Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
LOUW, J.L. A conceptual study into the implementation of a centralized blasting system at Samancor's Mooinooi Mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2012, vol.112, n.4, pp.273-279. ISSN 2411-9717.
The utilization of centralized blasting systems is progressively becoming a feature of the South African mining industry, owing to increased pressure from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to ensure safer blasting conditions. The purpose of a centralized blasting system (CBS) is to ensure reduced blasting-related incidents and to improve the underground working environment for the mine's employees. The brief from Samancor Western Chrome Mines (WCM) pertaining to this study was to explore-at a conceptual level-all variables pertaining to the implementation of the CBS. Studies have indicated that Sasol's SafeBlastTM was preferred due to low overall risks and user-friendliness. Empirical observations, however, indicated that attention should be given to the current shaft-clearing procedure and to the installation of additional transformers. This is required to coordinate the power supply from 2 level to 10 level with the required supply of the network slave station. A cost analysis indicated that an electronically initiated CBS will result in a R24 cost increase per panel, which relates to a mere 1% cost increase per panel. This cost, in addition to the R1.1 million capital cost, proved to be negligible in comparison to the possible direct and indirect costs incurred by the mine in the event of a blasting-related incident. It was found that Samancor should conduct further studies incorporating the necessary requirements to ensure a successful transition, while considering all stakeholders on the mine. This study proved that the transition to a CBS would ensure safe and efficient blasting at Samancor's Mooinooi Mine.
Keywords : centralized blasting systems; blasting systems; underground blasting systems; Samancor chrome; central blasting.