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Rock Fragmentation with Explosive–Free Soundless Chemical Demolition Agents

Strategic Area

Mining – Technology and Innovation
GHG & Air Emissions




Quebec Ministry of Economics and Innovation


Clean Growth Program



CGP Contribution

$ 1,118,209

Science & Technology Assistance for Cleantech (STAC) Contribution

$ 418,209

Project Total

$ 2,166,418


Montreal, QC
Sudbury, ON

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McGill Research & Innovation

Lead Proponent

Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning, McGill University

Project Objectives

This project will develop, test and validate an alternative explosive-free method for rock breakage using powdery cements known as soundless chemical demolition agents, or SCDAs, injected in drilled boreholes in the rock. Shortly after the injection, the SCDA expands, exerting pressure on the borehole and causing it to break apart.

The method will be tested in the laboratory and validated at an underground mine site. Once adopted, this new method will result in a reduction of greenhouse gases due to the reduction in ventilation normally associated with the blasting method, which would no longer be required.

Expected Results

It is expected that this method of rock breakage could improve mining and tunneling practices as it does not involve explosive energy. The outcome of the project will be a novel methodology for rock fragmentation in underground environments.

Replacing explosives with alternative demolition agents has the potential to transform the Canadian mining industry through improved productivity and reduced emissions from mining operations.

Additional benefits are improved safety, the potential to translate to different sectors beyond mining, and increased labour force productivity.

Anticipated Environmental Benefits: Improved air quality and reduced GHG emissions as there will be neither blast-induced fumes nor fugitive dust particles released to the atmosphere.

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