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MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Chair - Blasting solutions - Copper mining

The modern world, as we contemplate it today, would be unlikely without the fundamental contribution copper has made throughout its history. Mankind has overseen significant technological evolution since its discovery.

Copper is the third most widely-used metal, only behind iron and aluminium. Its main application is as a highly efficient conductor of heat and electricity in heating pipes, in electronic and electric devices such as smartphones, computers and vehicles, and in industrial and household facilities.

Open Pit Copper-Mining

Open-pit mining is used when the orebodies are extensive and relatively close to the surface. The sterile/ore ratio is one of the factors which defines the exploitation method and the final dimensions of the mine cuts.

In general, open-pit mining consists of a system to exploit open pits with multiple benches. Operations start with drilling and blasting to remove the plant or sterile overburden and access the orebody, with the rock then being extracted and fragmented at a suitable size for transport to the plant. Moreover, good blast sequencing minimises the possibility of the ore mixing with the sterile material. The fragmented material is loaded and carried to the concentration plant on high-capacity trucks.

Depending on the type of material, it is then transported to outside foundries or treated in a hydrometallurgical plant, where the copper and the minority metals contained in the ore are separated. The drill holes made in blast work are medium and large in diameter, while the explosives charge system incorporates cutting-edge mechanised equipment.

Open-pit copper mine Oyu Tolgoi, Mongolia.

MAXAM and copper mining

Blasting plays a key role in the exploitation of copper mines. The energy developed by the explosives, along with the sequencing of the blast, are essential to achieve the required results. Since the rocks may have a wide range of densities and geomechanical characteristics, ranging from soft to hard, the energy from MAXAM explosives is ideal to achieve good results. Combining these features with both the use of a suitable initiation sequence for the blast and also accurate delay times will allow excellent control over the fragmentation and movement of the material, thus minimising the dilution of the ore grades and possible damage to the slope, as well as the degree of vibrations. Given these challenges, the value propositions developed by MAXAM include:

• Safe operation.
• Reliable supply.
• Fragmentation.
• Minimise damage to the slopes.
• Control of dilution of ore grades.
• Environmental controls.
• Reduced TCO (Total Cost Ownership).

The combination of all these factors is key to the success of copper mining operations.

Be sure to contact MAXAM for further information on value proposals and blasting solutions for copper mining.


 MAXAM Flexi-trucks in Oyu Tolgoi's mine in Mongolia.

Blasting solutions. February 2017





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Last update 2019.10.10
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