Tag Archives: Blasting

Austin Powder completes record E*STAR blast at Queensland coal mine

Austin Powder says it has completed a record blast using its E*STAR Electronic Blasting System Remote 2.5.

The blast occurred at a large coal mine in Queensland, Australia, back on June 30, which is serviced by distributor Platinum Blasting Services.

A total of 3,630 electronic detonators were consumed in the blast – a global record volume of electronic detonators fired in a single blast for Austin Powder, it said.

Four E*STAR Remote 2.5 Blast Boxes were used to connect to and synchronously fire the 3,630 E*STAR electronic detonators inside 2,133 blast holes, loaded with a total of 437,385 kg of bulk explosives.

The Remote 2.5 system has the capability of synchronously firing up to eight Remote Blast Boxes, each with 1,600 detonators connected, enabling a total of 12,800 detonators to be fired in a single blast, according to the company.

Christine Grealy, Senior Technical Engineer, Platinum Blasting Services, said: “I greatly appreciate the efforts of the Platinum Blasting crew, especially Ben Faulkner as Shotfirer in Charge, Grant Merriman Shotfirer (2nd), and Walker Seccombe as Shift Site Supervisor. They all did a superb job ensuring such a large blast was successful.”

Campbell Robertson, Global Manager – Electronic Initiation Systems, said: “This record blast is a testament to the dedicated efforts of our research and development resources, field engineers, and technicians in bringing to our customer a system and solution that meets (and in some cases exceeds) our customer’s and end user’s needs.

“Congratulations to Christine Grealy and her team at Platinum Blasting Services, that were instrumental in making this blast record a reality – the quality of the best practices applied can clearly be seen in the ‘textbook example’ blast video. We look forward to collaborating with our distributors and customers in firing larger and larger blasts to fully utilise the system’s capacity.”

Blasting’s role in making mining more sustainable

Blasting technology – alongside advanced low carbon emission emulsion explosives – is helping pave the way on mining’s sustainability journey, according to BME.

“The digital age has given us the opportunity to leverage the quality of our people, products and service – to optimise blast technology,” BME Managing Director, Ralf Hennecke, says. “Building on the flexibility and accuracy of electronic detonation, our digital tools can make mining more efficient and less carbon intensive.”

By collaborating with customers and technology partners, BME says it has developed solutions that can enhance output and are easily integrated – both between BME’s digital products and externally.

Hennecke emphasised that software platform integration was key to ensuring innovative digital tools could operate seamlessly with a mine’s existing systems.

An innovation that has received global attention is BME’s electronic detonation system, AXXIS. Developed by an in-house team of specialists, AXXIS improves the quality of blasts and mine productivity.

Tinus Brits, Global Product Manager for AXXIS, says: “The entire system was designed in South Africa and built by our own engineering department. All the support and maintenance on the system is conducted by our dedicated in-house technicians.”

Applied in conjunction with BME’s Blastmap blast planning software, AXXIS demonstrates the value of product integration, BME says. Complex blast designs can be easily and quickly transferred from the Blastmap planning platform to the AXXIS initiation platform. Brits noted that Blastmap can also export to third-party initiation systems that a mining customer might already be using.

Among the capabilities that BME has brought to the mining sector are longer blasting windows to allow for larger and more productive blasts.

“The increased firing window of AXXIS Titanium – the latest generation of the AXXIS system – gives mines the opportunity to conduct larger blasts,” Brits said.

The company can also design more complex blasts.

The quality of these blasts ensures better fragmentation, so that less energy is consumed in downstream stages like loading, hauling, crushing and milling. Less energy converts directly to lower carbon emissions when coal- or diesel-fired electricity is used. Larger blasts also mean fewer mine stoppages, facilitating a more streamlined mining process.

“Safety remains a key focus in mining, and a safe mine is a productive mine,” Brits said. “Our digital initiation systems innovate constantly to raise the level of safety in blasting – such as the dual basis of safety in our latest AXXIS Titanium system.”

These safety improvements build on the high-level safety of emulsions when compared with Class 1 explosives. Emulsions are inert until sensitised in the blast hole, so can be more safely transported and stored.

BME’s emulsions also contribute to environmental protection through their inclusion of used oil as a fuel agent. The company has developed a large collection network for used oil, which responsibly transports waste oil from users for its production process. After being incorporated into the emulsion, the used oil is safely disposed of when the emulsion explodes.

So extensive is this network that BME today collects around 20% of South Africa’s used oil, it says.

Sachin Govender, BME’s Used Oil Manager, said: “By using this waste oil in our emulsions, we are eliminating the use of diesel, which is a high carbon source. This plays a positive role in helping our mining customers achieve their ESG goals.”

Where customers have their used oil collected by BME, the initiative delivers a double benefit, according to Govender. On the one hand, it deals responsibly with a waste product that presents an environmental risk; on the other, it reduces the need for diesel as a fuel agent.

“There is also a positive social impact from our used oil initiative,” he said. “We engage small enterprises to collect the oil, which has an economic ripple effect in local communities.”

BME now has about a dozen approved suppliers across South Africa, according to Govender, which have created around 300 job opportunities.

“As we empower small businesses to create an income from this waste, we are conserving the environment while also promoting social upliftment,” he said.

Orica’s hardware and software platforms converging for Mining 4.0

Orica’s corporate vision of “mobilising Earth’s resources in a sustainable way” is being further realised through a host of developments from its Digital Solutions and Blasting Technologies divisions, IM reports.

Those involved in charging operations could soon benefit from the launch of Orica and Epiroc’s Avatel™ solution, which, in combination with the WebGen™ wireless initiation platform, offers the ability to remotely blast a development face.

At the same time, the company is busy with the sustainable production of emulsion, the integration of geological orebody information to optimise energy use for blasting, and the expansion of downstream mineral processing tools.

Avatel

Avatel is a combination of state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions designed to mechanise the blasting process.

It includes Orica’s HandiLoader™ emulsion process body, Epiroc’s M2C carrier integrating an RCS 5 control system with Orica’s LOADPlus™ control system, a WebGen 200 wireless initiation system and an automated WebGen magazine. Epiroc has also incorporated onboard dewatering and lifter debris clearing capability, while Orica’s SHOTPlus™ intelligent blast design software is leveraged to deliver superior blasting outcomes, Orica says.

Orica and Epiroc’s advanced technologies integrated into the Avatel system

These components help eliminate the need for personnel exposure at the development face throughout the charging stage of the mining cycle, keeping personnel out of the line of fire, by substituting inherently high hazard manual tasks with a mechanised development charging solution.

A prototype Avatel unit is set to commence operations at Agnico Eagle Mining’s Kittilä gold mine in Finland in the next few months. This follows “alpha trialling” of the complete prototype unit at Epiroc’s Nacka test mine in Stockholm, Sweden.

Adam Mooney, Vice President of Blasting Technology for Orica, said: “Our goal for Kittilä is to expose Avatel to a real mining environment, putting the unit through its paces in an active mine where safety, productivity and reliability are core requirements for success.

“We will gain a practical understanding of how Avatel will fit in with and benefit the entire mining cycle, while also taking the opportunity to measure the blasting improvements possible through the combined use of electronic initiation timing and the precise blast energy control available with Avatel.”

A separate unit, meanwhile, will head to Newcrest Mining’s Cadia copper-gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, later this year, for the first commercial deployment. This is currently undergoing pre-delivery commissioning at Epiroc’s customer centre in Burnie, Tasmania.

Cyclo

Not too far away in Papua New Guinea, Orica has successfully commissioned a Cyclo™ emulsion technology unit, which has been running at a customer site for around two months, according to Mooney. The unit in question has treated in excess of 100,000 litres of used oil, he said.

Cyclo combines the company’s emulsion technology with used oil processing technology to transform mine-site used oil for application in explosives. To provide the tight quality control and regular testing required to manufacture emulsions with such inputs, Orica has partnered with CreatEnergy to develop a standalone, on-site solution to treat used oil.

Orica initially scheduled Cyclo for market introduction in late 2022, but it scaled and sped up development and production plans to support customers’ operations and curtail material disruptions brought about by COVID-19.

The first automated containerised used oil recycling system was commissioned in Ghana late in 2021, with the Papua New Guinea unit being the latest deployment.

Cyclo – containerised, automated used oil recycling service at a customer site in Ghana, Africa

A Senegal Cyclo debut is on track for July given the unit is already in country and connected into the emulsion plant on site, Mooney explained.

The company also plans to bring to market a Cyclo unit suitable for Arctic conditions by the end of this year, with the solution already under construction.

Data to insights to intelligence

Aside from hardware and sustainable emulsion solutions, Orica has recently signed an agreement with Microsoft Azure predicated on creating data-rich and artificial intelligence-infused tools that enable productivity, safety and sustainability benefits on site, with Raj Mathiravedu, Vice President of Digital Solutions, saying such a tie-up enables the company to think of the blasting value chain in a much more holistic manner.

“Orica Digital Solutions’ purpose is to develop and deliver a suite of integrated workflow tools to enable the corporate vision of mobilising Earth’s resources in a sustainable way,” he said. “A key attribute to delivering this workflow is the journey that we need to incorporate from data to insights to intelligence.”

Mathiravedu says the company is looking to go beyond the traditional solutions pairing software and IoT devices for a discrete product to – with the help of Microsoft Azure capabilities – building “answer products” focused on improving workflows.

“These workflows can benefit from understanding how geology within the orebody intelligence space can help us determine the optimised energy required for blasting in a real-time production workflow,” he said. “We have started this journey and are already delivering value to our customers by integrating workflows from orebody to processing.”

One example of this is the company’s FRAGTrack™ suite of solutions, devised to provide blast fragmentation data with auto-analysis capability.

Delivered as part of the company’s BlastIQ Digital Optimisation Platform, FRAGTrack is able to capture real-time fragmentation measurement data for optimising drill and blast operations, improving downstream productivity and tracking of operational performance.

Originally developed for measurements on both face shovels and conveyors, the solution was expanded earlier this year with the launch of FRAGTrack Crusher for automated pre-crusher fragmentation measurements.

FRAGTrack Crusher installation at Stevenson Aggregates

There are several vendors offering fragmentation measurement tools throughout the industry, but Mathiravedu says Orica’s solution can carry out such analysis consistently and accurately – day or night – in extremely dusty and dynamic environments like mining.

“The FRAGTrack image processing technology can handle extremely dusty and lighting-affected conditions beyond any solutions in the industry,” Mathiravedu said. “It is also able to learn and adapt to specific operational environments like the dumping habits of different truck operators using artificial intelligence technology. Together with the integration with fleet management systems, it can provide a fully autonomous and integrated measurement solution.”

On conveyors, the FRAGTrack solution can reliably measure fines with increased accuracy compared with conventional systems that leverage curve-fit algorithms, according to Mathiravedu, with the advanced image and 3D processing techniques providing the ability to measure fragments down to 5 mm in size.

The combination of FRAGTrack Conveyor and Orica’s ORETrack™ solution can provide not only particle size distribution information, but also critical information on ore grade and hardness for the milling operations in real time.

“The FRAGTrack platform architecture has been designed to be scalable to incorporate different sensor inputs along with its high-performance GPU compute capabilities,” Mathiravedu said, explaining that there could be further analysis solutions down the line.

Glencore’s Lomas Bayas mine to start automation journey with production drill rigs

Glencore’s Compañía Minera Lomas Bayas (CMLB) copper mine in northern Chile is looking to maintain its safety and sustainability standards, as well as increase its productivity and profitability, with a new project to automate two of its Caterpillar drill rigs using FLANDERS technology.

Glencore Lomas Bayas is a low-cost, open-pit copper mine in the Atacama Desert, 120 km northeast of the port of Antofagasta. The low-grade copper ore mined at this facility is processed by heap leaching and converted to copper cathode after processing through the SX-EW plant. The Lomas Bayas operation produces approximately 75,000 t/y of copper cathode.

The first phase in the Glencore digital mining journey at Lomas Bayas will be completed using FLANDERS’ ARDVARC technology and involves automating two Caterpillar drill rigs and providing a dedicated wireless network. The results obtained in the initial phase will provide essential information to continue the journey to full automation of mining equipment across the operation, Glencore and FLANDERS say.

The project is significant as Lomas Bayas will be the first operation to adopt intelligent drill technology globally in Glencore mining operations. Conversion of the Cat drills and wireless network installation is expected to be completed in June 2023.

The ARDVARC Autonomous system has been used for over 15 years, enables advanced functionality through interoperability with fleet management systems and other data acquisition platforms, and is agnostic to original equipment manufacturers, FLANDERS says.

Lomas Bayas’ General Manager, Pablo Carvallo, said: “Incorporating technology into equipment is our response to constant changes that mining operations face; as in the case of Lomas Bayas, where everyday challenges must be dealt with in an even safer and more productive way. We want digital mining efforts to expand over time and educate industry of our learnings and support technology development in our region.”

Lomas Bayas’ Mine Manager, Felipe Bunout, said: “This initiative is in line with our core objectives; to provide a safer environment for our workers and increase productivity in our processes. This technology will allow us to increase the equipment utilisation and the precision of the drilling pattern and improve the quality of the blasting process and the whole process downstream. This initial phase is the first step for Lomas Bayas into mine equipment automation, and we have high hopes that the results will enable us to continue walking down this path.”

This is the first of many Glencore Copper group technological initiatives seeking to modernise, transform and align the business to stakeholder’s requirements and priorities, according to Glencore’s Operational Excellence & Technology Global General Manager, Cristian Carrasco.

Glencore’s Technology Study Manager, Enrique Caballero, added: “We decided to commence the automation program at Lomas Bayas as the operation has shown high adaptability and organisational maturity. Their executive team has a well-built long-term view. The operation vision is strongly aligned with digital mines and technology as a path forward, in which safety, sustainability and their workforce life qualities are part of the pillars.”

FLANDERS Regional Director, Martin Schafer, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Glencore at its Lomas Bayas operation. Given its low grade, CMBL is a compelling business case. To the well-known value, FLANDERS’ ADS solution generates for a mining operation in general, and the drilling process, the relatively short overall implementation time adds a financial dimension that happened to be critical to obtaining the required return on investment. The technology also brings environmental gains.

“ARDVARC autonomous drills have shown a 7.3% reduction in fuel compared to manned drills, which is a reduction of about 1,200 litres of fuel per year, equivalent to 2,966 t less CO2 in the atmosphere.”

FLANDERS’ autonomous control system, ARDVARC, and Command Centre technology is industry-leading, helping mining companies improve drill performance and keep people safe, the company says.

Typically, the ARDVARC system produces increases in productivity by up to 30%, providing greater drill accuracy and the ability for one person to operate up to eight drills. Including technology in the ARDVARC Command Centre (ACC) builds on remote working capabilities to unlock additional value, such as enhancing decision making by integrating functions across the value chain.

Although not a new concept, products like the ACC present an opportunity for Glencore’s Lomas Bayas mine to re-imagine and reform the mine operations, as remote working becomes imperative to ensuring value and sustainability.

Schafer added: “When fully automated, the drills that we will be converting in Chile will also be safer for workers, who will operate the drills well away from the drill and blast areas. The mission-critical dedicated network and the 24/7 support provided in the scope round-up an extremely reliable solution.”

Lomas Bayas, last year, announced it would become the first user in Chile of Komatsu’s 930E-5 304 t class haul trucks, matching with its existing Komatsu P&H 4100XPC shovels.

Orica’s 4D bulk explosives tech gains traction in Australia

Having launched its 4D™ bulk explosives technology at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, in September, Orica is now demonstrating the innovation to coal customers on Australia’s East Coast.

The 4D bulk system enables the real-time tailoring of explosives energy to geology across a blast, delivering improvements in fragmentation, on-bench productivity and an overall reduction in drill and blast costs, according to Orica. It is designed to enable customers to, the company says, seamlessly match a greater range of explosives energy across a mine’s geology and target specific blast outcomes in real time.

Back in September, the company said the first release of 4D would begin with Australia from the end of 2021, and it appears Orica has stuck with that schedule.

“We are happy to share that, in Australia, we are currently demonstrating 4D to customers in the East Coast’s coal mines, each with a unique focus to their needs,” the company told IM. “For example, with one customer, we are demonstrating how 4D technology can reduce their overall drill and blast cost through lower explosives consumption, as well as better manage vibration in specific areas of their operation.”

With another customer, Orica is applying the 4D technology to its Fortis™ Clear range of bulk explosive products – formulated for use in applications where the generation of post-blast fume could be experienced – to demonstrate the reduction of fume risk in soft and wet ground, it added.

The technology is also being developed across Orica’s Fortan™ and Aquacharge™ bulk systems but will eventually be applied across Orica’s full suite of bulk systems.

4D is being delivered to these customers through Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMU™) equipped with LOADPlus™, Orica’s proprietary in-cab smart explosives delivery control system that, it says, enables accurate and efficient delivery of formulated explosives products to plan.

By combining emulsion blended with ammonium nitrate porous prills, 4D supports both pumped and augered loading methods across dry, wet and dewatered hole conditions. An outcome of this capability is greater on-bench productivity by Orica’s fleet of 4D-enabled, without the need to change raw materials in the MMU, Orica says.

Delivering up to 23% more relative bulk strength for hard-rock applications and up to 43% reduction in soft-rock applications, 4D will enable a broader range of applications, according to Orica.

Orica said in its half-year results to the end of March 31, 2022 that it was expecting to roll out the 4D technology to more sites in the second half of its financial year.

BME to showcase AXXIS Titanium electronic initiation system at Mining Indaba

Omnia Group company, BME is set to showcase its breakthrough electronic initiation system, AXXIS Titanium, at next week’s Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa.

Globally launched in November last year, AXXIS Titanium is one of the world’s most advanced electronic blast detonation systems, the company says.

BME Marketing Manager, Michelle Fedder, says the wide international audience at the Indaba will be inspired by the advanced features of this electronic detonator system.

“Buoyed by strong commodity demand, mines in Africa nonetheless face a range of compliance demands in terms of sustainability – and are constantly in search of efficiency solutions,” she said. “AXXIS Titanium, in concert with BME’s ongoing innovations across its offerings, is helping mines drive down their energy costs and carbon footprint.”

She said AXXIS Titanium boasts improved safety levels enhancing communication with the detonator during manufacturing to avoid defects. Performance is raised through the increased blast duration per detonator, more units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy.

Safety remains BME’s priority, with the incorporation of a Swiss-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip in BME detonators, delivering several added benefits. The ASIC gives the system more internal safety gates against stray current and lightning, enhancing safety levels and allowing for inherently safe logging and testing, according to the company.

“With our sustainability-aligned offerings, we are feeling very enthusiastic about the mining industry and its prospects – especially as it forges the commodity path to a lower-carbon future,” Fedder said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Investing in African Mining Indaba, which is running from May 9-12.

Orica sticks with growth predictions as it completes Minova sale

Orica has completed the sale of its Minova business to the Aurelius Group for A$180 million ($131 million), with A$149 million of cash received at completion factoring in debt and “debt-like items”, as well as confirmed expectations that its first half performance is likely to representing year-on-year growth.

The company announced the planned sale of its rock reinforcement business back in December 2021, with the deal completed on February 28.

Orica additionally said that its first-half 2022 financial year performance, as previously announced at the 2021 full year results in November 2021, was expected to be stronger than the prior corresponding period (pcp). This, it said, reflects the positive momentum leading into the year associated with improved global commodity markets, which will result in volume growth in line with global GDP growth.

“Pricing discipline in contract negotiations is expected to broadly mitigate rising input costs and pass-through lags,” it explained. “Security of supply for Orica’s customers remains a priority in a tightening global ammonium nitrate market due to geopolitical issues and supply chain disruptions, which will result in increased trade working capital.”

All continuous manufacturing plants have been operating to required available capacity as determined by market demand, Orica said, and two planned turnarounds had been completed in the half year to date, namely the Carseland site-wide turnaround, which commenced in September 2021, was completed in October 2021; and the Yarwun turnarounds for two nitric acid plants, one ammonium nitrate plant and the emulsion manufacturing plant were all successfully completed in November 2021.

Orica Managing Director and CEO, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “We’ve been able to maintain the positive momentum from the second half last year and remain on track to deliver a stronger first half than the prior corresponding period.

“With our refreshed strategy firmly in place, we are focussed on progressing on our four key business verticals and are well placed to leverage our strengths and seize opportunities in a tightening global market, while continuing to streamline the business.”

Austin Powder looks to improve the blast initiation process with E*STAR RFID tagging

Austin Powder, an industrial explosives and engineered blasting solutions provider, has announced the release of its new E*STAR Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging technology to improve flexibility and time savings.

RFID technology makes it possible to identify the detonator without physical contact between the logger and the detonator, according to Austin Powder.

The company said: “Austin Powder is committed to continuously improving all its products and is proud to introduce RFID as the latest edition to the E*STAR Electronic Initiation System. Benefits of RFID detonator tagging include flexibility and time savings. In one operation, the use of RFID resulted in a 50% time savings over traditional direct connect programming.

“E*STAR RFID allows blasters greater flexibility on when to log holes, assign detonator timing and test detonators or branch circuit verification. Blasters can also choose to assign timing to the detonators after holes are loaded and tested for continuity.”

The RFID feature is a much quicker process than direct contact logging or any other detonator programming method, according to Austin. All required detonator information is right where it is needed, but, with RFID tagging, the logger display will still show all the necessary details about the detonator, and one logger can tag up to 1,600 detonators.

Unlike standard barcode labels, harsh field conditions do not impact the effectiveness of the RFID labels, Austin claims. Cold temperatures, snow, muddy or emulsion-covered labels, or even heavy rain will not comprise the data embedded in the RFID label, making it the most reliable product on the market, it added.

Campbell Robertson, Global Manager Electronic Initiation, said: “Our latest addition of RFID as a logging option offers select customers the ability to rapidly extract our E*STAR electronic detonator’s critical information used to assign a delay, right from the RFID tag. The RFID tag works in any conditions, whether in direct sunlight or the low light underground, wet or muddy, even emulsion covered conditions. What’s more, the RFID tag and the data stored within it cannot be degraded by solvents.”

3GSM tackles drill comms, pattern analysis in latest BlastMetriX UAV blasting software update

3GSM GmbH, a developer of software to optimise blasting and reduce inherent environmental issues, has announced several updates to its flagship BlastMetriX UAV software that, the company says, improves communication with smart drills, offers face profiling enhancements and delivers more sophisticated drill pattern analysis.

Robert McClure, President of Robert A McClure (RAM) Inc of Powell, Ohio, an international blast and engineering consulting firm that provides service, support and training for BlastMetriX UAV, said: “3GSM works closely with its blasting customers to adapt to new challenges faced in the field and improve blast optimisation. Customers with an active update licence automatically receive these new features inside the BlastMetriX software, or they can be ordered separately.”

The enhanced drill pattern analysis tool provides heat mapping of drilled borehole deviations for simple visualisation of differences between “as planned” and “as drilled” patterns, while semi-automatic mapping of linear rock mass features is imported into the blast plan. By providing enhanced burden and spacing information, the software allows users to adjust explosive amounts in each borehole to account for irregularities, according to the company. “This is a great tool for a company’s key performance indicator program,” McClure said. “The software captures information from each blast and allows users to go back and review historical data to correct issues in the field.”

Updates to the IREDES (International Rock Excavation Data Exchange Standard) interface improves two-way data communication between BlastMetriX UAV and smart drills. It now allows for import of measure for drilling data like drill penetration rate and air pressure to map the subsurface geology of the borehole. At a quick glance, the software shows the geology and burdens from borehole top to bottom out to the free face. The program is compatible with all major drilling equipment manufacturers, according to the company.

Incorporating the ShapeMetriX system for generating and assessing 3D images, new geological mapping integration allows users to better visualise dips, strikes, seams and voids throughout the drilling pattern. The software can characterise irregularities in the face, which are projected back through the borehole. This allows for more precise loading of the borehole and improves blast safety.

In another update, the underground volumetric measurements tool inside ShapeMetriX now provides the determination of precise volumes in a “generalised” manner, based off captured subsequent tunnel faces and perimeters.

With the aid of aerial targets or standard BlastMetriX targets as reference points, the software imports images from a calibrated DSLR camera or unmanned aerial vehicles to quickly, safely and accurately capture 3D face profiles for enhanced visualisation of the blast area. Multiple data-rich overlapping images generate hundreds of thousands of data points for accurately characterising typography of the surveyed area and creating a 3D face profile.

BlastMetriX UAV gives technicians the confidence the blast will perform as designed to mitigate fly-rock issues, high air overpressures, excessive vibration, poor fragmentation, sub-par cast, loss of grade control and wall damage, the company says.

“Through blast design optimisation using BlastMetriX UAV, operations can realise significant benefits including improved fragmentation, higher crusher throughput and lower drilling man power requirements,” 3GSM said. “The scalable BlastMetriX UAV software allows companies to integrate as much or as little technology as required.”

BME’s achieves another record-breaking blast with AXXIS Titanium electronic detonators

Another record-breaking blast has been notched up by Omnia Group company BME using its latest generation AXXIS Titanium™ electronic detonation system.

The blast of 5,209 detonators was conducted recently at a chrome mine in South Africa’s North West province, according to Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager – AXXIS. Brits highlighted how the enhanced features of AXXIS Titanium allows mines to respond quickly and easily to raised production demands.

“While a record blast is always an achievement to be celebrated, this was a standard production blast requiring nothing different or extra from the mine,” he said. “The ease-of-use of AXXIS Titanium, the speed at which blasts can be prepared, and its rapid testing features make this possible.”

The dual-voltage basis of the new system means that detonators can be tested while they are logged in, with the logging and testing conducted as a single function. As a result, this record blast could be primed, charged, tied-up, logged, tested and programmed in just two days.

“With AXXIS Titanium, the logger does everything for you,” Brits said. Multiple loggers were used on the blast, with each operator logging a portion of the blast to speed up the process; the log files were then seamlessly combined.

By consuming less energy, AXXIS Titanium allows up to 1,000 detonators to be initiated by each blasting box – reducing the amount of equipment that is needed on site.

“This helps improve the reliability of blasts, as there are fewer items of equipment to communicate with each other,” Brits said. “These high levels of reliability ensure a quality blast with no misfires, even in single-prime blasts – where there is just one detonator per hole – as was the case in this record blast.”

He also emphasised the intuitive fault-finding capacity of the AXXIS Titanium system, which identifies those detonators which have not been logged onto the harness wire. The operator is informed precisely where the relevant detonator is to be found, so it can be quickly logged.

“It also solves the problem of ‘intruders’ – those detonators that were accidentally missed during the logging process,” Brits said. “Again, the operator can speedily fix this issue wherever it occurs, ensuring that there are no misfires in the blast.”

The design of the AXXIS Titanium connector is another important factor, allowing blasters to log and test detonators without the need to open the connector. The gel in the connector that ensures a good seal, therefore, is not disturbed during testing and logging.

“It only gets opened up once you connect it to the surface wire, which is why the sealing of our connectors is so good – eradicating resistance or leakage on the block,” Brits said.