Application of Measurement While Drilling Data for Mine Blast Optimization Utilizing Machine Learning Techniques with Iron Ore Mine Data

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Virginia Tech


Drilling and blasting procedures are a critical part of mine planning activities and improvements in this stage can lead to better productivity downstream and lower costs. One potential improvement would be better understanding the characteristics of the rock for blast design purposes. The distribution of material properties within a rock mass is very unpredictable so to more accurately determine its characteristics a controlled drilling environment is needed. Many mines possess the capacity to record Measurement While Drilling (MWD) data but don't utilize it. This project investigates and analyzes MWD data from an anonymous iron ore mine. Machine learning was used to analyze the MWD data for the sake of improving blast optimization and productivity and has been used to successfully implement MWD data in other studies. Based on previous work, it has been demonstrated that the utilization of MWD data can assist with developing a better understanding of rock mass properties and other variables of importance during the drill, blast, and mine planning processes. This report investigates using MWD data to classify and predict lithology and utilize regression modeling to identify potential soft spots within blast patterns for blast optimization. The MWD data of six blast patterns from an anonymous mine underwent data processing and then were modeled. The lithology was able to be approximately classified with new information of potentially revealed bed boundaries and blast pattern soft spots.



measure while drilling (MWD), machine learning, analysis, modeling