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Technical committees share expertise

Surface mining industry association, ASPASA, is actively steering a course for members to improve their operations and adopt the latest techniques and technologies.

Active participation of highly regarded industry experts on engineering committee is allowing members to share best practices and actively participate in regularly held workshops and webinars online. This was further demonstrated during an online presentation of findings from a study conducted by a member company into drill and blasting parameters.

ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, says that information sharing and learnings from its various technical committee is invaluable and easily shared via online webinars and meeting platforms. The latest engineering committee presentation by Mathews Masegela of Lafarge was a good example of a study that has been carried out and which may shed some valuable light on the subject of blast vibration comparisons between various drill and blast parameters.

Limiting ground vibration

The study at Lafarge Peak Quarry in the Western Cape revealed the careful attention that is needed to optimise blast parameters and resultant fragmentation of rock, to ensure health and safety, as well as limiting ground vibration, air over pressure, fly rocks etc. it also looked at environmental considerations such as preventing disturbance of the plant infrastructure and neighborhood settlements.

In depth calculations were shared on different blast types and charges and showed one or two surprising outcomes. It was found that it is possible to keep all the blasting activities (vibration, and the noise) contained within a 500m radius and that timing can play an important role in reducing noise and vibration using a single initiation point or single hole detonation. Reduced hole diameter, bench height, burden and spacing also needed to be carefully evaluated.

“This is the kind of information that we share among members and where possible use our pooled expertise and resources to advance surface mining in South Africa. We therefore encourage all surface mining operations to become part of ASPASA and participate in our many technical committee studies and events,” concludes Nico.

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