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Optimization of blasting in narrow reef mines in South Africa


A sequence of interventions was conducted at Kopanang Mine with the aim of optimizing the blasting process and thereby achieving enhanced workplace safety, improved explosive efficiency, reduced blasting cost and reduced emission of noxious gasses. The programme began with conversion from capped fuse-igniter cord initiated blasts of ANFO. It moved through the use of cartridged emulsions to shock tube initiation of pumpable explosive products in both the stoping and development activities on the mine. The new processes have been successfully migrated to other mines in the Anglogold Ashanti stable. Significant rationalization of the explosives and accessories commodity basket has been achieved with concomitant savings in costs of stock holding and simplification of packaging, transport and storage requirements. The carbon footprint has also been reduced. These encouraging results have come about through cooperation between explosives suppliers, mining groups, research organizations and government departments over many years.

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