Why stem underground blast holes ?
Every open pit mine in the world stems their blast holes.
- better fragmentation
- easier digging
- better control of the blast
- less noise
- less dust
- less crushing energy required
The list is almost endless. It makes sense. But as soon as we get underground, we ignore all of that. Why ? Because our holes underground are typically overhead, ie upholes. Stemming upholes is not as simple as just shoveling in some drill cuttings...
We've never had the products to stem overhead blast holes. So we've put up with damage to brows, damage to walls, backs, damage to ground support often to the point of having to rehab the drive, huge airblast shock waves throughout the mine.
Re-installing rockbolts and mesh for support is expensive and ties up crews and equipment that should be developing.
In some instances in desperation we grout the collars of the blast holes to stem the charge. But this is dirty, expensive, disruptive waiting for it to cure before firing, and it also generates ammonia gas which is not nice underground.
All of this comes at a huge cost.
So if there is a relatively inexpensive way to stem, we should do it, right ?
That's where we come in. Underground Stemming is developing a simple to use stemming plug that gives Drill and Blast Engineers and the Mine Foreman a new tool to use in their blast design. We can optimise the blast much better, protect our ground support, keep our brows square, improve dig times, and reducing crushing effort in the mill.
Come with us on this journey. Together we can make the changes and achieve greater efficiency for our industry.