MTI Airbag Study, Powder River Basin

RESPEC was retained by the blast bag manufacturer, MTI, to independently review and verify test blast results and quantify any potential changes in the required bulk explosive products in relation to using blast bags at a large surface coal mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

February 2021
Wyoming, United States

Blasting is the primary and most effective method for breaking and moving material at most mine sites. The blast design is often adjusted in effort to optimize the effectiveness of the blasts’ explosive energy while minimizing costs. When adjusting blast design parameters, it is essential to adjust one parameter at a time, observing and analyzing the potential effects of the change on the overall blast performance.

The purpose of this project was to perform a case study where such adjustments were made to reduce the mine site’s bulk explosive consumption and in turn blasting cost. For this case study, RESPEC’s explosive group observed and analyzed the effect of test blasts utilizing various air deck designs on the overall blast performance. The explosives group measured and verified the proposed changes in the blast design in addition to verifying all other designed parameters remained constant prior to all test blasts. After each test blast, the explosive group analyzed the blast results to determine if there were any significant changes in the blast performance associated with the individual test blasts.

Through this case study, RESPEC’s explosives group was able to identify the effects of the air deck designs on the overall blast performance and recommended future test blasts for further potential reductions in drill and blast costs associated with the site.