Orica says it has hit another milestone in its “Alpha” trials for the wireless WebGen™ 200 solution, with the first surface mining blast conducted at TerraCom’s Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, Australia.
Orica’s WebGen team recently successfully loaded and fired the first open-pit coal blast with the through-the-earth, fully wireless initiating system at the operation.
WebGen technology provides for groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through hundreds of metres of rock, water, and air. This completely removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast and importantly allows us to remove people from harm’s way, according to Orica.
Engineered to deliver robust safety and reliability, WebGen 200 has been built with enhanced capabilities, security and versatility, ensuring it meets the extreme mining conditions faced by surface and underground customers. It harnesses digital technology to allow advanced features including digital inventory management, an improved user interface and increased quality assurance.
The Alpha trial program is a comprehensive verification process and validation product testing in the field. Orica has hit some successful milestones recently with Alpha trials for its WebGen 200 Surface primer in the US, Chile and now in Australia with Blair Athol being the first coal mine globally to trial the new generation technology.
Orica Senior Manager WebGen Commercialisation, Rhys Patterson, said: “We’re excited about what the future holds for the industry with WebGen 200 as we progress towards commercial release of WebGen 200 Surface, which is expected in early 2023. The success of the program would not be possible without the trust and willingness of our valued customers to partner with us.”
Commenting on this trial, TerraCom Managing Director, Danny McCarthy, said: “TerraCom is pleased to be at the forefront of this technology with our valued partner Orica. We welcome innovative ways and techniques to make our workplaces safer and, of course, more productive.
“We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved from our team on the ground at Blair Athol to everyone at Orica for their commitment to a safe and successful trial.”
Orica closed out Alpha trials of its second generation fully wireless initiating system for the underground market in September. Orica’s underground customers around the world have started to transition to the WebGen 200 Underground Pro, with customers reaping the benefits of adopting this technology, according to the company.
Orica unveiled a WebGen 200 product range that included the WebGen 200 Surface, WebGen 200 Surface Pro, WebGen 200 Underground Pro and WebGen 200 Dev at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, in September last year.
Since then, it has initiated trials at the Moose Creek Quarry in Canada, where the team on site loaded and fired the first production blast for WebGen 200 on a customer site, successfully blasting 130 units.
A WebGen 200 wireless initiation system is also on board Avatel™, Orica and Epiroc’s jointly engineered fully mechanised development charging system. Avatel recently achieved a world first with the automated loading of its fully wireless initiating system into a blast hole.