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Improvement of blast-induced fragmentation and crusher efficiency by means of optimized drilling and blasting in Aitik
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Rock blasting is one of the most dominating operations in open pit mining efficiency. As many downstream processes depend on the blast-induced fragmentation, an optimized blasting strategy can influence the total revenue of a mine to a large extent.Boliden Aitik mine in northern Sweden is one of the largest copper mines in Europe. The annual production of the mine is expected to reach 36 million tonnes of ore in 2014; so continuous efforts are being made to boost the production. Highly automated equipment and new processing plant, in addition to new crushers, have sufficient capacity to reach the production goals; the current obstacle in the process of production increase is a bottleneck in crushers caused by oversize boulders. Boulders require extra efforts for secondary blasting or hammer breakage and if entered the crushers, they cause downtimes. Therefore a more evenly distributed fragmentation with less oversize material can be advantageous. Furthermore, a better fragmentation can cause a reduction in energy costs by demanding less amounts of crushing energy.In order to achieve a more favorable fragmentation, two alternative blast designs in addition to a reference design were tested and the results were evaluated and compared to the current design in Aitik. A comparatively large bench was divided to three sections with three different drill plans, which led to different specific charges in each section. The sections were drilled in patterns of 6x9 m, 7x9 m and 7x10 m of burden and spacing; planned specific charges of the sections were 1.17 kg/m3, 1.02 kg/m3, and 0.91 kg/m3 respectively. Similar to the current drill plan in Aitik, the section with 7x9 m (1.02 kg/m3 specific charge) was used as the reference for results comparison. The drilling and charging processes were monitored carefully and the post-blast parameters were measured accordingly. Laser scanning was used to measure the swelling of the sections and two different methods of image analysis were utilized to evaluate the fragmentation of the rock for each section. Drilling log data (MWD) were analyzed to evaluate the hardness of the rock; energy consumption log of the crusher was also analyzed and all the data was collected in a single database. VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programming language was embedded within data spreadsheets to correlate the mentioned data to the coordinates of the rock by means of Minestar logs, which include both timestamps and coordinates of all machinery e.g. shovels and trucks.The results of the test show significant improvements in fragmentation and oversize material percentage in the section with 6x9 m drill plan (1.17 kg/m3). The advantage of 6x9 m plan was confirmed by 52% higher swelling, 66% lower oversize material and 26% lower crushing energy compared to the reference section. The section with 7x10 m drill plan (0.91 kg/m3) also showed theoretically acceptable results; however, the deviations from reference were not as large as formerly mentioned section. The swelling had a decrease of 8% compared to the reference section and the percentage of oversize material and crushing energy were increased by 16% and 2% respectively.Presented results are based only on technical aspects and do not include the costs of drilling and charging. Thus, in order to evaluate the drill plans in practice an economical evaluation of the sections should be conducted. Also a confirmation test with more accurate geology explorations is recommended.Finally, upon the request of Boliden Mines, a short report on the usage of Air-decking technique in Aitik is enclosed as an appendix. The report includes a brief introduction to air-decking and discusses practical solutions to apply this technique in Aitik.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 72 p.
Keyword [en]
Technology, Mining, Open pit, Drilling, Blasting, Aitik, Fragmentation, Crusher, MWD, Split-Desktop, FragMetrics, Minestar
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-41953Local ID: 0080f030-468f-4c6f-b686-342732ec7e98OAI: diva2:1015169
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Civil Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20121001 (anonymous)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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