results (with respect to cautious blasting through which
unwanted damage and smooth perimeter walls are produced)
will be achieved when drilling holes are placed at the intended
place and when the perimeter holes are shot simultaneously. As
indicated, experiments have shown that if adjacent holes are
separated in time more than 1 ms, the result deteriorates. Such
precise timing will require the use of electronic detonators.
Many techniques are used to reduce the linear charge
concentration in the contour row and in the buffer row. For
Decoupled plastic pipe charges
Detonating cord
String-loaded bulk emulsion
Low density/strength bulk explosives (e.g., ANFO or
emulsion with Polystyrene)
Notched holes together with a very light charge
Successful smooth-blasting requires extremely good precision
drilling and a fairly good rock quality. However, it is worth
noting that even if the rock mass contains such structural
features as bedding planes, joints, and fractures, or if the rock
mass contains some poorly consolidated material, a cautious
blasting method will always result in less overbreak and less
disturbance of the rock mass. Whether the damage affects the
stand-up time of the rock contour or not depends upon the
character of the damage, the rock structure. the groundwater
flow and, last but not least, the orientation of the damaged
weakness planes in relation to the contour and the gravity load.
The rock damage can be described by the induced peak particle
velocity. This is proportional to the induced rock strain, and it
becomes a measure of the damage potential of the wave
motion. The surrounding rock mass, of course, contains a
number of potential weak planes, each of which is able to
withstand a different level of peak particle velocity.
It is not unusual for blasters to fail to consider the effects of the
charges in the rows adjacent to the often well-planned smooth-
blasted contour row. Charging the adjacent rows with a heavy
charge results in cracks spreading further into the remaining
rock than from the smooth-blasted row. It is better to optimize
the charge calculations such that the damage zone from the
contour holes is limited. This can easily be done by use of Figure
72.29, where the damage zone is given for different linear
charge concentrations. Persson, Holmberg, and Lee (1994)
provide the equations for calculation of the damage curves.

A burden of 0.8 m is normal for a hole diameter of 48 mm with
&##8709;17 mm Gurit pipe charges. From Figure 72.29 it can
be seen that this charge results in a damage zone of about 0.3
m. Choosing a fully charged hole of ANFO (charge concentration
of l = 1.6 kg/m) in the next row with a damage zone of 1.5 m is
of no value because this results in a damage zone that extends
0.4 m further into the rock (1.5 - 0.8 - 0.3 = 0.4 m) than to use
a charge concentration that results in a damage zone equal to
that caused by the Gurit plus the burden, i.e., 1.2 m.
It is apparent from this example that a reduction of the damage
zone can be obtained by reducing the charge concentration per
meter of drill hole (such a charge should have l = 0.8 - 1.2
kg/m). This obviously results in increased costs for drill and
blast operations, but these are balanced, for example, in
tunneling by the advantage of a safer roof and decreased costs
for grouting and maintenance.

The same exact approach can be used for designing the blasts
near stope perimeters. In this case, the curves shown in Figure
72.30 can be used.
SveBeFo has performed extensive tests (Olsson and Bergqvist
1993) where they have directly studied the crack lengths from
blastholes. Today, several hundreds of boreholes have been
blasted in the Vnga granite dimensional stone quarry in
southern Sweden. In a 5-m-high bench, three or four identically
charged and simultaneously initiated holes were shot. Each hole
was primed, the charge length was 4.5 m and the top was
unstemmed. Electronic delay detonators (EDS) from Dyno Nobel
were used throughout.
After the blast, large blocks were carefully removed and cut
horizontally using a large diamond circular cutoff saw. The crack
pattern was highlighted using a conventional dye penetrant at
one or several places along the hole axis.
By this direct method SveBeFo has tested the influence of the
burden and the spacing, the hole size, the charge concentration,
the decoupling ratio, the VOD, and the initiation delay time
between holes. The hole diameters used have been mainly
&##8709;38, &##8709;51 and &##8709;64 mm.
The explosives used were primarily the Swedish contour blasting
explosives like Gurit, Kimulux 42, Detonex 80 (80 g/m PETN
cord) and Emulet 20 (an emulsion styropore mix with 20% of
the volume strength relative to ANFO). The explosives tested
have large differences in their VOD values, ranging from about
2,000 m/s for Gurit, to about 4,800 m/s for Kimulux 42, to
about 6,500 m/s for Detonex 80.
Figure 72.31 gives a comparison of single hole blasting and
multi-hole blasting with simultaneous initiation of the holes.
Here the basic blasting pattern with a burden (B) and spacing
(S) of B &##8734; S = 0.5 &##8734; 0.5 m was used.

Some of the observed results were:
Simultaneous initiation with electronic detonators
gives much shorter cracks. Thus the cooperation
between the different charges has a positive effect on
the crack lengths. This is in contrast to the far field
The crack length decreases with decreasing coupling
ratio. A bulk explosive that completely fills the hole
gives the longest cracks.
The crack lengths increase with increasing charge
When delay times used were as low as 1 ms, the
crack lengths still looked more like the cracks from
single hole blasts.
Traditional smooth-blasting procedures with
conventional LPs give unnecessarily long cracks.
Blasthole Sequencing. The charges in a tunnel blast must be
initiated in such a sequence that the opening produced by a
previous hole can be utilized by the following holes. The
initiation sequence is normally as follows:
1. Cut (in the following order: first quadrangle, second
quadrangle, third quadrangle, fourth quadrangle).
2. Stoping (stoping towards the cut and stoping
3. Contour holes, wall. These holes are shot with the
same interval number.
4. Contour holes, roof. These holes are shot with the
same interval number.
5. Lifters except corner holes. These holes are shot
with the same interval number.
6. Lifter corner holes.
Because the rock removed between each hole in the cut and the
central empty hole must be blown out to provide expansion
room for the rock removed by the next charge, a long enough
time interval between these holes is needed for this ejection to
occur. The delay times in the cut are usually 75 to 100 ms. For
the rest of the round, where the holes have a larger burden, the
delay intervals are of the order of 500 ms.
Review of Long Rounds Drifting at the
LKAB Malmberget Mine
Background. Tests with long rounds were conducted in the late
1980s at LKAB in Malmberget (Niklasson, et al. 1988). These
tests indicated that it was possible to drill and blast normal drift
rounds with a length up to 7.4 m and, therefore, it was
recommended that long rounds be introduced, if it could be
done with reasonable operating costs.
From these tests, the specification for a suitable drill rig was
established. This rig would then be tested under operating
conditions in the Sofia project during 1990 and 1991 at LKAB
Kiruna. The Sofia project has been reported by Niklasson and
Keisu (1991). A total length of 1,260 m of drifts were blasted.
The project looked at improving the cuts, the rounds
themselves, and improving the contour blasting. The Sofia
project was divided into two main parts. The first part dealt with
short rounds (4.4 m hole depth) and the second part dealt with
long rounds (7.8 m hole depth).
The standard rounds in Kiruna utilize &##8709;48 mm
blastholes and a &##8709;120 mm cut hole (Figure 72.32).
Nearly thirty rounds were blasted in part 1 of the project, to
serve as a reference for the continuing tests with &##8709;64
mm blastholes.

The second part of the project had the goal of developing a cut
so that entire rounds could drilled and blasted with only
&##8709;64 mm and no large center hole in the cut. Many
types of cuts were tested. As the research work continued, a cut
was developed that functioned well for long rounds. Figure
72.33 shows a developed cut providing good advance.

In the Sofia project, Dyno Nobel electronic detonators were used
to refine the contour blasting. It was shown that a higher quality
of contour was achieved when the contour holes were fired
instantaneously. In the contour, the delay time was 5,500 ms
with a maximum scatter of 1 ms. Notched holes were also
tested in the contour with good results. The notching was
performed with a water-jet nozzle.
After the Sofia program was completed, the Atlas Copco rig with
mechanized rod adding system was introduced into production
mechanized rod adding system was introduced into production
in the Malmberget Mine for drilling 7.8 m long holes.
The tests by Niklasson and Keisu (1993) in Malmberget were
carried out in parallel with production. Drifting was made both in
ore and waste rock with considerable variation in rock quality.
Of the 220 long rounds drilled and blasted, 115 were monitored
in detail.
Fjellborg and Olsson (1996) reported additional tests of the long
round concept with a large center hole in the cut. The tests
conducted at the LKAB Malmberget mine were very encouraging.
Parts of this project are described in Section 72.7.
Drilling. The drilling pattern in Malmberget was projected on the
face with a standard slide projector and manually marked. A
portable laser used by the drilling operator gave the reference
direction. The drilling pattern was the same as for conventional
rounds (short round, &##8709;48 mm). Consequently there
was no reduction in the number of holes. The short rounds with
&##8709;48 mm holes used a parallel hole cut with a
&##8709;102 mm center hole. See Figure 72.32.
Malmberget used the cut that was developed at the Sofia
project, a &##8709;64 mm opening without a large center hole.
See Figure 72.33.
Cross bits were used in the ore and button bits in waste rock.
Tube steel was used on the middle boom during some weeks of
the tests. This gave a stiffer drill string and the accuracy in
drilling improved.
Charging. As mechanized equipment using a hose feeder had
not yet been developed, the conventional charging method was
used. Normally in the &##8709;48 mm holes, &##8709;22 mm
and &##8709;32 mm pipe charges are used. Pipe charges
adjusted to &##8709;64 mm diameter boreholes were not
available because this diameter is very unusual in drifting. This
resulted in very decoupled charges with a tendency to be easily
blown out. A number of undetonated pipe charges were found
on the muck pile after blasting.
The best result was achieved with the ANFO back blowing
technique. This method makes it possible to fill just part of the
technique. This method makes it possible to fill just part of the
borehole and thereby reduce the linear charge concentration.
Unfortunately this could not be used at all times as ANFO can
only be used in dry holes.
Kimulux with a diameter of 29 mm was tested in the contour in
some of the &##8709;64 mm rounds. The function of the
charge was better than when Kimulux 22 mm was used. Less
undetonated pipe was found on the muck pile but the blasting
seemed to be too powerful.
For lifters, when not using ANFO, &##8709;39 mm Dynamex
was used.
The timing sequence of the cut holes differed from the
traditional short rounds. Delays between the holes were much
longer to avoid "line up" problems.
Scaling. Scaling costs were calculated to be reduced by half
when pulling the long rounds. However, the scaling of the face
increased considerably, even though the round pulled to full
Even though the specific charge was much higher for a long
round than for a conventional one, no sign of increased damage
in the roof or walls was present. These observations were based
only on visual observations and on the amount of scaling work
that was required.
Advance per Round. The authors' report that the performance
varied between good to excellent. In summary, 40% of the long
rounds functioned very well showing an advance of more than
93%; 40% were fairly good with 90%-93% advance; and
remaining rounds were acceptable. The mean advance per
round was 7.0 m. Poor advance mainly depended on some
factors such as defects in the rock or an abnormal amount of
water. Hole deviations were reported to be of no problem when
&##8709;64 mm Retrac bits were used. Figure 72.34 shows the
advances for long rounds in Malmberget.

Conclusions from the Results of the Malmberget Test.
Opening cuts with only &##8709;64 mm holes work
well, just as well as standard cuts with large-diameter
empty center holes. These tests apply for short rounds
with 4.0-4.5 m drilled depths, both in ore and in
Long rounds, 7.8-m long, were found to be
economically feasible for introduction at LKAB in
By precisely delayed intervals or radial notching, the
quality of the contour could be improved considerably.
The contour test showed that standard explosive
products suitable for the &##8709;64 mm holes do not
yet exist. This is to be expected because this diameter
is not normally used, and this might be the reason why
the contours of the 48 mm rounds generally were of
better quality than those with &##8709;64 mm holes.
A precise laser reference for the alignment
instruments and an accurate marking of the drilling
pattern on the face are very important factors, not only
to keep the overbreak low but also to keep the drift
heading in the right direction at the right level.
A clean floor in front of the face is required to obtain
a correct lookout angle for the lifter holes.
Substitution of the &##8709;64 mm Cut
by a &##8709;300 mm Center Hole
Background. Introducing very large-scale sublevel caving has
led to higher productivity and lower costs for LKAB's mines in
Kiruna and Malmberget.
Kiruna and Malmberget.
Development is still the most expensive unit operation. Large
scale means that the number of available development faces on
each level is very limited, which means that the requirement for
effective drift driving is pronounced. In the work cycle for
drifting, up to ten different activities are needed. The benefit of
using long rounds is obvious as the total set-up time for pulling
twice the conventional advances is reduced by 50%.
To increase the effectiveness, the length of the round has been
increased as mentioned in section 72.6.3. In 1993 trials were
conducted with various cut geometries based upon the use of
&##8709;64 mm holes. One of the cuts (Figure 72.35) provided
advances up to 95% of the drilled length. This cut had six
uncharged &##8709;64 mm holes to provide for a better swell
volume. The geometry of the cut also meant that the distance
between charged holes increased and thereby the risk for
dynamic dead-pressing of the explosive was reduced.

Cut performance tests clearly showed that when a
&##8709;300 mm empty hole was introduced in the cut the
advance per round increased to 100%. The cost for the large-
diameter central hole could be balanced by the cost savings
associated with less drilling, explosive use, face scaling, and a
better quality of the contour.
In 1994, LKAB decided to purchase a special drill rig for drilling
this large-diameter cut hole. A project was established around
the use of this drilling machine to:
the use of this drilling machine to:
Optimize the diameter of the large diameter hole
Find the best blasting plan
Determine the blast damage zone
Reduce scaling and reinforcement
Project Goal. The main goal of the project was to use a
predrilled large-diameter cut hole to optimize the length of the
rounds, refine the work-cycle, maximize the advance, and
minimize the blast damage zone. The target was to achieve 99%
advance in 90% of the rounds. Drilling error for the contour
holes should be limited to 20 cm outside the planned contour,
and the scaling and reinforcement costs should be reduced by
Test Area. The main testing area was in the Norra Alliansen
orebody on the 790-m level. Four 150-m-long drifts mainly in
the ore were allocated for the tests. The magnetite orebody
dipped at 45&##176;. The footwall waste rock was a leptite and
a low-strength biotite schist with layers having a thickness of a
few centimeters up to 1.5 meters.
Drilling Equipment. The drilling rig purchased for the large-
diameter cut hole was an AMV equipped with a 6-in Wassara ITH
water-powered machine (Figure 72.36). The large-diameter hole
was drilled in two steps. A &##8709;165 mm pilot hole was
drilled first and then reamed to a diameter of 250 or 300 mm.
The maximum hole length was determined to be 32 m based
upon an estimated maximum hole deviation of 1%. The tube
magazine contained 25 pieces of 2-m-long drill tubes. The drill
penetration rate for the &##8709;165-mm-diameter pilot hole
in magnetite was 0.3-0.4 meter/min. The drill penetration rate
when reaming the pilot hole to full size was 0.17 meter/min for
the &##8709;250 mm and 0.11 meter/min for the
&##8709;300 mm large hole.
An Atlas Copco Rocket Boomer 353S (Figure 72.37) equipped
with an automatic rod adding system (RAS) and Bever Control
tunneling position system were used to drill the long drift
rounds. The average depth of drilled boreholes was 7.5 m.
Part 1--Optimal Diameter of the Large Hole. The standard
drilling pattern for the &##8709;64 mm holes was used (see
Figure 72.38). The standard drift round has a size of 6.5
Figure 72.38). The standard drift round has a size of 6.5
&##8734; 5.0 m and contains 57 holes. The predicted advance
is 7.5 m. All holes except the back holes are charged with the
non-cap-sensitive pumpable water-resistant emulsion explosive
Kimulux R and a KP primer (VOD 7500 m/s). The back holes are
charged with a small 0.5 m long bottom charge of emulsion plus
a 40 g/m detonating cord KSP40.

The objective of this part of the project was to compare the
advance between the standard long drift rounds and rounds
containing a large center hole of &##8709;250 mm or
&##8709;300 mm. When testing the large-diameter hole, the
center of the standard cut was replaced by the large hole
center of the standard cut was replaced by the large hole
(Figure 72.39).

These tests included 14 standard rounds, 7 rounds with the
&##8709;250-mm-diameter hole and 5 rounds with the
&##8709;300 mm hole.
Part 2--Optimal Blasting Plan. This part of the project included
tests with a drill pattern where every borehole is located based
upon the expected rock removal produced by that hole. Each
hole should have its own optimal burden. The hole positions and
the delays around the cut are set so the blasting sequence
becomes "corkscrew-shaped" (see Figure 72.40).

Tests were made using electronic detonators (EDS), 40 or
80g/m detonating cord and string-loaded Kimulux R in the
contour holes (Table 72.10). The tests with electronic detonators
included tests of the two systems developed by DNAG and Dyno
The Associated Blast Damage Zone. Both borehole logging and
the slot technique were performed to determine the amount of
damage induced in the contour rock (Table 72.11). Borehole
logging was applied in four diamond-drill holes and cracks were
observed before and after drifting by a borehole logging TV
camera. The tests using the slotting technique were performed
by SveBeFo who have applied this technique (Olsson and
Bergqvist 1996) over many years to study blast damage.

After blasting, a special diamond saw was used to make a series
of vertical cuts 2 m long and 0.5 m deep.The rock between the
cuts was then removed and the rock surface perpendicular to
the bore hole axis could be examined for radial blast-induced
cracks. A dye penetrant was sprayed on the surface and photos
were taken of the crack patterns.
Results. The advances were measured before and after scaling
and compared with the standard reference 65-mm long drift
rounds. Scaling was performed with a Montabert BRP 30
hydraulic hammer and with water at 100 bars pressure. The
results clearly showed that using a large-diameter cut hole
increased the advance when using the standard drill pattern
(Figure 72.41). The advance for the &##8709;300 mm holes,
even before scaling, had an average advance of 97%. It should
also be noted that the rounds with large-hole-diameter central
holes have a better advance before scaling compared to the
standard reference round after scaling.

In all of the blasted rounds, hole deviation was measured in
about 20 bore holes per round (Table 72.12). The deviation
varied from zero to a maximum deviation of 0.4 m. The
deviation is equally spread over the face but with the largest
deviation observed in the contour holes. The average is 2.8% for
the standard rounds while that for the large center cut hole
rounds is 2.2%.
The appearance of half casts varies greatly with the type of
explosive, the ignition system, and their different combinations
(Figure 72.42). Contour holes fully charged with emulsion and
contour holes charged with 80g/m detonating cord when
initiated by long period delay (LP) caps showed almost the same
result of half casts. Standard LP caps with a delay of 3,500 ms
were used in the whole contour. Detonating cord used in
combination with electronic caps (EDS) gave results that were
significantly better due to the instantaneous ignition. The best
overall results based upon half cast observations were obtained
when using electronic caps (EDS).

The method with the slot combined with dye penetrants was
successful in examining blast damage. The results could very
clearly distinguish crack patterns with the different explosives
and initiation combinations. Contour blasting with a decoupled
string of emulsion initiated instantaneously with electronic
detonators resulted in no blast initiated cracks. Contour holes
fully charged with emulsion ended up with radial crack lengths
of at least 0.5 m. The results of the cautious contour blasting
tests indicate that, when electronic detonators are used, the
type of explosive used has a minor influence on the results. The
excellent results depend mainly upon the instantaneous ignition
with scatter below one millisecond.
The amount of overbreak was measured for every round. The
amount of overbreak depends on a number of factors such as
the alignment of the drilling rig, the drilling accuracy, the
method of scaling, and the geology. Therefore, it cannot be used
as a true measure of the blasting quality, but it does gives a
good indication of how the overall operation is developing. The
average overbreak at the beginning of the project was greater
than 15%, sometimes reaching 30%. At the end of the project,
overbreak had decreased to an average of 12%.
This project, during the period of September 1994 through
November 1995, included a total of 53 drift rounds involving the
use of a large-diameter hole. By achieving an average advance
of 99.5% and by cutting the need for scaling by 50% when
using a large-diameter cut hole in combination with the modified
drilling pattern, the main goals of the project were fulfilled.
Based upon the project results, LKAB has introduced the pre-
drilled large-diameter cut hole method in the Malmberget mine.
drilled large-diameter cut hole method in the Malmberget mine.
Some Environmental Issues
Good Blasting Practice Is Important. To minimize any spillage
during the charging and blasting, it is essential to be aware of
some factors that may affect the aquatic environment.
Operators and management should pay attention to the
A good drilling accuracy is important. Too short
distances between the holes can result in dynamic dead
pressing of the adjacent hole causing undetonated
explosives in the muck pile.
Do not charge nonwaterproof explosives such as
ANFO into wet or water-filled boreholes.
Bulk explosive may be discharged when one
carelessly moves loading hoses from hole to hole.
When ANFO is being loaded pneumatically, avoid
any blowback during the charging or any spillage when
the hose is transferred to the next hole.
Be aware of excess ANFO at the collar that will get
into the muck pile.
Spillage may occur when charging or recharging
loading equipment on site or cleaning the equipment
after performing the operation.
Do not empty loading hoses by flushing the
explosive onto the ground.
Proper timing is essential as cutoff boreholes can
result in undetected explosives in the muck pile
presenting a potential contamination hazard.
Long exposure to water and warm temperatures increases the
rate of the reaction from ammonium nitrate to ammonia and
nitrite. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to test the quality
of water on blasting sites. Water of doubtful quality should never
be released into natural water systems.
All civil explosives contain ammonium nitrate. Products
originating from chemical reaction of ammonium nitrate may
present a risk to the aquatic environment if nondetonated
explosive comes into contact with water and the ammonium
nitrate dissolves. The dissolved ammonium nitrate may be
transformed into nitrite or ammonia. At mines, quarries, and
tunneling work usually there are limits to what the
owner/contractor can release to the environment and it is
owner/contractor can release to the environment and it is
always a good practice to pay attention to the drilling and
blasting practice and the explosives used in order to minimize
any contamination.
Depending on their nitroglycerine content, gelatinous explosives
have good-to-excellent water resistance. The water resistance of
emulsion and watergel explosives is excellent. In addition, extra
protection can be obtained from the cartridge wrapping. The
higher the degree of water resistance of an explosive, the lower
is the risk of contamination. Spillage is not a problem when
using cartridged explosive.
Powder explosives containing nitroglycerine or TNT form the
majority of nonwaterproof cartridge explosives. The explosives'
compositions themselves are not inherently waterproof although
the cartridge wrapping affords some protection but, in general,
cartridging only affords a small measure of protection, since the
cartridge may be damaged during the loading operation
Waterproof bulk explosives include watergels and emulsions,
and these may resist water for several weeks or even months.
Spilled emulsion or watergel explosives will dissolve slowly.
Dissolving will be faster after the emulsion has been exposed to
mechanical stresses. In the case of emulsion explosive, such
stresses may break down the emulsion and separate salts such
as ammonium nitrate from the oil and water. Subsequently the
salts may dissolve in water.
The main nonwaterproof bulk explosive in this category is ANFO,
which will dissolve easily in water and should not be used in wet
or water-filled holes.
Toxic Fumes. Fumes are the gases resulting from detonation.
Typically, one kilogram of explosives will produce between 700
to 1,000 liters of such gases. The stable products of detonation
are nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water, but in addition small
quantities of carbon monoxide and nitrous gases are produced.
Toxic fumes amounts to around 4% of the after-detonation
gases. CO typically &##126;3% and NOx &##126;1%.
The amount of nonideal detonation products formed depends on
a number of factors: the type of explosive, the water resistance,
type of cartridge wrapping, the VOD, the charge diameter,
type of cartridge wrapping, the VOD, the charge diameter,
loading density, type of initiation, and especially the
confinement of the explosives.
Some recommendations to minimize the toxic fumes:
Be careful to drill the holes at the right position
according to the drilling plan. This gives less toxic
fumes and best blasting results.
Use alignment devices when drilling so most holes
are slanted slightly upwards. This prevents water from
accumulating in the drill hole, contaminating the
explosives and affecting the detonation properties.
Use an oxygen-balanced explosive with good fume
Leave an unloaded hole length or stem the holes!
Explosives in the collar increase the amount of toxic
fumes--but not the breakage!
Avoid cord in ANFO as it might not initiate ANFO to
complete reaction, resulting in toxic fumes. The cord
itself is strongly oxygen deficient, and by itself
generates about
3-l CO per meter cord.
Explosives in "air" increase the fumes.
Avoid spacers between cartridges!
Considerable quantities of after-detonation fumes
can become trapped in the muckpile. A good practice is
to flush the muckpile with water to remove the dust
and the trapped gases before mucking and hauling
Good shot-firing practice contributes towards
balanced fumes from blasting operations but does not
remove the need for proper and adequate ventilation.
Measure the toxic fume concentration before
entering the mine after a blast
The authors wish to thank the management of AECI Explosives
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1. Dyno Nobel, Gyttorp, Nora, Sweden.
2. Dept. of Mining Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. AECI Explosives Ltd., Modderfontein, South Africa.