Tag Archives: ANFO

Aquirian set to expand drill and blast portfolio with Hanwha ammonium nitrate emulsion plant

Specialist mining services provider Aquirian Limited, via its wholly owned subsidiaries, has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the assets and land comprising the Wubin ammonium nitrate emulsion plant from Hanwha, with the company also setting out plans to offer Hanwha’s patented X-Load™ range of products in Western Australia.

The facility was built and commissioned in 2020 and is production-ready, with licensing to produce 110,000 t/y of ammonium nitrate emulsion. It was put into care and maintenance in 2021 as part of Hanwha’s strategic decision to exit the bulk explosives market in Australia, with Hanwha selling its other emulsion production assets in Queensland and New South Wales to Orica earlier this year.

Aquirian will pay A$9.6 million ($6.04 million) for the facility, which is some way below the replacement cost of A$18 million the company previously obtained.

The facility site comprises 142 ha of freehold land in Wubin, with the company having also purchased an adjoining property of 9 ha in September this year. This additional property provides accommodation options for staff, with airstrip access, and is expected to de-risk the investment in the facility by allowing for future growth in capacity and storage.

The Wubin facility is strategically located on the northern freight corridor, removing exposure to major population centres and providing access to up to 1.25 Mt of potential explosive demand across Western Australia, the company estimates. The facility’s location provides direct access to up to 75% of the potential explosives market across the Midwest and Pilbara, it says.

Aquirian Managing Director, David Kelly, comments: “This unique opportunity evolves Aquirian as a diversified mining service company, adding further value across the drill and blast value chain. Our management team has extensive industry knowledge, including with this facility, and I am excited by this acquisition and the potential synergies and opportunities it offers. Our acquisition of a near new strategically located asset below likely replacement cost is anticipated to enable us to fast-track our growth plans and provide clients with a new range of services and products to achieve sustainable outcomes in their operations.”

Kelly was also previously the Managing Director of Hanwha in Australia.

The transfer or securing of required licences in favour of Western Energetics is anticipated to take 3-5 months and is a condition precedent to completion of the sale transaction. Once the sale transaction is completed, it is expected to take between 8-12 weeks to bring the facility back online and into production, the company says.

The facility can produce a variety of nitrate-based emulsions. These emulsions are a class 5.1 dangerous good used as a precursor raw material that is blended with other materials to produce a variety of bulk explosives, which are used in mining operations across Western Australia.

The site is also set up as a logistics and storage hub for ammonium nitrate with a storage capacity of 1,500 t currently, with the objective to be expanded to circa-10,000 t.

Aquirian’s technology portfolio is focused on optimising blast hole quality to ensure better client outcomes. This acquisition will bring the company’s offerings closer to providing drilling technology alongside optimised energetics, to meet its clients’ changing and challenging mine conditions, it says.

The acquisition of the facility is conditional on Hanwha granting the company an exclusive licence to manufacture and supply Hanwha’s patented X-Load range of products in Western Australia and a non-exclusive licence to use and sell other of Hanwha’s products. X-Load is a low-density waterproof energetics solution for the challenging and wet mining conditions in the Pilbara mining region. This region traditionally uses basic ANFO product which is not waterproofed. X-Load provides an energy profile and density that mimics ANFO while being a waterproof solution, according to Acquirian.

iRing opens public database on explosives use in mining

iRing Inc has introduced what it says is an extensive, searchable, comprehensive Knowledge Base that provides answers to questions concerning the use of commercial explosives in mining and construction applications including the physics of the detonation reaction and how this is used in mining for fragmentation.

The iRing Knowledge Base provides in-depth analysis and descriptions of the use of commercial explosives under many topics including types of explosive products, priming, temperature, and pressure effects along with applications and use of explosives in mining and construction. The material has been collected over years of experience in explosive manufacturing and mining by Christopher Preston, Consulting Engineer and VP Research and Development for iRing.

The knowledge concerning the use of explosives as well as case histories and other notes are taken from a broad range of sources including authors skilled in the art as well as personal experience, according to iRing. These works are acknowledged where appropriate and are presented to provide answers to the world use of explosives in mining and construction for everyone.

“Many times, it is just handy to have a place to look up information without doing a rigorous search,” iRing says. “Hopefully, some of the information provided here will be useful. We have tried to acknowledge content that came from outside our realm of experience and we have acknowledged those authors who have provided input in the explosives technology public domain who are used as credible references.”

The Knowledge Base provided by iRing Inc is an extensive collection of information covering the years 1971 to the present. Over that period, commercial explosive products have changed drastically moving from dynamites and canned explosives such as Ammonal and Nitramon to ANFO, water gels and emulsions.

“Much work was completed by Dupont De Nemours and other large commercial manufacturers introducing the water-gel and emulsion families into a stream of safer commercial explosives,” the company said. “These could be used in a host of mining operations – from surface blasting, open-cast mining, and quarrying as well as construction to underground mining operations. Next followed dynamite’s replacement – emulsion explosives, which can be produced in both small and large diameters of charge for large mining operations and construction. Large quantities of bulk explosives can be delivered to the blasthole using pump or auger trucks with loading rates of hundreds of kilograms per minute.

“Delivery records are not only maintained on the trucks but also in the cloud for strategic data handling to arrive at the lowest cost of production. Extensive use of electronics in mining has affected production levels and, in particular, safety. Mine communications have improved to such an extent that normal operational activities can be handled by iPhones and/or tablets for production reports and foreman’s logs.”

iRing concluded: “Perhaps one of the best technologies introduced during the initial years of this century was the production of electronic blasting detonators giving timing accuracies that allow precision blasting methodologies surpassing traditional practices when blasting close to damageable structures.”

MacLean ANFO loader goes underground at Pure Gold’s Madsen project

The ramp up to first production at Pure Gold Mining’s Madsen gold project in Red Lake, Ontario, continues, with the company having recently taken delivery of an ANFO loader from MacLean Engineering.

The ANFO loader, which has just headed underground for the first time at the project, is one of several new pieces of kit the company has added to its fleet as it heads towards its goal of pouring first gold at Madsen by the end of the year.

In a June 21 update, Pure Gold said procurement of major equipment was now 94% complete; a total of 1,285 m of underground mine development had been completed, with an advance rate 60% better than the mine plan; initial access development to longhole stopes had commenced; and an alimak had been installed in the existing shaft to support dewatering and shaft rehabilitation.

In the update, the company said new mine equipment delivered to date included four underground LHDs, two jumbo drills, two haul trucks, two scissor lifts, multiple utility vehicles and the ANFO loader.

One of these haul trucks is a DUX DT-26N articulated truck, while at least one Epiroc jumbo drill has been commissioned at Madsen.

Based on the 2019 feasibility study, Madsen is expected to produce an average of 80,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $787/oz over a 12-year mine life. The operation will feature a combination of diesel and battery-powered load and haul equipment, with first gold production planned for the December quarter.

Enaex and Sasol start up Southern Africa explosives joint venture

Integrated chemicals and energy company Sasol and Enaex, a subsidiary of the Sigdo Koppers Group, have announced the start of operations in Southern Africa.

The new explosives joint venture, Enaex Africa, started operating today on July 1, 2020.

In 2017, Sasol commenced with an asset review to ensure all assets in its global portfolio delivered against financial metrics and were aligned with the company’s growth strategy, the company said.

“In line with this review, Sasol’s explosives business was identified as having substantial growth potential that could be unlocked through collaboration opportunities, including the possibility of partnering with a world-class explosives brand,” Sasol said.

In June 2019, after the evaluation process, Enaex SA was selected as Sasol’s preferred strategic partner to create an explosives business on the African continent.

The new company will operate under the name of Enaex Africa. Enaex will be the majority shareholder and will take over management and operational control of the entity from July 1. Enaex, in association with Sasol, will comprise certain assets and associated activities spun off from the current explosives and rock fragmentation value chain of the base chemicals business of Sasol South Africa. This joint venture includes the associated business activities in both South Africa and other countries in Southern Africa.

Sasol President and CEO, Fleetwood Grobler, said: “We are delighted to announce that on July 1, 2020, Enaex Africa in association with Sasol, will officially start operating in South Africa and on the African Continent. Enaex is a Chilean company celebrating 100 years of history and leadership in the explosives business in South America and together with Sasol will be a force to be reckoned with in the mining industry.”

Founded in 1920 in Chile, Enaex’s core business is ammonium nitrate production – Enaex is the third-largest industrial grade ammonium nitrate producer in the world – explosives production and blasting services, according to Sasol.

“Enaex is also one of the few explosives companies in the world that can produce and offer the entire spectrum of products and solutions to execute the blasting process,” Sasol said. “The company has subsidiaries in 11 countries, including Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, France, the US, Mexico and Australia, and exports to more than 40 countries all over the world.”

Enaex, provides blasting services to some of the major mining companies in the world, such as Anglo American, BHP, Codelco, KGHM, Glencore, Vale, Yamana Gold and Teck Resources.

This deal is part of the strategic plan of Enaex to continue strengthening its international presence in the most important mining regions of the world, according to Sasol.

Francisco Baudrand, CEO of Enaex Africa, said: “This is truly an incredible day for Enaex with a new venture on a new continent. This joint venture is a platform of growth for Enaex not only in Southern Africa, but also for us to become the leaders in explosives and blasting services for the mining industry on the African continent.”

Meaningful participation for BBBEE has also been catered for in the shareholding structure in line with South Africa’s transformation agenda, which is fully supported by both Sasol and Enaex.

Minero Diesel to distribute TES’ SPARTA utility vehicles in Mexico

Sudbury, Ontario-based Total Equipment Services (TES) has entered into a distribution agreement that will see Minero Diesel become the exclusive distributor of SPARTA utility vehicles in Mexico.

The SPARTA product distribution range includes scissor lifts, boom trucks, ANFO loaders, lubrication trucks, as well as multi-application and custom-design support vehicles.

TES says it views the South America underground mining market as an important part of the company’s growth plan, and believes SPARTA’s simple and high-quality design is a “perfect fit for a mining market whose underground operations and focus on safety continues to grow steadily”.

TES selected Minero Diesel as a distributor for its reputation in the sales, rental and repair of equipment for underground mining, it said. Founded in 1992, Minero Diesel is known as a dedicated distributor of underground mining equipment, TES said. It is currently a distributor for Komatsu and provides parts and services to the OEM’s customers.

Kevin Whynott, President of TES, said: “We are committed to both quality products and customer support. In order to expand our footprint into Latin America, we wanted to partner with a company whose aftermarket, sales support and company trained technical support were aligned with our vision.”