Use of drilling performance to improve rock-breakage efficiencies: A part of mine-to-mill optimization studies in a hard-rock mine

Junhyeok Park, Kwangmin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In a hard-rock mine, blasting is an important rock-breakage process that impacts energy consumption both in downstream comminution processes and mine productivity. Optimizing the blast fragmentation to improve rock-breakage efficiencies during crushing and grinding is key to mine-to-mill (MTM) optimization. This study explores the use of monitoring while drilling (MWD) data to achieve this goal. Representative penetration rates (PRs) were extracted from blastholes to estimate intact rock properties and predict the breakage efficiencies that directly affect comminution energy consumption. Two intact rock properties, tensile strength (TS) and Bond work index (BWI), were correlated with the PR data to predict these efficiencies in crushing and grinding, respectively. Because of the complexity of the raw MWD data and effects of various disturbances, the MWD data was preprocessed and normalized to achieve a representative PR value at each blasthole. This preprocessing entailed defining valid PR ranges from the MWD data that could eliminate the noise related to discontinuity features in the rock mass structure as well as errors in operator behaviors. The PR data was also normalized using the adjusted penetration rate (APR) to minimize the effects of mechanical factors such as drill feed force, torque, and rotational speed. To correlate the representative APR value with intact rock properties, TS and BWI, various laboratory experiments were conducted: drilling tests using a high-precision coring machine, Brazilian disc tests, and Bond grindability tests. Based on the results of these experiments, models were developed to predict rock-breakage efficiencies during crushing and grinding based on APR. The result of this study can be used to obtain blast energy designs that consider comminution energy consumption and efficiency in the downstream rock-breakage processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Mining Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Drilling penetration rates
  • Mine-to-mill (MTM) optimization
  • Monitoring while drilling (MWD)
  • Rock-breakage efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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