3 challenges to optimize underground drill-and-blast efficiency

By Mohamed Zaki

Efficiency in underground drill-and-blast is crucial to ensure a smooth, profitable mining operation. Many varying factors influence the profitability and safety of underground operations; therefore, one must be conscious that a clear decision on optimizing drill-and-blast processes is not always clear. An iterative process to analyze the varying data is thus required to find quality observations and make clear decisions. In this blog, we will explore 3 fundamental challenges that must be always taken into consideration while optimizing drill-and-blast operations. 

The first optimization required concerns reducing infrastructure and tracking costs. This reduction will allow the mine to invest less in capital cost, thus enabling an efficient use of resources. A proper plan must therefore be put in place to determine the resources required to develop the required infrastructure. A correct plan also equals easy tracking because all details can be easily seen and tracked using effective KPIs. Promine software takes advantage of CAD environment to design drill-and-blast patterns in detail for underground mining operations. Users can insert multiple hole plans, different explosives and generate detailed reports for an efficient drilling and blasting job. 

The second challenge to be optimized is the flexibility of the mine schedule. As underground mining operations involve hundreds of varying daily data, its impossible to make a concise decision without using advanced algorithms and machine learning programs that can handle intensive data. In addition, uncertainty in geological resources can vary, which affects the short- and long-term plans of the operation. Therefore, planning must be flexible to allow for discrepancies between planning and execution. Promine’s mine planning module allows to insert Gantt charts directly in CAD for easy visualization. If a change needs to be done, users can easily edit mining blocks to quickly update the Gantt chart. In this way, the mining operation can stay flexible and allow for changes in the schedule easily. 

The third and last challenge presented in this report involves communication between departments. Ultimately, communicating updates in any company is crucial, especially in a mine site. Communication helps mining companies by preserving the expert knowledge and maintaining their competitive status. It also allows for better planning between departments and efficient use of resources, which ultimately leads to a harmony between employees. Promine’s Filer module is the perfect tool for drawings management. It allows users to always work the most updated drawing, while making sure nothing is overwritten. Mines can basically use this tool to create conventions to store and manage all their CAD drawings on a local server or on the cloud. Different access levels can then be attributed to users and departments, allowing for secure management and confidentiality. 

While these three challenges can be solved by optimization and rigorous data analysis, it’s important to account for other varying factors that influence drill-and-blast processes. Retrieving other data can be hard, but adapting the correct technology can solve this by discovering potential risks and hidden factors.


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