Imagine building a new underground mine — or expanding an existing one — without using explosives.
That’s the goal of a new project unveiled in Sudbury on Wednesday. And while the announcement was made in here, the money — $1.5 million — will go to McGill University of Montreal to test cleaner methods of mining.
The project will use chemicals similar to a powdery cement that expand and exert pressure in rocks, causing them to break apart. In addition to avoiding the noise, vibrations and flying rocks associated with traditional blasting methods, the new method could improve worker safety and significantly reduce the cost of demolition projects in the mining industry, as there is no need to ventilate after operations.
“The goal of this project is to create, test and validate a revolutionary method for rock fragmentation for underground mining and tunneling projects,” said Hani Mitri, a professor in the Department of Mining and Materials Engineering at McGill University.