Optimisation of Drill and Blast for Mill Throughput Improvement at Ban Houayxai Mine

Ban Houayxai is a gold-silver mine operated by Phu Bia Mining Limited in Laos since 2012. The first two years of operation processed predominately soft oxidised ore but subsequent years were expected to process more fresh hard ore. Fragmentation of the fresh primary ores was also expected to be much coarser than for the soft oxide ores. This coarser and harder ore is expected to significantly reduce mill throughput and mining productivity. The Ban Houayxai management realised the potential downside risk when processing fresh harder ores and implemented a blast optimisation project to deliver finer fresh ore to the mill without unduly increasing blast induced dilution and damage.

JKTech and the Ban Houayxai drill and blast team began a joint blast optimisation project in April 2013 to achieve finer fragmentation from fresh ores. This was achieved by modifying the bench geometry, blast patterns and applying exceptionally high levels of quality control during implementation. Blast induced ore loss and dilution was controlled by adjusting the ore blocks for blast movement. Finer fragmentation from these modified designs improved mill throughput for the hard fresh ore by 46 per cent above design on average. These new practices have been embedded in site operating procedures and have provided a quick reference ‘cookbook’ document for the engineers.


Gaunt, J, Symonds, D, McNamara, G, Adiyansyah, B, Kennelly, L, Sellers, E J and Kanchibotla, S S, 2015. Optimisation of drill and blast for mill throughput improvement at Ban Houayxai Mine, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 307–314 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).