Blast-induced movement measurement for grade control at Newmont Mining Corp.’s Phoenix Mine
A BMM program trial and implementation was carried out at Newmont Mining Corp.’s Phoenix Mine, in northern Nevada near the town of Battle Mountain.
The mine is in a historic mining district that contains gold, silver and copper. The geology of the pit consists of different formations made up of sandstone, siltstone, limestone, chert-pebble conglomerate, shale, skarn and quartzite, to name a few. Some of the rock is extremely hard and a powder factor of up to 0.5 kg/t (1 lb/st) is required to get adequate fragmentation to ensure sufficient throughput through the crusher and the mill. The result of using such a high powder factor translates into considerable blast movement and heave.
This movement means that the ore/waste digging polygons estimated by the ore control engineer from sampling the initial blast holes will no longer be located in their original positions.
The purpose of this project was to test the measurement method and to see if locating the digging polygons in the broken muck pile and excavating to those polygons will improve grade control through the mill.
Blast movement measurement (BMM) transmitters are a practical method to measure three-dimensional (3D) rock movement because of blasting.
The BMM transmitters are activated, programmed and installed in specially designed drill holes prior to the blast and the BMM detector locates the transmitters after the blast. The BMM software then calculates and summarises the 3D movement of each BMM transmitter ball. This information helps to redefine the ore and waste boundaries and enables improved ore and waste selection, resulting in a genuine step change in grade control.