Blasting the Diamond Pipes at Ekati

Ekati Diamond Mine Blasting

Ekati Blast Design and Training

Konya Industries has been working with the Ekati Diamond Mine (out of Yellowknife, Canada) since before the mine had first gone into operation designing the presplitting and production blasts and training engineers.




The Ekati Diamond Mine lies near the Arctic Circle mining kimberlite diamond pipes in ancient Pre-Cambrian Granite. With the weak structure of kimberlite much of the major structures of the mine are blasted into the granite host rock. Konya Industries was asked to assist in the blast design process for both the kimberlite and the granite at the diamond pipes.

Panda Pit

Initially the Panda Pit began with the granite benches being 50 feet high and 45 feet wide and a 45° overall pit slope, however this was extracting large amounts of waste granite. Dr. Calvin J. Konya, during a site audit designed a plan for modifying the original design to 100 foot high by 45 foot wide benches. The only was this was possible was to achieve a 100 foot presplit.
In addition to the very long presplit, the mine would have to use either a 10 inch or a 6 inch drill bit.

Project Goals

  1. Achieve a 100 foot presplit with stable walls in the host granite
  2. Achieve the lowest cost presplit
  3. Utilize drill rigs already available to the minesite (10″ and 6″)

Project Execution

Throughout the testing process Dr. Konya implemented all different presplit designs including:

  1. Continuous Charge Presplit
  2. Deck Loaded, Air Cushioned Presplit
  3. Air Decks (concentrated charge in bottom and various locations in borehole)
  4. Precision Presplitting

These different forms of presplit were all evaluated for stability of wall as well as economic costs


Project Completion

In the end, the newly invented (by Dr. Calvin J. Konya) Precision Presplitting technique proved to be the most economical and could be accomplished with current drill rigs on the full 100 foot presplit. This pit was excavated to over 1000 feet deep and this technique continues at Ekati today. In addition to this, Konya Industries has worked with Ekati through the years in both a blast design and engineer training capacity.