Pooled expertise and resources advance best practice among ASPASA members

Nico Pienaar, director of ASPASA.
Nico Pienaar, director of ASPASA.

Surface mining industry association, ASPASA, is actively encouraging its members to adopt the latest techniques and technologies to improve their operations.

Active participation of highly regarded industry experts sitting on the association’s engineering committee is allowing members to share best practices and actively participate in regular workshops and webinars online.

ASPASA director Nico Pienaar says that information sharing and learnings from its various technical committees is an invaluable tool for the industry, which is easily shared via online webinars and meeting platforms.

The latest engineering committee presentation by Mathews Masegela of Lafarge was a good example of a study that has been carried out and which may shed some valuable light on the subject of blast vibration comparisons between various drill and blast parameters.

The study at Lafarge Peak Quarry in the Western Cape revealed the careful attention that is needed to optimise blast parameters and resultant fragmentation of rock, to ensure health and safety, as well as limiting ground vibration, air over pressure, fly rocks, among others. It also looked at environmental considerations such as preventing disturbances on plant infrastructure and neighbouring communities.

In depth calculations were shared on different blast types and charges and showed some surprising outcomes. It was found that it is possible to keep all the blasting activities (vibration and the noise) contained within a 500 m radius and that timing can play an important role in reducing noise and vibration using a single initiation point or single hole detonation. Reduced hole diameter, bench height, burden and spacing also needed to be carefully evaluated.

“This is the kind of information that we share among members and where possible use our pooled expertise and resources to advance surface mining in South Africa. We therefore encourage all surface mining operations to become part of ASPASA and participate in our many technical committee studies and events,” concludes Pienaar.


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