A study of blasthole drilling accuracy: monitoring instrumentation and practice

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 87, No. 977, 1994

C. Hendricks, M. Scoble and F. Boudreault, Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Drilling accuracy represents an important quality control factor in minimizing dilution. Apart from geology, the factors governing drilling accuracy are largely within the control of the mine. Setup location and alignment, as well as actual drilling accuracy, can all be monitored toward their improved control. Trajectory deviation during drilling, although usually beyond the control of even the most experienced and conscientious driller, can be accounted for (if not fully controlled) by down-hole surveying of blastholes prior to explosives loading. This paper reviews the available instrumentation for improved drill setup and recent field experience with several commercial systems designed for monitoring borehole deviation. It reports on a recent survey of 50 Canadian mines which use blasthole sloping and addresses the reasons for the apparent lack of interest in instrumentation: i.e. does this reflect a lack of awareness of the technology, perceived inadequacies in its performance or a predominant reliance on productivity (drilling and mucking) as a measure of operational efficiency? The survey findings supported the latter viewpoint and showed that very few Canadian mines operate drilling incentive programs that are related to drilling accuracy.
Keywords: Drilling, Blasthole drilling, Underground mining.