Mapping out productive drill and blast operations

Comparing digging to design with BlastLogic.

Australian Mining explores the diverse ways that Maptek BlastLogic software is improving the efficiency of drill and blast activities at mine operations around the world.

Drill and blast is a crucial activity that can shape the productivity and economic performance of a mining operation.

Not only is drill and blast a major cost for mine operators, but it is also a difficult process to accurately measure and assess.

Drill and blast teams face myriad challenges associated with drilling route allocation, operational loss through rough estimations of drilling length, load design, reporting and control.

But if executed with precision, drill and blast can be vital ingredient of a high performing mine that sets it apart from the competition.

Mining software expert Maptek developed its BlastLogic solution as an all-in-one tool to reduce drill and blast risks and deliver the level of productivity companies demand.

BlastLogic removes divergence from drill and blast plans, potentially making gains of up to 60 per cent in key processes. This potential is being realised at sites mining a diverse range of commodities around the world.

For example, a South American copper mine saved more than $US100,000 a month in nominal over-drilling after installing BlastLogic.

The mine lowered costs by streamlining its blast process to overcome the inherent complexities that changes in the technical landscape add to drill and blast.

Safety performance also improved — where it was once dangerous to bring the rig back to re-drill, BlastLogic enhanced the operator’s control from hole to hole.

Tier 1 companies in Australia, North America, Africa and Asia are also experiencing similar benefits at coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, gold and diamond mines.

In Australia, a Western Australian gold mine and a Queensland metalliferous coal operation both required vibration control to manage risk.

The mines rely on BlastLogic to control safety at adjacent underground operations by checking and modelling vibration based on blast design.

Also in WA, an iron ore mine and a gold operation both use BlastLogic to optimise fragmentation, dig rates and crusher throughput.

“Being able to correlate rock type, ore grade, drill penetration rates and blast design allows more informed value-in-use decisions to be made,” Maptek blast accuracy solutions manager Mark Roberts told Australian Mining.

“This capability enables mines to integrate single process improvements into a holistic mine-to-mill blasting approach.”

BlastLogic is also a valuable tool that reduces the cost of drill and blast at these mines, while mitigating degradation in fragmentation.

Through its modelling and analysis capability, BlastLogic shows engineers how their blast objectives are impacting the design, Roberts explained.

“It then allows them to check compliance to design in real time as the plan is executed in the field,” Roberts added.

BlastLogic is complemented by Maptek’s other products, further optimising a mine’s safety and productivity.

Several copper mines focus blast designs on wall control to create steeper, reliable walls to recover more ore, while also reducing the structural safety risk.

Maptek PerfectDig and I-Site laser scanner are used to monitor the design of the walls during excavation. Maptek Sentry is applied to monitor movement and to identify trends or risks.

As the mine examples demonstrate, BlastLogic addresses drill and blast challenges regardless of geology, commodity type, engineering expertise, technology footprint, processes and business drivers.

BlastLogic simplifies and accelerates the process of creating and implementing advanced blast designs, while measuring and reporting on blast accuracy, Roberts explained.

“This is achieved through real-time data integration, reporting and 3D visualisation across critical stages of blast design and implementation,” Roberts said. “Data is stored and managed centrally in BlastLogic providing easy access to users across different teams or disciplines.”

“Operations with BlastLogic efficiently identify issues as they arise and proactively manage safety, risk, productivity and cost.”

BlastLogic delivers these benefits by accumulating data from mine planning, drill guidance systems, field surveys, actual load parameters and post-blast evaluation into a single platform.

Being able to rapidly identify deviations at critical operational stages means that production improvements can be achieved and drill and blast targets reached, according to Roberts.

“Outcomes can be recorded and tracked through blast performance factors, reconciliation to design, production reporting and inventory management,” he said.

“As Maptek develops BlastLogic in collaboration with industry we’re able to quickly respond to requests, such as configurations for site specific databases.”

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