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Blast Engineering Claims Disputes Expert Witness

Expert Witness No.221



Expert No. 221 manages R & A, a professional consulting firm, and is a professional engineer who has provided consulting services to many civil construction projects throughout the Americas and Asia.  He has over 25 years of direct explosive-work experience gained from a wide range of practical and professional activities; including work as an underground hard-rock miner, mine planning engineer, blasting research engineer, and technical manager for a major explosive company.  Expert 221 has authored and presented numerous technical papers about blast design, control and environmental issues.

Where blasting might influence people, animals, or cause concern about potential structural or ground damage, R & A analyzes site-specific conditions, evaluates risks, and recommends specific blasting controls to minimize blast effects on project neighbors, nearby structures, and in some cases, endangered species and other animals.  Their analyses include effects of blast-induced vibration, air overpressure, dynamic water pressure and impulse, structure response, rock or ground rupturing, slope failures, and the potential for liquefaction.  Through these analyses, R & A has helped many owners, quarries and mines overcome regulatory and community concerns.

R & A designs blasts and develops control procedures for all types of surface and underground blasting.  For projects with extremely high risk, they have developed innovative blasting solutions to maximize cost effectiveness, thereby ensuring substantial savings.  In some cases, their blast-engineering work has allowed blasting work to safely proceed when it would have otherwise been prohibited by overly restrictive specifications or regulations.  They also conduct audits of and recommend improvements for existing blasting programs.

Expert 221, R & A’s principal, has and continues to represent the mining, construction and manufacturing industries in contractual claims, damage lawsuits and regulatory penalty defenses. 

Underwater Blasting — Services include, blast design and safety planning, environmental effects and mitigation measures, structural response analyses, and air curtain design for water pressure attenuation.

Pipeline Blasting — Analyses of the effects of blasting on nearby structures or on other buried pipes and development of practical blasting control measures.

Underground Blasting — Services for underground rock blasting work in both civil and mining applications.

Dam Construction, Repair and Removal Blasting — R & A has participated in many Dam construction, repair and removal projects, some requiring blasting at operating dams.  R & A provides evaluations and recommendations for methods of excavating tunnels, shafts, under-ground chambers, foundations and other civil excavations.  Evaluations include impact analyses, and relative production rates, costs and risks associated of various excavation alternatives.

Blast-Engineering & Vibration-Noise Consulting Qualifications

Presently providing consulting services to the mining and heavy construction industry and its Engineering and Management Firms.  Services include all blasting related design, training, environmental impact controls, and risk management work.


Professional Blasting & Vibration/Noise Engineering Consultant
Providing explosives related training, design, and risk management services.

Technical Manager—Western Division ICI Explosives USA, Western Division (formerly Atlas Powder Company)
•Worked in a number of subordinate positions leading to appointment as Div. Technical Manager.
•Provided and coordinated technical services and training to the mining and construction industry.
•Responsible for explosives, safety and blasting application technical support to major construction and mining sites where damage and vibration control were critical.
•Supervised and lectured at more than twenty Blasters License Training Courses. Certified as trainer in the states of Kentucky, Colorado, Montana, California, New Mexico, Hawaii and Nevada.

General Manager, Blasting Services — Tn.
Managed explosives sales and service business operating throughout the State of Tennessee. Directly supervised crews performing contract-blasting services to quarries and construction projects.  Also directly responsible for on-site storage and over-the-road explosive transportation operations.

Technical Sales Representative, Powder Company – Ky.
Provided direct technical support to surface coal mining, and underground coal mining development projects.

Training Specialist, Powder Company – Pa.
Developed company safety and application training programs. Served as editor for “Explosives and Rock Blasting” handbook.

Research Engineer, Metals Mines Research – Ont. Canada
Directed all underground blasting research to improve mining methods and developed specialized state-of-art blast vibration/air-overpressure monitoring and control systems.
Mine Planner, Metals Company – Ont. Canada
Responsible for mine-planning work and methods development.

Driller, INCO Metals -- Frood Mine, Sudbury, Canada
Operated various hand held and automated drilling equipment and performed blasting work in various mining and development operations.

Project Consulting Experience

San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge Project – 2002, San Francisco, CA. Earth mechanics, Inc./Fugro West JV – under contract with CalTrans. Designed and executed blasting demonstration program used to characterize environmental impacts of blasting to existing bridge piers, US Coast Guard Structures and to area flora and fauna. Study included measurements of ground vibration, air and water overpressure that were used to develop site-specific regression curves. Conclusions from this study were used to develop controlled blasting specifications for new bridge pier excavations on Yerba Buena Island.

Bath Iron Works Land Level Transfer Facility Project – 2000, Bath ME. Atkinson Construction Company. Developed controls designed to protect endangered Short Nosed Sturgeon from the effects of underwater blasting and to win regulatory permitting approvals.

Allied Pipeline Project – 2000, Mankato, MN. Welded Construction Co. and Universal Ensco. Investigated potential vibration effects on nearby buried gas pipeline and developed blasting recommendations that allowed the work to proceed without incident.

San Roque Multi-use Dam Project (Philippines)– 2000. Evaluated extremely challenging geological conditions and developed controlled blasting methods to reduce overbreak in power plant and dam-spillway excavations.

Cougar Lake Diversion Tunnel Upgrades Project – 1999. Defined controlled blasting methods and wrote specifications for development of a gate-chamber excavation and lake-tap blast designed to facilitate controlled water-temperature releases from the upstream reservoir to the McKenzie river. This blast-engineering work was performed for the Portland District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, under the coordination of INCA Engineers, Inc.

Lake Mead Intake No. 2 Project –1998-99. Designed air-curtain for attenuation of peak water overpressure generated by a large underwater ditch blast, developed controlled blasting methods for rock excavation work near new concrete repairs, and developed extremely controlled blasting methods for a series of elbow connection blasts designed to complete a lake-tap connection between a drilled shaft and a tunnel. These design services were done for the project contractor—Lake Mead Constructors, Inc.—a consortium of Kiewit Companies.

Trans Colorado Pipeline Project – 1998. Due to concerns about blast effects on springs supplying water to reservoirs for the cities of Palisade and Grand Junction, Colorado, rock blasting was prohibited for the excavations in a nine-mile section of the pipe trench on the Grand Mesa. While excavating the trench in the no-blast zone, U.S. Pipeline, Inc., the contractor on Spread No. 2 of this project, encountered many large basalt boulders that could not be removed with conventional excavating equipment. GEOTEK investigated potential blast-induced vibration effects on nearby water resources and the rock and ground slopes that housed them. After reviewing specific blasting controls and ground monitoring methods, recommended by GEOTEK, Hydrogeologists representing the area water resources, allowed blasting to occur. All blasting in the area of concern was completed without incident.

D.H. Blattner & Sons, Cobre Mining, Silver City, New Mexico (surface copper)– 1996. Audited the blasting practices and prepared design change recommendations that improved blasting safety, pit slope stability, and mine productivity.

Nashville Airport Quarry Fill Project -- Metric Construction Company, Nashville, Tennessee. Responsible for Safety Training Program and Vibration/Airblast Control. Consultant to contractor, approved by Nashville Airport Authority. Five million cubic yards of rock was blasted in this project and it included a tunnel for water and utilities.

Hanging Lake Tunnels Project -- 1989 to 1990. Blasting Consultant for Hanging Lake Joint Venture, the contractor; approved by Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas Inc. and Colorado DOT. Developed controlled blasting plans for surface bridge abutment cuts, portal development cuts and multiple face underground tunnel rounds. Approved all Blasting Supervisor qualifications and loading procedures.

Barrick Meikle Mine, Carlin, Nevada - 1996. Audited the development heading blasting practices and provided practical design improvements that increased round advance rates and reduced overbreak. Presented recommendations concerning safe blasting in hot ground and centralized blasting systems.

Stillwater Mining Company, Nye, Montana – 1994 to 1996. Aided the development and introduction of narrow vein long hole stope mining. Developed controlled blasting techniques designed to minimize dilution from a very weak hanging wall. Provided practical recommendations for controlling ammonia and nitrate losses from explosives.

AMAX Coal, Gillette, Wyoming – 1989 to 1995. Provided a wide variety of blast design services that
improved overburden and coal blasting productivity. Developed special blast controls that minimized
ground vibration and air over-pressure levels at nearby structures.

TRI-MET Light Rail Tunnel Project - October 1993 to present. Blasting Consultant for Frontier/Traylor joint venture. Prepared all blasting plans and vibration/noise mitigation and monitoring systems for this large tunnel and shaft blasting project in Portland, Oregon.

Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository Project -- 1992. Provided controlled blasting designs and information for Raytheon and Kiewit-Parsons Brinkerhoff. This work was for the TBM starter tunnel and the ongoing storage cavern excavations.

Hoover Dam Elevator Shaft Project - August 1990 through April 1991. Blasting Consultant for Frontier Kemper Constructors, the contractor; approved by Bureau of Reclamation. Prepared a Blasting Program designed to meet stringent vibration and flyrock control requirements. Approved all blasting supervisor qualifications and Blast designs.

Roosevelt Dam Retrofit -- 1991 to 92. Developed controlled blast plans for J.A. Jones, the contractor, at this U.S. Bureau of Reclamation project in Arizona.

Seven Oaks Diversion Tunnel -- June 1992 to 93. Blasting Consultant for Tutor-Saliba and Dynatec Mining; the contractors. Prepared the blast plans for the diversion tunnel, valve chamber, and surface excavations at this project in Highlands, California.

Hoover Dam Aeration Slots -- Frontier Kemper Constructors, Boulder City, Nevada, 1986. Responsible for Blasting Safety Program and Blast Vibration Control measures. Consultant to the contractor, approved by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Southdown, Inc., Houston, Texas – 1998. Conducted Blast Design and Risk Management Workshop for quarry managers at annual national meeting—Longmont, CO. Topics included principles of blast design, controlled blasting techniques and measures for preventing blast vibration and air-overpressure damage claims or litigation.

Barretts Minerals, Inc., Dillon, Montana – 1998. Performed Blasting Practices Audit and recommended improvements designed to prevent losses of explosives to groundwater that might cause potential ammonia and nitrate pollution.

INCO Limited -- "Smoothwall" Tunneling Project 1981. Conducted Blasting Method Research at eight different mines to establish Smoothwall Tunneling standards for INCO development and large chamber opening.

Minidoka Dam Replacement Powerplant & Switchyard Project - January 1996 to present. Providing blast design and blast affects control services to Superior Blasting, Inc. and Pirini Corporation, the blasting and prime contractors, respectively, at this very challenging U.S. Bureau of Reclamation project in Idaho.


B. Eng., Mining Engineering, 1980, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Publications, Training And Presentations

Available upon request.

Professional Memberships

 Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, Canada -- PEO
International Society of Explosive Engineers – ISEE (Elected to National Board of Directors - 2001)
Society of Mining Engineers -- SME/AIME
American Society of Civil Engineers – ASCE
Association of Engineering Geologists -- AEG

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