Surface mines continue to implement highwalls for several reasons, such as increasing recovery, improving margins, and justifying higher stripping ratios. Highwall stability is a complex issue that is dependent upon a variety of mining and geologic factors, and a safe design is necessary for a successful surface operation. To improve highwall stability, it is important to understand the connection between local geology and blasting. Explosives are employed throughout the mining industry for primary rock breakage. There are a number of controlled blasting techniques that can be implemented to improve highwall stability. These include line drilling, smooth wall blasting, trim blasting, buffer blasting, air decking, and presplitting. Each of these techniques have associated advantages and disadvantages. Understanding local geology is necessary for selecting the appropriate controlled blasting technique. Furthermore, understanding the limitations and conditions for successful implementation of each technique is necessary. A discussion of the impact of geologic conditions on highwall stability is provided. Additionally, discussion is provided for the successful incorporation of the controlled blasting techniques listed above, and the associated mining and geologic factors that influence the selection and design of controlled blasting plans. Finally, a new methodology is proposed.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Blasting; Geology; Mining; Open pit mining; Stability; Controlled blasting; Geologic conditions; Geologic factors; Highwall; Presplitting; Stripping ratio; Surface mines; Surface operations; Explosives; Highwall stability; Surface mining

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2095-2686; 2589-062X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2019 China University of Mining and Technology, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2019