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International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115

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Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences
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Technical Note

Blast design and vibration control at an underground metal mine for

the safety of surface structures
M.P. Roy a,n, P.K. Singh a, Md. Sarim a, L.S. Shekhawat b

CSIR - Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research, Dhanbad, India

Hindustan Zinc Limited, Udaipur 313004, India

art ic l e i nf o
Article history:
Received 24 June 2015
Received in revised form
28 November 2015
Accepted 1 January 2016
Underground blasting
Blast vibration
Surface structure
Blast design
Vibration control

1. Introduction
Vibrations as a result of blasting practices in mining engineering are complex phenomena controlled by many variables. Ground
vibrations from blasting have been a continuous problem for the
mining and construction industries, the public living near the
mining activities and the regulatory agencies responsible for setting safety and environmental standards. Questions frequently
arise about blast vibration effects and specically about whether
vibrations can or could have caused cracking and other damage in
homes and other structures. The answer depends primarily on
vibration levels and frequencies and to a lesser degree on site and
structure specic factors. All blast vibration complaints are due to
how much complainants houses shake, not how much the ground
shakes. The three factors of ground vibrations that determine the
degree of shaking are ground vibration amplitude (peak particle
velocity; PPV), its duration and its frequency.1 Apart from the PPV,
the frequency content and the relative amplitude of horizontal and
vertical components can also play important roles with regards to
the response of structures in the nearby areas. On the other hand,
various variables such as the charge loading density, site geology,
blast geometry, can also affect the ground shock at a given scaled
distance.2 Further, the inuence of the blasting excavation disturbance on the surrounding rocks of deep-buried tunnels is

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (M.P. Roy).
1365-1609/& 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

mainly embodied by the damage or failure of rock masses caused

by the stress redistribution of surrounding rocks, the blasting load
of the excavation blasting and the transient unloading of the excavation load.3 Li et al.4 tried to assess the tunnel safety by analyzing the PPV and stress distribution. Xia et al.5 observed that the
rock damage extent around the tunnels linearly increases with the
peak particle velocity (PPV). Human beings notice and react to
vibration at levels much lower than the levels established as
structural damage thresholds.6,7 Previous studies on human response to transient vibrations have established that human tolerance to vibration decreases the longer the vibration continues.
Reidarman and Nyberg8 made an attempt to characterize the
vibrations that occur along tunnel walls during excavation blasting. The effect of underground structures on above ground buildings has been studied in the past focusing mainly on the resulting
surface settlements.9 Recently, the effect of underground structures on the seismic response of ground surface has attracted the
attention of researchers, since it has been concluded that the
presence of these subsurface structures has also effects on the
seismic response of nearby ground.10 Smerzini et al.11 proposed an
analytical solution to describe the effect of underground cavities
on the ground motion generated by P, S or R seismic waves.
However, these methods consider some simple assumptions such
as elastic medium in the analyses. The other factors such as soil
nonlinearity were not considered in those methods.12 The mining
industry needs realistic blast design levels and also practical
techniques to safe guard the structures in their periphery. At the


M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115

same time, mines safety control agencies responsible for blasting

and explosives need reasonable, appropriate and technologically
established and supportable blast vibration damage criteria on
which to base their regulations.1315 Finally, neighbours around
the mining operations require really protection of their property
and health. Last but not the least; the mining operations should
not be stopped only due to apprehension of the damage to the
This paper investigates the issue of ground vibration complaints at Kayad village due to the blasting at Kayad underground
mine and its possible solutions. The study was conducted through
systematic steps by changing blast design viz. amount of explosives in a blast round or in a delay, number of holes, position
and timing of deck, ring sequence, hole diameter and length and
detonation of explosives by different initiating devices.

2. Geological details
The study has been carried out at a Kayad underground mine. It
is a lead-zinc mine of Hindustan Zinc Limited and is located at
Kayad village in Ajmer district of Rajasthan state in India. The mine
is located on the Eastern fringe of Kayad village. The deposit lies
between latitude N263130 and longitude E7441 and 74 42.
The Kayad village is 9 km NNE of Ajmer city and is well connected
by tar road.
There are three lenses the Main lens, K1A lens and S1 lens.
The earlier three lenses viz. K1, K2 and K3 have been re-correlated
as one single lens on account of the positive intersections encountered in the drilling in the vacant spaces between these lenses. The main host rock is Quartz mica schist with some mineralization also occurring in calc silicate. Main lens has been dissected at many places by pegmatite. The lenses lie parallel to the
axial plane foliation/cleavage/fracture of the fold system or shear
fractures governed by the lithological variations. The main lens has
been explored to variable depths and maximum upto 50 mRL
while K1A and S1 go upto 350 mRL. The main lens ranges in
average width from 5 m in steeper portions to about 40 m in the
at lying portion. Maximum strike of the main lens is 900 m at the
depth of approximate 250 m from the surface. It shows a general
reducing trend in depth. This lens shows swelling and pinching
nature probably because of superimposition of different phases of
folding. The total reserves and resources of the mine are 11.4
Million tonnes with 10.61% Zn, 1.61% Pb and 33 ppm Ag.

3. Existing blast vibration standards

Different countries have set their own standards on the basis of
their extensive eld investigations carried out in their mines for
several years. There is a plethora of standards available world-over
based on various aspects of ground vibrations e.g. amplitude, peak
particle velocity, frequency, acceleration, etc. These parameters are
used either as a single criterion or in combination; sometimes
frequency is combined with amplitude and velocity. Peak particle
velocity has been traditionally used in practice for the measurement of blast damage to structures.
United States Bureau of Mine (USBM) published RI 850716 and
recommended blasting damage criteria which set a peak particle
limit (12.5 mm/s) based upon predominant frequency of the seismic wave. A further review of limits imposed, raise question about
how relatively small limits, such as 0.25 in./s can be technically
justied. Several researchers stated that no engineering study or
research justied such limits. But when such restrictive levels are
imposed, they are more of a political limits intended to reduce or
eliminate public complaints. Australian and German standard

Table 1
Permissible peak particle velocity (PPV) in mm/s at the foundation level of structures in mining area (DGMS circular 7 of 1997).
Dominant excitation frequency, Hz
o 8 Hz
825 Hz
425 Hz
(A) Buildings/structures not belong to the owner
1. Domestic houses/structures (Mud/
Kuchcha, brick and cement)
2. Industrial buildings
3. Objects of historical importance and 2
sensitive structures





(B) Buildings belonging to owner with limited span of life

1. Domestic houses/structures
2. Industrial buildings


recommended their minimum PPV level of 19 mm/s17 and 5 mm/

s18 respectively for domestic houses. Indian standard suggested by
Regulatory agency is presented in Table 1.19

4. Blasting details and monitoring of vibration

Blast vibration monitoring was carried out at three to four locations in Kayad village due to blasting at Kayad underground
mine. Development face blasts were performed at different locations in the mine. The number of holes detonated in a blast round
for development blasting, varied from 17 to 78. In case of slot raise
and ring blasting, the number of holes generally varied between
two and thirteen. The total explosives weight detonated in blast
around varied from 70 to 310 kg. The maximum explosives weight
per delay varied between 3.90 and 18.75 kg. The diameters of the
blast holes were 45 mm in case of development face blasting and
for slot raise and ring blasts the drill diameter was 76 mm.
The blast vibration generated due to development faces, slot
raise and ring blasts have been taken for analyses. In all the cases
the monitoring of blast vibration were performed for vertical
depth of 30185 m and horizontal distance up to 300 m from the
vertically above point from the underground blasting face. Recorded blast vibration data were in the range of 2.3414.6 mm/s.
The structural responses of various houses of the village were
determined and their natural frequencies were recorded which are
in the range of 1416 Hz. The incoming higher dominant peak
frequency of vibration caused reduction of vibration in the structures at various oor levels as the natural frequencies of the
houses are in the lower range. Details of few houses/structures of
the village are depicted in Table 2 and blast wave signature for
determination of natural frequency is presented in Fig. 1.
The recorded frequencies of vibrations were in the range of
30.1246 Hz. The Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) analyses of vibration data obtained shows that the concentrations of vibration
energy were in the range of 50150 Hz. Thus, the safe level of
vibration has been taken as 15 mm/s for the safety of houses/
structures as per DGMS standard (Table 1). The plot of recorded
dominant peak frequency of vibration in village at various radial
distances from the blasting sites is presented in Fig. 2.
Recorded blast vibration data were analyzed at a regular interval. The vibration data recorded due to development face blasts
and production blasts (slot raise and ring) have been taken for
analyses and generalized prediction equation has been established
and it is given as

v = 490.1 R/ Q max



where, v is the peak particle velocity (mm/s), R is the distance

between vibration monitoring point and the blasting face, and

M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115


Table 2
Natural frequency of a few structures/houses at the Kayad village.
S. no. Location and type of


RCC structure single

RCC structure single
Brick wall and tiles
RCC structure single

Height of the structure/house


Natural frequency of the


PPV recorded at
ground level

PPV recorded in structure/ Reduction of vibration in the

house (wall/roof)
structure at different level





















Fig. 1. Blast wave signature for determination of natural frequency of a typical house in the Kayad village.


M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115

Fig. 2. Plot of recorded dominant peak frequency of vibration at Kayad village at

various radial distances from the underground blast faces.

Qmax is the maximum explosive weight per delay (kg). This equation has correlation coefcient of 82.3%.

5. Optimization of blast design parameters

5.1. Development blasting
Experimental blasts were conducted with different blast design
to optimise blast design parameters and to control ground vibration at lowest possible levels. The delay interval provided between
all the holes were modied in view of the recorded magnitude of
vibration in the village. Initially, the blast were conducted with
delay intervals of 15 ms, 20 ms and 25 ms between the holes for
detonation of ve centre holes taking one by one and the recorded
vibration signatures with high sampling rate were analysed. It was
found that the delay interval of 25 ms resulted into generation of
lower level of ground vibration. The delay interval between subsequent holes were provided with 50 ms with a jump delay of
200 ms and 100 ms at two sectional cut. But the overall pull of the
blast was in the range of 7080%. The average blasthole depth was
of 3.5 m. The design discussed is presented in Fig. 3. To improve
the pull per blast round, experimental blasts were conducted by
taking two centre holes together by providing the delay interval of

25 ms between rest of the two holes for initial cut and rest of
delays were same as mentioned in Fig. 3. The modied blast design resulted with average pull of 8090%. The optimised blast
design yielded excellent results and it was continued for the most
of the cross-cut blasts. Further, the design was slightly modied
for decline and main faces blasts particularly in the drill design i.e.,
burden and spacing of the blast holes. The average pulls obtained
in this modied design were of 9095%. The optimised blast design as discussed is presented in Fig. 4.
The optimised blast design for development face after modication of design in different stages at Kayad mine is presented in
Fig. 4 which controlled the ground vibrations at its lowest level.
The delay interval of 25 ms resulted into generation of lower level
of vibration. This 25 ms delay interval among the cut holes (initial
ve holes) of the blast were optimised after conducting blasts with
20 ms, 25 ms, 30 ms and 50 ms between the ve cut holes. Subsequently, jump delays were provided. The use of delay interval of
200 ms to 300 ms between two successive cut detonations resulted into excellent results. A typical blast wave signature recorded from development face blast is depicted in Fig. 5. Details of
charging pattern and blasthole parameters are given in
Tables 3 and 4, respectively.
Initially, electronic delay detonators were extensively used to
control blast induced vibration and noise. But as the mine progressed deeper, the NONEL initiation system was used due to cost
advantages. The impact of two types of initiation system namely
shock tube (NONEL) and electronic delay initiation system on
generation of blast induced vibration has been analyzed. The vibration data recorded on the surface in the village due to detonation of 500 blasts which were conducted by electronic delay
detonators and similarly the recorded vibration data due to detonation of 500 blasts due to Nonel initiation system have been
analysed. The recorded blast vibration data are plotted against
their scaled distances for both the detonation systems i.e. electronic delay detonators and NONEL initiation system and is presented in Fig. 6. It is evident that electronic initiation system
generated lower level of vibration the range of 9.4712.5%
than those of NONEL initiation system.

Fig. 3. Initially practiced blast design and delay sequences for development face blast.

M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115


Fig. 4. Optimised blast design and delay sequences for development face blast.

Fig. 5. Blast wave signature recorded at Kayad village due to development face blast.

5.2. Slot raise blasting

The slot raise blasts commented after sufcient development
blasts were performed in North and South decline faces. The
numbers of holes and deck charging were modied to get desired

pull from the slot raise blast. The maximum pull of 2.7 m was
recorded in a few blasts. Although, the explosives loaded in slot
holes were 1.92.2 m. The number of blast holes varied between
three and fourteen, depending upon the condition of blastholes.
The total explosives in a blast round varied between 16 and 172 kg.

M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115


Table 3
Charging pattern of the holes for development blast faces at Kayad underground






Lifter holes

11  0.395 g 4.34 kg 73.8 kg (187

10  0.395 g 3.95 kg 118.5 kg (300
11  0.395 g 4.34 kg 30.4 kg (77
8  0.395 g 3.16 kg
28.4 kg (56





Total explosive used in (kg) 251 kg (620


The initial design of slot raise blasting is presented in Fig. 7.

Reamer holes (102 mm) Delay numbers used in the blast design
Hole ring sequence number

Hole diameter: 45 mm; Hole depth 3.7 m

Table 4
Blasthole details and their ring times for development face blast at Kayad underground mine.

The ring blasts were ultimately planned after sufcient opening

of the stope by slot raise blasting. Initially, the ring blasting started
with emulsion cartridge explosives of 150 kg distributed in ve
blastholes and were detonated keeping the explosive weight per
delay of 25 kg. Subsequently, the blasts were optimized in successive trial blastsin order to improve productivity and also to
maintain the vibration level within 15 mm/s. The number of blast
holes detonated in case of ring blasting varied from two to seven.
The total explosives detonated in a blasting round were in the
range of 64 to 340 kg and explosives weight per delay was 10.92
17.16 kg. The layout of the seven blast holes is depicted in Fig. 8. In
this case, a few blast holes were decked up to 4 places and were
detonated with the help of electronic delay detonators.
The main parameter involved in the blast vibration phenomena
has been be summarized in20, and are the explosive rock interaction, blast induced wave transmission property of a rock unit
(i.e. waves travelling along specic layers), distance between blast
location and measurement point, geology of the propagation
media such that fault bedding planes etc. and also the geology at
the measurement point.
Blast waveform analyses were carried out to get the optimal
interval between the blast holes and between the explosives decks
within the blast holes with the help of seed waveform and linear
superimposition of waves techniques. It has been found that the
delay interval of 2080 ms, the increase at an interval of 20 ms is
found optimal in case of deck charging while the minimum delay
of 40 ms to maximum of 80 ms is to be provided between the two
successive blast holes. Fig. 9 depicts the typical blast wave signature recorded at S1 stope blasting conducted at 325 m RL by
optimised delay intervals between the blastholes and between the
decks in Kayad village.
Furthermore, two methodologies were adopted for providing
decks and its detonations. The rst one is by detonating hole one
by one i.e. from bottom deck to top deck at an interval of 20 ms up
to four decks for all the blast holes and the second methodology by
taking two explosives decks rst (bottom slice) and later on two
explosives decks (top slice). The stem deck materials between the
slices were withheld by using drill cutting material anchored to
bolted wooden piece. This concept was used to eliminate the damage of the top deck explosives column due to detonation of
bottom deck explosive column. These two methods of placement
of decks were experimented in few blasts at Stope using electronic
delay detonators and the results were encouraging in both the


5.3. Ring blasting




Cut holes




Explosives per hole


per hole


No. of

Hole type


FACE (Width 5.6 m and Height 5.2 m)

No. of holes in respective delays

NONEL delay no. and their timing (ms)
Electronic delay timing (ms)
Total no. of holes


M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115


Fig. 6. Regression plot of recorded PPV at their respective scaled distance at Kayad village due to blasting in Kayad mine by electronic delay detonators and NONEL delay

Fig. 7. Initially recommended blast design for slot raise at Kayad underground mine.

conditions but latter method showed much better results. These

concepts have been presented in Fig. 10. In a few blasts, sympathetic detonation was also one of the reasons of excessive blast
vibration levels in the village. The sympathetic detonation was
documented with the help of VOD signature of explosive traces at
number of testing. Subsequently, the deck length was standardised
which was in the range of 1520 times of drill hole diameter.
Thirty production blasts were conducted during the study period
at 325 m RL, 350 m RL and at 375 m RL for different stope.
The in-the-hole continuous velocity of detonation of emulsion explosives was also recorded for four holes of Ring (R-1) at 325mRL of S-1
Stope. Out of four holes, three were deck charged. The amount of explosives detonated in 1st hole was 26 kg (15.6 kg 10.5 kg) whereas in
2nd hole and 3rd hole it was 44 kg (15.6 kg10.5 kg 10.5 kg7.5 kg)
and 41 kg (15.6 kg 10.5 kg7.5 kg 7.5 kg) respectively. The delay
timing provided in 1st hole, 2nd hole and 3rd holes were 0/20 ms, 40/
60/100/120 ms and 80/100/140/160 ms. The recorded in-the-hole VOD
of explosives of 1st hole and 2nd hole were in the range of 4846
5260 m/s and are presented in Fig. 11.
The fragmentation results of ring blast of S-2 Stope (Ring 5)

were photographed for its fragment size analysis. The detailed

fragment size analyses were carried out. The average mean size of
the block is 0.643 m and the most common size of the block is
0.532 m. The maximum size of the boulder is 1.2 m.

6. Conclusion
Kayad underground mine is successfully producing the minerals in close proximity to the inhabitant area by adopting state of
the art blasting practices as discussed in the text. The blast vibrations recorded in the village were well within the acceptable
limits and there is no complain from the residents. The development face blast with delay intervals of 25 ms between the holes
for ve centre holes resulted into generation of lower levels of
vibration. The use of delay intervals of 200300 ms between two
successive cut holes gave excellent blast results. It was also recorded that the electronic initiation system generated lower level
of vibration than those produced by NONEL initiation system. The
recorded reduction in the vibration levels due to initiation of blast


M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115

Fig. 10. Detonation of the ring blast holes by detonating holes one by one and by
taking bottom slice rst and top slice afterwards.

Fig. 8. The typical layout of the seven blast holes implemented at Kayad underground mine.

holes byelectronic delay detonators was up to 12.5% than those

blast holes which were initiated with shock tube initiation system.
The delay interval between the holes of 40 ms and 80 ms at
ring hole blasts and detonated with delay interval between decks
of 2080 ms resulted into reduced levels of vibration. The recorded vibration data in the structures shows that there is reduction in the level of vibration as the height of the structures

increases. The recorded vibration data are of the high frequency

and caused reduction in the level of vibration in the structures.
The fragmentations achieved were optimum. The concept of taking bottom slice rst and then the top slice gave desired results.
The results were very encouraging and recorded vibration data in
the village and achieved fragmentation was acceptable by the
villagers as well as by the mine management. Accordingly, blasts
with 340 kg of emulsion explosives were performed and the recorded vibration levels in the village were below 8 mm/s. The
concept of taking four explosives decks in a hole was successfully
implemented and it was also conrmed by the VOD trace of the
recorded data that all the decks were detonated independently.

Fig. 9. A typical blast wave signature recorded at Kayad village due to production blast.

M.P. Roy et al. / International Journal of Rock Mechanics & Mining Sciences 83 (2016) 107115


Fig. 11. In-the-hole VOD trace of super power 80 cartridge emulsion explosive.

The authors are thankful to the mine ofcials for providing
necessary facilities during eld investigations. The permission of
Director, CSIR Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research,
Dhanbad, India to publish this paper is thankfully acknowledged.

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