Following its attendance at the recent International Society of Explosives Engineers event in the USA city of Savannah, Georgia, last month, Neil Alberts, Head of Business Development at BME Mining Canada, has highlighted the high level of creative innovation in blasting on show.
“The industry has definitely made the most of addressing the challenges presented by the pandemic – really raising its game in terms of technology solutions,” Alberts said. “These advances are important in strengthening the mining supply chain globally, while continuing to promote productivity, efficiency and sustainability.
“While many of the market’s offerings had been introduced at previous ISEE conferences, there was more confidence in their capabilities this year and a better likelihood of uptake. Some smaller vendors – from as far afield as South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and European countries – also presented more open platforms, making these easier to integrate with other solutions.”
According to Christiaan Liebenberg, BME’s Product Manager Software, this year’s event was also a chance for BME to demonstrate their digital tools that enhance its ability to integrate with its digital product suite.
“This included our BlastMap blast design software and our Xplolog data capturing system, as well as our advances in digitising our emulsion trucks,” he said. “It was an important opportunity to show our integration capabilities and our offerings throughout the blast preparation value chain.”
He noted that there had been enthusiastic adoption of BlastMap in the last couple of years, as the market had grown more familiar with its ease of use, integration capability and powerful features. There has also been a significant shift towards strategic collaboration within the digital space, as many players realise the value of sharing aspects of their expertise in the interests of better customer products and solutions.
“In addition to sharing our insights, the ISEE continues to be an important forum for BME to learn more about leading edge developments and to identify potential partners in our technology journey,” he said.
Alberts highlighted that BME has developed specific requirements based on its customer mapping, and seeks out strategic alliances with partners to fulfil the technological opportunities it had identified for success.
BME’s Global Manager Blasting Science, D Scott Scovira, presented a paper on “Breaking the Nitrate Based Explosives Greenhouse – The Dawn of Production Scale Hydrogen Peroxide Emulsion (HPE) for Industrial Blasting” in the ISEE technical sessions. Scovira noted that this year’s technical presentations included more papers by primary researchers and consultants – giving the event a valuable proportion of fundamental research to augment those papers which were more application or product focused.
“The ISEE is a very focused and concentrated conference of blasting professionals,” he emphasised. “This is why BME management and leadership attends this event, to get closer to the end-user and to stay up to date with their changing needs.”
ISEE delegates visiting BME’s exhibition booth were also able to catch up on the company’s developments in North American markets. Alberts said BME was well advanced in preparing for its service contract with a gold miner in Canada, having commissioned its on-site emulsion plant.
“Our exciting infrastructure development is the BME Centre of Excellence outside the town of Nairn Centre, where we have completed our detonator plants,” he said. “Our AXXIS and Viperdet modular lines are now installed and commissioned, and production is to begin shortly.”
An emulsion plant has been completed on the site, with a second being relocated there from another location in Sudbury. The plans for a hydrogen peroxide emulsion plant are also underway. BME Mining Canada is a joint venture of BME and Canada-based mining and construction contractor Consbec.
“With our staff count now at almost 50, we are leveraging our assets and the industry relationships of our strategic partner in building our networks,” he said. “This year is going to be game changing for us, as we step up our capability in the underground space.”