Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Scott Rosenthal

First Advisor

Chris Roos

Second Advisor

Diane Wolfgram


Blasting is often conducted to produce desirable fragment sizes to minimize production cost and energy consumption in downstream processes, including loading, hauling, and crushing. However, the venting of explosive energy in the rock formation sometimes causes unwanted damage beyond the desired perimeter of the blast area. Control blasting has mainly been used in surface mining operations to minimalize blast damage. To explore the applicability of control blasting in underground mining operations, protect the safety of students, faculty, and staff, prevent overbreak, and to ensure the stability of openings and workings, four experimental control blasts, comprising of three smooth blasts and one presplit blast were conducted at the Orphan Boy Mine (an underground mine at Montana Tech). Based on the half-barrels that resulted, the success of the three smooth blasting was less than 20%. The presplit blasting resulted in extensive fracturing of the adjoining rock mass. Fracturing, weathering, and jointing of the rock mass were observed as factors that limited the success of the control blasts. Future work could focus on establishing the effects of these geological conditions on controlled blasting at the Orphan Boy.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Mining Engineering