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Blasting Course

Designing Blasts

Two important aims in blasting.

To fragment the rock to a desirable size and To displace the fragments a desirable distance

At the best overall cost





Load & Haul Crushing & M illing Overall Cost

0 0.5 0.7 0.9 1.1 Powder Factor (kg/m3)

Three things that affect outcome

Explosive Rock Blast Geometry


Rock Strength Rock Density Rock Structure

Rock Strength and elasticity

UCS and Tensile Strength Has an influence on creation of cracks during blasting Measured in MPa Tensile strength about 1/10th UCS

Rock Density
Influences the displacement distance during a blast Influences fragmentation Higher density = higher energy for same end result

Rock Structure
Rock Structure has largest influence on fragmentation results. Sometimes fragmentation completely controlled by structure

Rock Structure

Rock Structure

Rock Blastability Index

Rock UCS Rock density Joint Spacing Joint Orientation

UCS + 23.7 RBI = 0.5 + Rock Density + JPO + JPS + RMD 47.6

Blast Geometry

Burden and Spacing

Effektiewe breeklas

Spasiring Breeklas


eri m

vry e

fr o nt

Hoof vrye front

Equilateral Pattern

A = B =C or Base = 1.15 x height


Spacing = 1.15 x Burden (in plan, energy distributed evenly.) Red circles represent contours of equal energy around each borehole. Spacing > 1.15 x Burden (in plan, energy not distributed evenly and more overlap can be seen in the energy contours in one direction.)

Staggered Pattern

Wherever possible use a staggered pattern. A square pattern is only suitable for narrow boxcut blasts

Deciding on Burden - Scaled Burden

Burden Scaled Burden = Mc

Burden = Scaled Burden M c

Scaled Burden

For Reduced Heave or coarser fragmentation

RBI = 20 to 40
Shale/Mudstone Sandstone Limestone/Dolomite Granite Dolerite 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.1

RBI = 40 to 60
1.2 1.1 1 1 1

RBI = 60 to 80
1.1 1 1 0.9 0.9

For increased heave or finer fragmentation

RBI = 20 to 40
Shale/Mudstone Sandstone Limestone/Dolomite Granite Dolerite 1 1 0.9 0.9 0.8

RBI = 40 to 60
0.8 0.8 0.75 0.7 0.7

RBI = 60 to 80
0.7 0.7 0.65 0.6 0.6

Burden Stiffness

bench height Sb = 2.5 burden

Burden Stiffness - Matching bench height to hole diameter

Poor explosive distribution. Only the bottom half of the bench contains explosive. Tendency to crater because the surface is closer than the vertical free face. This results in A tendency for uncontrolled fly rock Poor fragmentation in top half of bench Uneven floors Very little muckpile movement

Explosives Energy

kg per hole Design Powder Factor = Burden Spacing Bench Height

total kg Actual Powder Factor = block volume

Energy Factor = Powder Factor RWS

Stemming affects the following results in a blast: Fly rock Air blast Fragmentation Heave All blasts require stemming

Ineffective Stemming

Excessive Fly Excessive Noise Poor Fragmentation Poor Heave

Effective Stemming

Fly rock control Air blast control Optimal fragmentation Optimal heave

Stemming Effectiveness:



Air Water Drill cuttings in water Clay Drill cuttings in dry hole Crushed aggregate - ungraded Crushed aggregate - graded

Factors affecting stemming performance

Stemming material Stemming length Rock strength Explosive energy Stemming length = 15 to 30 x diameter

Scaled Depth of Burial

M c 8 S = Ds 1000
Scaled Depth of Burial Hard rock Soft rock 0.7 much fly much fly normal fly much fly


4 1000
1.2 little fly 1.5 no fly little fly 1.7 no surface expression no fly

normal fly

Crater tests to determine site specific values

Scale depth of burial Maximum Burdens Explosives performance and comparisons

Crater tests:

Surface Expression Fragmentation Crater Volume Vertical Displacement Velocity


Insufficient Sub-drill =
Uneven floors with high bottoms Difficult digging conditions at the bottom of the muckpile


Usually set at 20 to 50% of burden

Q = 0.39M c B

100% of muckpile is less than 1100 mm or largest boulder size is 1100 mm



% Passing

49% of muckpile is less than 300 mm


10% of muckpile is less than 60 mm

1 10 100 1000 10000

Fragment Size (mm)

100 uniformity = 1.4 uniformity = 0.4


% Passing



20 uniformity = 0.8 0 1 10 100 1000 10000

Fragment Size (mm)

The final fragmentation influences: Diggability: Impacts loading rates and wear and tear on equipment Coal exposure rates: Impacts mine profitability

Kuzram model
Explosive Energy Explosive distribution (burden, spacing, hole diameter, sub-drill, stemming length) Bench Geometry Rock Blastability


EF x50 = R f 100


1/ 6

115 RWS


s 0.1 1 h b L Sub L Sub 1+ b c c n = 2.2 14 b 100 0.1 2 H L b b c c