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MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Chair - Blasting solutions - Limestone quarry

Limestone plays a key role in the construction industry, not only due to its wide range of applications as a material for construction and decoration, but also since it is one of the main components in the manufacture of cement and lime, amongst other uses. It is a sedimentary rock comprised mainly of calcium carbonate, which, thanks to its natural presentation, is a highly sought-after non-metal mineral resource.
Some of mankind's greatest constructions, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, or the Cathedral of Burgos in Spain, have used this construction material. Limestone has been a key raw material in cement production since the 19th century, meaning it has played a hugely important role in the construction industry in modern society.

Limestone quarries

Limestone is often produced using opencast mining methods through a multiple bench system, although excavated quarries can also be found via underground mining. Typical operations include drilling and blasting, both designed with a specific fragmentation curve in accordance with the final product to be achieved. After blasting, the fragmented material is loaded and transported to the grinding and sorting plant. The limestone obtained can be used in the aggregate industry or for cement and lime, depending on the quality of the material and the purpose of the mining operation. This quality will determine the processes necessary to achieve the final product.

The cement manufacturing process is comprised of four main stages: extracting and grinding raw material, homogenising raw material, clinker production, and cement grinding. Moreover, the limestone considered for the production of aggregates must pass through several stages in a crushing and sorting system in order to produce the sizes required for marketing.

 Limestone quarry, Spain.

MAXAM and limestone quarries

The commercial value of the products obtained by the aggregate and cement industries is lower than, for example, that of metal ores. This situation, combined with the technical characteristics necessary to obtain the final product, will ultimately define the strategy to optimise the blast work. The limestone used in cement manufacture generally requires a fragmentation with a higher percentage of fine material, in order to achieve maximum productivity in the treatment plant. In the case of limestone for the manufacture of aggregates, the aim is to minimise the amount of fine and over-sized materials using special blasting techniques, given that 100% of the blasted material is potentially marketable.

Furthermore, it must be remembered that operations on limestone may involve further challenges due to the geology of the site, such as caves, caverns or clay veins, all of which affect the results of the blasts. To overcome these challenges, MAXAM offers all companies it works with a series of specialist services, such as its RIOBLAST software, which is used to optimally and safely gauge the distribution of the explosive energy. This software for designing and simulating blasts includes, in addition to measuring and controlling the different environmental effects, other aspects such as the geometry of the free face, possible deviations of the blast holes, projections, vibrations and wave area measurements, among others.

Given these challenges, the value propositions developed by MAXAM are as follows :

• Safe operation.
• Complete line of packaged and bulk products.
• Control vibrations and wave area.
• Control fragmentation.
• Reduce over-sizes, minimise secondary blasting.
• Control fine materials (finer for cement, coarser for aggregates).
• Total Cost of Ownership.

The combination of all these factors is key to the success of limestone quarry operations.

Don’t hesitate to contact for further information on value proposals and blasting solutions for limestone quarries.

 Blasting in Limestone Quarry.

Blasting solutions. September 2017


Last update 2020.09.21
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