Drill and Blast in Brazil - An Update from Vale
Posted: 06/06/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
Drill and Blast Technology Update from Vale in Brazil
Mining IQ recently interviewed Marco Antônio Braga, Exploration Manager of Ferrous and Henry Galbiatti, General Manager of Exploration of Ferrous and Management, about Vale’s experience of different drill and blast technologies as well as their experience at ground level.
Both Marco and Henry are presenting at Mining IQ’s upcoming Drill and Blast conference in Brazil on July 25th and 26th, in Belo Horizonte. For more details access – www.drillandblastbrazil.com
What factors impact productivity in Iron Ore Extraction?
We assess a probe's productivity over a given period of time; we usually adopt a month as a reference.
The factors which most impact productivity in iron ore are the mixture of friable rocks with compact and semi compact rocks. This unique combination makes it necessary to resurface the holes regularly in order to prevent landslides and, thereby, lock the tool.
However, the resurfacing process of a hole results in the creation of new perforations (destructive cuts) as we have to enlarge the hole to insert the resurface material. Therefore, productivity is impacted by the new perforation, the resurfacing process and the subsequent removal of it after the conclusion of the hole.
What kind of equipment is used to enhance the probing process productivity? Can you talk a little about Vale's practical experience?
If the aim is productivity growth, it is necessary to adopt and implement modern equipment, to use new technology and to support this initiative with technical training.
The newest probe models (hydraulics) are safer and ergonomic, providing better work conditions to the staff team. Most new equipment is now automated and still provides perforation parameters that help the probe operator to prevent operational issues like locking of holes.
In Vale, the use of sensors that allow monitoring of all the operational process has been tested and the study of drilling fluids initiated.
Are you implementing new technology for drill and blast?
The first change necessary is the adoption of hydraulic probes, since the service companies are tough against the use of this kind of probe in iron ore.
Firms claim that the high cost of acquisition is not compatible with the productivity gained in iron ore. However, we believe that the productivity gain will come from the use and dissemination of knowledge.
Another necessary change is the training of the workforce, since every implantation of technology goes through team improvement. Nowadays, the probe is developed, largely, with probe operators and auxiliaries with complete basic education.
What difficulties are faced by drill and blast workers using this equipment?
The key difficulties are the lack of available knowledge, the necessity of a partnership to overcome the difficulty and the low qualification of the workforce. The companies which make the equipment, as well as the service companies, are not interested in announcing the result of the work. There are no seminars or congresses on the subject.
As all improvement involves equipment adjustments and/or workforce training, it is essential to form partnership with the manufacturers and service companies which are not opened, in a transparent way, to this kind of job.
Mining IQ thanks Marco Antônio Braga and Henry Galbiatti for their contribution to this interview. If you would like to find out more about Drill and Blast by attending the event simply click here to register.
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