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To investigate improvements in the efficiency and the cost of hard rock cutting, especially when additional free face is provided by means of diamond tools, and to design equipment based on the identified technology for use in the underground mining of hard rock.
An underground hard rock breaking system has been developed which incorporates diamond saws and an impact ripper. Improvements in the efficiency of breaking hard rock were investigated, especially when an additional free face is provided by means of diamond cutting tools. Theories of diamond sawing and kerf cutting dynamics in hard rock were developed and a conceptual design of equipment based on the identified technology was proposed. The work at Imperial College concentrated on the development of the theories of diamond sawing of hard rock and on the in situ trials of diamond wire saws underground at Laporte Minerals. Laboratory sawing tests were carried out at Diamant Boart's pilot station in Brussels. Underground trials of the proposed rock breaking system were carried out jointly by the research partners at Milldam Mine of Laporte Minerals. Researchers from the Technical University of Berlin concentrated on the in situ trials of the impact ripper underground at Milldam Mine and on the evaluation of the performance of impact rippers in hard rock.
The work will comprise the following tasks.

Investigate improvements in efficiency which can be achieved by the impact ripper and the roadheader if a kerf is cut to provide at least one additional free face for breaking. This part of the research will include studies of the optimization of kerf location, the effects of kerf width, kerf depth and other fundamental investigations into the dynamics of kerfing.

Investigate the efficiency and cost of the use of diamond tools for cutting hard rock under the conditions in an underground hard rock mine, with special reference to rocks with high abrasivity. In particular, diamond wires, diamond chain saws and large diameter diamond circular saws will be investigated.

Undertake fundamental studies into the improvement of the efficiency of cutting in rocks with high abrasivity and UCS with diamond tools, and also conduct such studies using the impact ripper.

Design equipment based on the identified technology for use in the underground mining of hard rock.

Production of the final report.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Prince Consort Road
SW7 2BP London
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

Diamant Boart SA
74,Avenue De Pont De Luttre
1170 Bruxelles
Laporte plc
United Kingdom
Cavendish Mill
S30 1QH Sheffield
Technische Universität Berlin
Straße Des 17 Juni 135
10623 Berlin