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Article

Continuous Monitoring and Improvement of the Blasting Process in Open Pit Mines Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Techniques

Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S1A4, Canada
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Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2801; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172801
Received: 9 July 2020 / Revised: 12 August 2020 / Accepted: 24 August 2020 / Published: 29 August 2020
The current techniques used for monitoring the blasting process in open pit mines are manual, intermittent and inefficient and can expose technical manpower to hazardous conditions. This study presents the application of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems for monitoring and improving the blasting process in open pit mines. Field experiments were conducted in different open pit mines to assess rock fragmentation, blast-induced damage on final pit walls, blast dynamics and the accuracy of blastholes including production and pre-split holes. The UAV-based monitoring was done in three different stages, including pre-blasting, blasting and post-blasting. In the pre-blasting stage, pit walls were mapped to collect structural data to predict in situ block size distribution and to develop as-built pit wall digital elevation models (DEM) to assess blast-induced damage. This was followed by mapping the production blasthole patterns implemented in the mine to investigate drillhole alignment. To monitor the blasting process, a high-speed camera was mounted on the UAV to investigate blast initiation, sequencing, misfired holes and stemming ejection. In the post-blast stage, the blasted rock pile (muck pile) was monitored to estimate fragmentation and assess muck pile configuration, heave and throw. The collected aerial data provide detailed information and high spatial and temporal resolution on the quality of the blasting process and significant opportunities for process improvement. The current challenges with regards to the application of UAVs for blasting process monitoring are discussed, and recommendations for obtaining the most value out of an UAV application are provided. View Full-Text
Keywords: mining; pit wall surveying; blasting; digital photogrammetry; unmanned aerial vehicle; drone mining; pit wall surveying; blasting; digital photogrammetry; unmanned aerial vehicle; drone
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bamford, T.; Medinac, F.; Esmaeili, K. Continuous Monitoring and Improvement of the Blasting Process in Open Pit Mines Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Techniques. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 2801. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172801

AMA Style

Bamford T, Medinac F, Esmaeili K. Continuous Monitoring and Improvement of the Blasting Process in Open Pit Mines Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Techniques. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(17):2801. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172801

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bamford, Thomas, Filip Medinac, and Kamran Esmaeili. 2020. "Continuous Monitoring and Improvement of the Blasting Process in Open Pit Mines Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Techniques" Remote Sensing 12, no. 17: 2801. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172801

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