Forefront’s HEX-RITE draws a crowd at International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving

Australia company, Forefront launched an innovative charging product to the world’s mining community at the fourth International Symposium on Block and Sublevel Caving, held in Vancouver, Canada, last month.

The event allowed the company to launch HEX-RITE®, a lifting tool used for charging high explosives into drawpoints associated with block-cave, sublevel-cave and open-stope mining.

Forefront said the growing popularity of block caving and sublevel caving around the world is largely due to the very low production cost and the intrinsic safety associated with these mining methods. They are often the only viable mining methods for some of the lower-grade massive orebodies that are becoming too deep for open-pit mining.

“Australian mines such as Ridgeway, Cadia East, Argyle and Northparkes have adopted these mining methods to great success,” Forefront Director Anthony Redfern said. “There’s now an increase in interest from international companies, so we were excited to present HEX-RITE in person to some of the mining industry’s top experts.”

HEX-RITE was initially designed to be used in block-cave mines. In the block-caving mining method, the orebody is undercut so the base of the orebody starts collapsing, or caving, due to the mass of overlying material.

“The orebody subsides under gravity, gathering at draw points for collection and, later, processing. At the same time, the caving process gradually propagates upward and further into the orebody. Often, overly large fragments can block an extraction draw point. The culprit can be a single boulder or a stringed arch of smaller boulders. These blockages are referred to, by block-caving miners, as ‘hang-ups’,” Forefront said.

“Stresses created by the blockage transmit to important mine structures, such as draw point brows, structural pillars and extraction-level drives. Damage can go as far as causing footwall heave and failure of sidewalls and the extraction of these hang-ups can create a fatal work environment for miners as they manoeuvre equipment and explosives to eradicate any obstacles.”

The HEX-RITE removes personnel from the line of fire while safely, and efficiently, clearing oversize material hangups, according to Forefront. This was a solution symposium delegates from almost 100 different companies and 14 countries were introduced to at the show.

“This was an incredible opportunity to showcase Forefront’s secondary break application tools to a global market,” Redfern said, who was joined by Forefront Product and Design Manager Ron Bell and Business Development Manager Nick Clift at the show.

“The symposium was deemed a success with potential partnerships formed with block and sublevel cave mines in the Americas, Asia and Europe,” Forefront said.

Additionally, the Australian Centre for Geomechanics has invited Forefront to be involved in an experiment with leading industry engineers to test the seismic load failure point of ground support mechanisms.

Forefront concluded: “There are many countries who already share Australia’s high standards of work safety but don’t have the resources to implement them. We hope the introduction of our products will encourage the mining industry worldwide to adopt our safety measures and to support Australian innovations like ours.”