Along with increased travelling times, additional work activities are required, such as safety meetings, ‘making safe’ procedures, and installing safety nets and roof bolts. As a result of the additional face activities taking place during the mining cycle, it does not support a daily conformant blast. It was realised that a lost blast analysis methodology needs to be investigated to enable an understanding of the root causes of non-conformant blast events.

Research and development

The analysis was done through literature reviews of technologies for accurate recording of lost blast information and lost blast root cause (RCA) analysis methodologies, using data from Lonmin’s non-blast daily reports. Discussions were also conducted with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the mines in order to gain a holistic understanding of the prevailing practices and technology in the industry. The team implemented project planning and initiation; they conducted literature reviews of local and international research relating to shift cycles in the mining industry; and drafted report findings.

Lonmin Platinum Mine provided reports on the throw blasting practices they captured and implemented on their down-dip mining operating shafts. Alternative methods were also analysed from work done at the mines, using breast mining. Further work was done for blast patterns and explosive types.


The practice of RCA in occupational health and safety (OHS) management in the mining industry is continuously improving. The use of RCA on lost blast incidents will empower the mines to address the actual root cause of an effect, resulting in step change improvements in productivity and OHS. The RCA guidance notes and lessons learned from RCA in OHS management can be used to develop mine-specific lost blast RCA guidelines.

 The way forward is to apply a standardised lost blast analysis reporting system, which is completely independent of data capturing from production line supervisors, but there is a need to record data from real time monitoring and measuring devices; this would enhance the analytical process to address the real issues at hand and would result in effective conformant daily blasting.

 This research was commissioned to the CSIR. The researcher involved in this project are Fleckson Mageregwede and Jodi Pelders.


The project Blasting project is completed.