Orica announces sale of underground rock reinforcement business Minova to Aurelius Group

Global mining explosives and blasting technology major Orica has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Minova business to Aurelius Group, a European based investment firm, for A$180 million, subject to transaction costs and customary completion adjustments. This announcement follows Orica’s announcement in May 2021 of its intentions to pursue a sale, and the global sale process subsequently undertaken by Orica and its advisors. Orica first acquired Minova for $A857 million back in 2006.

Orica Managing Director and CEO Sanjeev Gandhi said: “The sale of Minova is consistent with our refreshed strategy, which identified Minova as non-core to Orica. This allows us to focus on our four key business verticals of growth – mining; quarry and construction; digital; and mining chemicals. The Minova business will benefit from new ownership with more focus and capital to support its growth.” The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2022 subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The challenges and demands faced by hard rock and coal miners differ, and Minova serves both markets, but they share common concerns such as bolting times and rock support requirements. Minova states: “The drive for automation has recently increased in mining; however, bolting operations remain a bottleneck for production. For decades, Minova has been a leader in developing innovative bolts, resins and mechanical solutions – leading to improved safety and bolting installation times.”

Minova first developed Lokset™, a pre-packaged two-part polyester resin that rapidly transformed the mining industry for bolt grouting applications. “This legacy of innovation continues as we further improve our capsules and bulk resins, to rise to today’s challenges and needs for improved performance, increased efficiencies and automated solutions.”

For example, as originators of urea silicate resins for rock bolting, Minova’s CarboThix™ resin family has since been used successfully all over the world to provide grouting solutions for anchors in challenging ground conditions. The ultrafast setting time of the anchor resin provides near-immediate support for bolts and cables used in underground mining and tunnelling. The Minova OneStep Bolting technology combines leading-edge and high-quality, high-strength products to make rock bolting safer, faster and more efficient. This solution combines the advantages of Minova self-drilling anchor (SDA) bolts and high-performance, injectable, two-component resin grout. Using the Minova OneStep Bolting technology reduces manual material handling requirements and improves overall installation efficiency. The immediate bonding of the resin makes it possible to load the bolts without leaving the borehole, dramatically increasing bolting speed and worker safety.

For the grouting of cable anchors in tight boreholes, Minova has also developed an injection procedure that uses small diameter injection tubes to grout various types of rock bolts and cable anchors. Such a method was recently used in underground mines in Ontario, with Double Lok (expansion shell) bolts in low roof situations and continuous thread bar bolts, when the use of resin cartridges did not provide the performance consistency required for the operation.