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Canada invests $1.5M to advance explosive-free fragmenting of underground rock deposits for more efficient, cleaner mining

Natural Resources Canada is awarding more than $1.5 million to the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning at McGill University to test and validate a more efficient approach to fragmenting underground rock deposits, improving mining and tunneling practices, while reducing blast-induced fumes from traditional explosives.

The project, “Rock Fragmentation with Explosive–Free Soundless Chemical Demolition Agents” will use powdery cements known as soundless chemical demolition agents (SCDAs) injected in drilled boreholes in the rock. Shortly after the injection, the SCDA expands, exerting pressure on the borehole and causing it to break apart.

It is expected that this method of rock breakage could improve mining and tunneling practices as it does not involve explosive energy. The outcome of the project will be a novel methodology for rock fragmentation in underground environments.

Replacing explosives with alternative demolition agents has the potential to transform the Canadian mining industry through improved productivity and reduced emissions from mining operations.

Additional benefits are improved safety, the potential to translate to different sectors beyond mining, and increased labor force productivity.

There will be neither blast-induced fumes nor fugitive dust particles released to the atmosphere.

This project is funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forestry sectors.

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