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CASE STUDY – UNDERGROUND

Brunswick Mine Aerial view of Brunswick Mine


Customer Profile Mining Issues
• Located in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada. • Blast was very risky because the blast area was
• Owned by Noranda Inc., a leading international very long and narrow and under high stress.
mining and metals company with more than 48 • Overall dimensions of hanging wall stringer
mining and metallurgical operations and measured 6 m wide by 150 m long by 90 m
projects under development in nine countries. high.
• Noranda is one of the world’s largest producers • Had to take a stope out on the south end to
of zinc and nickel and is a significant producer create a void there and another on the north
of copper, primary and fabricated aluminum, end as well before main blast.
lead, silver, gold, sulphuric acid and cobalt. • There was a very large risk of cut-offs if
• Also a major recycler of secondary copper, nickel pyrotechnic delays were used with potential loss
and precious metals. of all or part of the ore block.
• Listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the
New York Stock Exchange (NRD). Technical Solutions
• Mine production rate – 9,400 tonnes of ore to • i-kon Team demos had shown that a blast of
the mill per day. this size was possible.
• Blast modeling done by Stephen Chung of Orica
The Situation and Ken Liu of Noranda helped mine
• Mine management had identified 6 million management to identify necessary muck flow
tonnes of good grade ore in an area and timing optimization for this blast.
experiencing high rock stress. • Blast design featured two levels in one stope
• Mining plan was to gradually mine out the west from which drilling and loading were carried
ore zone stringer and the nearby part of the 6 out.
million tonne ore body at the same time and • #3 sub which had drilling and loading up and
de-stress the area incrementally. down and the #2 where holes were only drilled
• Experienced a number of rock bursts in this area downwards.
that caused significant damage to equipment • Blast required 10 months of planning, 4 months
and structure. of drilling and one month of loading.
• Decided to blast through hanging wall stringer • Complex blast required 1504 i-kon detonators,
and de-stress 6 million tonne ore block. lasted almost 7 seconds and produced 352,800
tonnes of ore.

Demonstrated Benefits
• Released the rock stress to produce a safer
working environment underground.
• Made production possible in previously
suspended area.
• Provided a low risk, high efficiency solution to
achieve critical blast results.

D. Proudfoot checks i-kon Loggers.


© 2001, The Orica Group
AN EAR TO THE GROUND

"With the flexibility and accuracy of the delays you can


do almost anything with i-kon. I can see this is some-
thing we could use on any kind of complicated blast. This
one blast means that we can get at that 6 million tonnes
of decent grade ore with a lot less risk"
Peter George
Senior Project Engineer
Brunswick Mine

“I could have done this blast with pyrotechnics but it would


have been scary because of the very high risk of cut-offs.
With i-kon there is no surface flame. With pyrotechnic
detonators everything is ablaze and your timing choices are
limited. As well, [the vibrations] measured far less than a
pyrotechnic blast. Way smoother than our regular blasts.
The damage that we can see
Blaine Ellis is a lot less. The vibration
Drill and Blast Design levels were way down.”
Supervisor
Brunswick Mine

"If we had had to use pyrotechnic detonators and


suffered a cut-off in either section of this blast, there was
a risk of losing a large majority of that block of ore. That
would have compromised everything else in the mining
plan from that point forward and the likelihood of
extracting that 6 million tonne block of ore was greatly
reduced."
Dave Proudfoot
i-kon System Specialist
Orica Canada

“I think that the use of electronic detonators could


change a lot of things on the philosophy side of blast
design. Now we can blast bigger stopes. We can do tricky
blasts with much less risk, less danger and higher effi-
ciency. Normally you have to mine out a stope with 3 or
4 blasts. Now it is possible to mine it out in 1 or 2 blasts
once we have the void.
Ken Liu The efficiency will be
Senior Scientist improved immensely."
Noranda Technical Center

© 2001, The Orica Group