A novel approach of diggability assessment in open pit mines


Dr Robert Hall (University of Alberta), Mr Mohammad Babaei Khorzoughi (University of British Columbia)

Improving the drill and blast practice in open-pit mines is one of the ways to enhance the economics of a mining operation. Diggability assessment is currently considered as a way to provide feedback on the quality of blast; however, there is no universally accepted approach to assess it. This paper provides a review of current approaches for diggability assessment in open pit mines followed by a discussion of a proposed novel approach. The new approach includes instrumentation and performance monitoring of electric rope shovels to derive diggability index values as a measure of ease of digging. It is believed that proposed diggability index values can be combined with other blast related metrics such as blastability index to aid modification of current blast practices in open pit mines. The resulting outcome should be more efficient use of explosive energy, reduced need for secondary blasting, reduced energy consumption downstream and better digging conditions. This should lead to higher excavator productivity, lower machine wear and higher reliability and lower energy used per banked cubic meter.
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