Reducing Dilution with Technology A twist on the AVOCA mining method is made possible at Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine utilizing Orica’s wireless, through the earth initiation system


Mr Billy Grace, Mr Steve Piercey , Ms Holly Robinson

Musselwhite Mine is located on the southern shore of Opapimiskan Lake, approximately 480 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Musselwhite Mine (Musselwhite) is 100% owned and operated by Goldcorp Inc. (Goldcorp) and has been in commercial production since 1997. The 2016 proven and probable reserves at Musselwhite total 8.21 million tonnes containing 1.69 million ounces of gold. In 2016 Goldcorp entered in a partnership with Orica to provide blasting products and technical support at its Canadian operations. Through the partnership, Orica identified an opportunity at Musselwhite to utilize their WebGen™ 100 wireless through the earth initiation system technology to help reduce dilution in longhole stoping. Musselwhite uses a modified AVOCA mining method. With increasing depth blast sizes have had to be reduced to control unplanned dilution. A project was initiated in late 2016 to leave temporary rib pillars (TRP’s) that could be recovered using the WebGen™ 100 wireless initiation system. Initial results from the project have been very positive and refinements to the TRP mining method are ongoing. The project utilized a collaborative approach between Musselwhite’s Engineering and Operations departments, Orica’s Technical Services and Technology teams to develop and deliver the project’s outcomes. This paper chronicles the process by which this project was undertaken, provides a description of the challenges that lead up to the project commencement, introduces the WebGen™ 100 initiation system and the TRP Mining Method, details case studies from two stopes, and introduces future wireless blasting applications being investigated by the Musselwhite and Orica teams.