Project Details

Underground Mine Surface Monitoring and Environmental Protection

Client: Confidential
Time Span: 2018-2019
Location: United States

Related Service Areas

Mining & Energy


For a due-diligence effort, our mining client needed to ensure that blasting vibrations for an underground mine would not affect the homes and buildings of a nearby community once the mine was operational. Concerned with meeting community requirements, safety standards, and environmental regulations, the mining company needed RESPEC’s expertise to better understand the adverse impact of planned blasting operations.

RESPEC was hired to perform a feasibility analysis and meet the challenge of predicting vibration without any preexisting data. Our work included evaluating blast vibration amplitudes that could potentially be generated at surface structures above the proposed mine. RESPEC ultimately established a regression equation for surface vibrations that result from underground blasting to be tested and compared to additional blast vibration data from similar operations across the industry.

Literature reviews of published blasting documentation provided little information, data, or models on surface blast vibrations produced by underground mines. At the client’s request, RESPEC collected blast vibration data from underground operations and developed an underground-to-surface blast vibration regression equation.

Our team worked with three underground metal mining operations to collect surface blast vibration data produced by heading blasts and stope blasts: Dragon Mining’s Jokisivu Mine, Nyrstar’s Middle Tennessee Mines, and Lundin’s Eagle Mine. The data included blast vibration amplitude values, seismograph records, blast design geometry, charge weights, and detonator delay and sequence designs. The collected information was used to produce a regression equation and summary dataset that could be used by our client’s proposed underground mining operation to evaluate blast vibration amplitudes that would be generated on the surface above the proposed mine.

RESPEC’s team was successful in identifying problem areas before the mine’s start-up. We also devised new ways for the client to control and reduce the dangers of blasting, such as flyrock, air blasts, ground vibrations, and dust, to ensure mine safety and meet environmental regulations. The project is proceeding under RESPEC’s guidance for further testing to predict more specific vibrations at the site. The project is gaining community support and our team is confident in finding the right plan for blasting the area in a way that reduces vibrations on local housing.