Blasting solutions provider @OricaLimited optimises Kevitsa drill and blast cycle with FRAGTrack™

The Kevitsa deposit is one of the largest ever mineral discoveries in Finland. Owned and operated by Boliden Kevitsa Mining Oy, Kevitsa mine’s production is approximately 40 million tonnes per annum, including 8 million tonnes of ore containing nickel, copper, gold, platinum and palladium.

Kevitsa site overview
Kevitsa site overview

In 2016, Boliden Group acquired the Kevitsa operation and fragmentation was identified as one of the key performance indicators to evaluate several productivity improvement projects. 

In response to Kevitsa’s requirements and key value drivers, Orica proposed to implement FRAGTrack™ on three operating hydraulic front shovels in the sub-zero conditions. The automated fragmentation measurement device, delivered as part of Orica’s BlastIQ™ Digital Blast Optimisation Platform suite, captures real-time fragmentation measurement data for downstream unit productivity improvement and tracking of operational performance.  

The Orica FRAGTrack™ system
The Orica FRAGTrack™ system

The location and time tracking with each captured image have allowed Kevitsa to quantify the effect that geology has on blast performance. For example, the data to date has shown that areas with high amphibole content gave a 20% coarser fragmentation when compared to equivalent blasts with lower content. As engineers make targeted design modifications in these areas, FRAGTrack™ can measure the effectiveness of these changes in near real-time.  

Boliden Kevitsa OY Senior Drill and Blast and Geotechnical Engineer, Pekka Bergström said: “FRAGTrack™ cameras give us very valuable information when evaluating our success. Overall, we are very satisfied with all possibilities that Orica has delivered for us to optimise our bulk explosives use and to measure post-blast results. 

The FRAGTrack™ shovel mounted installation (Visualisation)
The FRAGTrack™ shovel mounted installation (Visualisation)

FRAGTrack™ is also used to enable closed sized setting adjustments of the primary crusher to ensure optimal particle size distribution input to the Semi-Autogenous Grinding (SAG) mill, maximising the throughput for the mine. While Kevitsa, as a foundation customer has been benefitting from the FRAGTrack™ technology for over four years, the site is now upgraded with the latest generation hardware that offers superior image processing capability and a new insights visualisation platform. FRAGTrack™, with its high frequency sample rates and unbiased fragmentation analysis, enables blasting optimisation by providing the data necessary to make informed design decisions based on measured results rather than visual assessment. 

“Optimised fragmentation sizes speed up the shovel loading cycle and decrease maintenance costs. This has a positive effect on the economy of the operation”, declared Bergström.

(Fron Press release)

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