The goal of the Non-Explosive Rock Breaking programme is to identify, develop and support the implementation of solutions that will enable the continuous breaking of rock from tabular, hard-rock orebodies.
Systems will be implemented to ensure that the fragmentation of rock is easily loaded, transported and processed. The system will be incorporated into a layout that maximises extraction by reducing waste mining and reducing or eliminating the need for pillars. The layout, support design and operation of systems will ensure that workers are not exposed to unnecessary rockfalls or seismic risk, thereby supporting the industry goal of achieving zero harm. The energy and consumable requirements of the system will be limited to allow for the cost-effective implementation of the system.
Continuous production with minimal waste mining is necessary for the continued viability of South African mines, and it has the potential to revolutionise mining in South Africa and the region. It has the potential to spark the growth of a local equipment manufacturing industry and will position the South African mining research community as world leaders in the field.