Having previously relied on conventional non-electric initiation systems, Indonesia-based PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) has turned to AECI Mining Explosives’ IntelliShot® electronic blasting initiation system to improve the safety and efficiency of its operations.
Located close to Sangatta and Bengalon, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, KPC operates one of the largest open-pit mines in the world with coal resources of 9,275 Mt. The mine employs load and haul operations within its numerous pits, which are managed by two mining divisions: Mining Operation Division (MOD) and Contract Mining Division (CMD).
KPC commenced with coal production in 1992 and today moves approximately 500 million bank cubic metres of overburden per year, which allows the production of 60 Mt of coal. About 80% of the overburden requires drilling and blasting to enable efficient excavation, AECI says.
The mine has traditionally used conventional non-electric initiation within its CMD area, where AECI Mining Explosives Indonesia (AECI Indonesia) is contracted as the blasting services provider. This method required a lead-in-line to be run from the blast location to the firing position. In 2017, this method of initiation consumed approximately 650 m of lead-in-line per blast location, according to AECI.
High daily production targets set by KPC require multiple locations from where blasts could be initiated safely.
“Whilst this is possible within the strict safety parameters set by the mine, it sometimes requires some clever footwork, especially related to moving expensive capital equipment out of harm’s way,” AECI says. “This cumbersome method isn’t always the most efficient and often result in a loss of production time.”
AECI Indonesia, as the incumbent blasting services provider for KPC CMD since 2009, suggested IntelliShot, the company’s advanced electronic blasting initiation system.
IntelliShot has the capability to initiate one or more initiating systems wirelessly, known as remote firing. This application has the ability to generate much needed efficiencies by only using a short length of harness wire as opposed to the cost of a full lead-in-line when non-electric blast initiation is applied in the same application, the company says.
“Any new application of technology at the mine requires careful planning and demonstration of the ability to safely maintain improvement of these parameters,” it says. “The AECI Indonesia team embarked on a carefully controlled trial to test the applicability of the system and to ensure that KPC gets the full benefits.”
In addition to saving on costly lead-in lines, remote firing through the IntelliShot system offers additional safety benefits such as an advanced security system, the possibility to easily initiate the blast at larger and safer distances, allowance for the blaster to fire from locations that give greater visual security of the blast area during firing, and eliminating potential slap, snap and shoot that is possible with shock tube.
The introduction of remote firing at KPC was performed as a project and carried out in stages in the CMD area of KPC. Focused key performance indicator (KPI) targets agreed by the project team were carefully monitored on a daily basis to ensure the best possible outcome.
The project was conducted in the three CMD contractor pit areas at Sangatta and Bengalon under the management of KPC drill and blast department. AECI Indonesia successfully delivered multiple events of remote firing blasting in all areas. The team also complied with all safety and efficiency KPIs, AECI says.
The average usage of harness wire per remote firing event was around 100 m, compared with 650 m per blast of lead-in-line used in conventional blast initiation and has reduced the cost of blast initiation in KPC CMD by over 50%, AECI claims.
Yuli Prihartono, KPC Drill & Blast Manager, says: “Throughout the trial project of remote firing at CMD pits, AECI Mining Explosives has demonstrated its capability to deliver safe and efficient project to world class operations. Remote firing has successfully delivered quantifiable cost benefits for KPC. We expect AECI Mining Explosives to expand this initiative by introducing remote firing to all blast locations at CMD KPC.”