At its just held 2018 AGM, Alberto Calderon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Orica stated: “Revenues have returned to growth after some years of decline, reflecting both improvements in the macro-economic environment and new contract wins. Ammonium nitrate sales volumes were up five per cent on last year with particularly strong demand in Australia and Indonesia and a strong contribution from North America. We also saw strong demand for our newer products with revenue from new technologies as a proportion of total sales up more than 30% on last year.”
He added: “It was also pleasing to see customer satisfaction rates increase again this year. This is an important validation of our investment in new technology and expertise. As the resources industry embraces big data and automation to lift returns, we are making the most of this opportunity. We believe market conversion to more modern, less commoditised products and services will improve margins for our customers, and for us.”
Orica is making significant progress in the commercialisation of its technology. At the time of last year’s AGM, it had just completed trials of its BulkMaster 7 delivery systems and wireless blasting system, WebGen, and was just introducing its digital platform, BlastIQ, to new customers.
Calderon stated: “We now have 20 BulkMaster 7s in the field, BlastIQ is being used at more than 100 customer sites around the world, and commercial sales of WebGen have commenced. We’ve just launched the next generation of BlastIQ, we’re rolling out at least another 20 BulkMaster 7’s this year, and the next generation of WebGen is in development. For me, WebGen is the most exciting development our industry has seen since bulk explosives in the 1960s. It will fundamentally change how our customers think about mine planning. The safety and productivity gains it will deliver for our customers will be significant, and we will share in that.”
Lastly, he said the acquisition of GroundProbe early in the calendar 2018 year was a significant step in expanding its digital capability and customer offering. “GroundProbe is a global market leader in the provision of critical monitoring and measurement technologies for the mining sector. It has integrated well into the business, it is contributing positively to earnings, and we are now focusing on leveraging our global network to accelerate its growth.”