Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
RAKOMA, M.. Continuous blasting improvements at Landau Colliery. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2013, vol.113, n.4, pp.327-333. ISSN 2411-9717.
Following the blasting fatality on 17 December 2009, Landau Colliery was forced to change from the blasting practices that had been utilized since the start-up of the mine. Since then, attempts have been made to optimize blasting results. The challenge is rooted to the mining environment - during the early life of the mine, mining took place in virgin areas, whereas currently mining is taking place in areas overlying old underground bord and pillar workings. The underground bord and pillar workings aggravate phenomena such as spontaneous combustion, hot holes, and sinkholes. The 2009 fatality was attributed to hot holes causing premature detonation. Landau has been struggling with poor results from their overburden and coal blasts; leading to poor fragmentation of overburden and the P1 parting that lies between the No.1 and No.2 coal seams. An extensive literature survey was completed in order to identify possible alternative solutions that could be evaluated for this unique mining environment, which demands a high degree of caution during mining to ensure factors such as dragline stability and personnel safety. The literature survey confirmed that the previous blasting technique, which was mainly characterized by air decking, was indeed the more efficient, although it was deemed unsafe because of the possibility of hot holes and the high sensitivity of detonators. Potential modifications to the blasting technique were modelled in a Microsoft Excel simulation that was available from the mine, and pit visits were conducted in order to determine whether implementation would be a problem. From the model it is evident that results can be improved by changing the current burden and spacing ratio. Visiting the pit revealed that the tie-in pattern and drilling inaccuracies are contributing to problem areas.
Keywords : optimize; spontaneous combustion; sinkholes; hot holes; premature detonation.