Influence of explosive energy on the strength of the rock fragments and SAG mill throughput

Extensive in-situ testings has shown that blast fragmentation influences the performance of downstream processes in a mine, and as a consequence, the profit of the whole operation can be greatly improved through optimised fragmentation. Other unit operations like excavation, crushing and grinding can all be assisted by altering the blast-induced fragmentation.

Experimental studies have indicated that a change in blasting practice would not only influence fragmentation but fragment strength as well. The strength of the fragments produced in a blast is clearly important to the performance of the crushing and grinding circuit as it affects the energy required to break the feed to a target product size.

In order to validate the effect of blasting on fragment strength several lumps of granite were blasted, under controlled conditions, using three very different explosive products. The resulting fragments were subjected to standard comminution ore characterisation tests. Obtained comminution parameters were then used to simulate the performance of a SAG mill. Modelling results indicate that changes in post blast residual rock fragment strength significantly influences the performance of the SAG mill, producing up to a 20% increase in throughput.