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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717

Abstract

GAULA, M.. Explosives utilization at a Witwatersrand gold mine. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.4, pp. 297-306. ISSN 2411-9717.

Gold bearing deposits of the Witwatersrand basin are generally less than 2m thick and require conventional narrow-reef mining methods for extraction and employ explosives as a means of rock breaking. Optimal utilization of explosives is dependent on the overall design of the blast. The under-utilization of explosives arises when shot-holes are drilled inconsistently, overcharged, and when tamping is absent. This can be rectified by emphasizing the importance of good drilling practices as part of induction programmes and refresher courses. The project was aimed at determining whether or not explosives are being optimally utilized at project site. This was investigated through a study of the properties of explosives, mine standards, and recommendations for usage. Underground observations were made to determine whether or not mine standards were being adhered to. Historic data was obtained to establish the historic relationship existing between the quantity of explosives used (kg) and the production output (m2). This was then compared to the quantity of explosives the mine expects to use per unit of production. The results obtained were analysed to determine the presence and extent of over- or under-utilization. It was found that explosives are being under-utilized at the mine. More explosives are ordered than expected per unit of production. The explosives' properties are not thoroughly exploited during blasting, thereby requiring the use of more explosives than prescribed.

Keywords : blasting practices; explosives utilization; blast design.

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