WebGen™ Rob Cunningham, Mining Operations Manager, Northparkes Mines

“With WebGen™, we’ve been able to increase our primary draw and we’ve also been able to eliminate redrills. We see at Northparkes that this offers us the best opportunity around being an industry leader in mine design and mine construction for future block cave mining.”

Rob Cunningham
Mining Operations Manager
Northparkes

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World's first implementation of wireless initiation into a sub-level cave mine

CMOC Northparkes is an underground copper mine located near Parkes, New South Wales, Australia. The mine uses a combination of block caving and sub-level caving mining methods to process 6.5 million tons per annum of ore. With a vision of being a technological leader within the industry, Northparkes was keen to trial and implement a pre-charging blasting program into the sub-level cave part of the operation using Orica’s WebGen™ 100 wireless initiation system.

The Situation 
The sub-level cave operations were mining a wedge of pre-conditioned ground that was unable to be mined through the original Lift 1 block cave. Combined with the geology of the ore body and conventional blasting methods, a significant amount of rework due to overbreak, dislocations and collars were being generated. With the presence of overbreak , charging was often being conducted with a reduced burden on the brow necessitating shotcreting of the brow to reduce rockfall exposure risk to the charge crew. 

The primary goal for the introduction of pre-charging to the sub-level cave was to significantly reduce the exposure risk to employees and equipment from the brow loss and rework. However, pre-charging using wired or tubed initiation systems was not possible due to pre-conditioned ground and poor ground conditions near the existing cave. This was a key roadblock for Nothparkes to achieving the optimal performance from the sub-level caving operation. 

Technical Solutions 
In 2018, Orica was looking for a foundation partner to lead the way in the application of wireless initiation in blasting. The opportunity to apply the leading-edge technology of Orica’s WebGen™ 100 wireless initiation system resonated with the Northparkes’ vision and the mine committed to a 24-ring demonstration. 

The Result 
The trial was undertaken in 2018 using the WebGen™ 100 Firing Service with an Orica WebGen™ Engineer on site seven days a week. Northparkes took a partnership approach to the trial and worked with the Orica WebGen™ engineers in completing a detailed baseline and performance analysis of pre-charging using a wireless initiation system. The results were significant.


To read the whole Case Study and the Testimonial from CMOC Northparkes, please download it here>

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