Tag Archives: BME

BME reflects on explosives market developments following ISEE conference attendance

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.”

Omnia and Hypex Bio to showcase HPE-based explosive benefits at ISEE conference

The potential of hydrogen peroxide emulsion (HPE) to reduce explosives emissions will come under the spotlight at the upcoming 50th Conference of the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) in USA.

In a paper to be presented jointly by Omnia group company BME and strategic partner Hypex Bio Explosives Technology (Hypex Bio), the authors will explain the benefits of HPE in reducing atmospheric and aqueous pollutants associated with blasting. Titled ‘Breaking the Nitrate-Based Explosives Greenhouse: The Dawn of Production-Scale HPE for Industrial Blasting’, the presentation is expected to generate considerable interest among blasting professionals meeting in Savannah, Georgia, USA from January 24-27.

“The past decade has seen renewed interest in HPE as a route to eliminating NOx fumes from blasting,” D Scott Scovira, BME’s Global Manager Blasting Science and Engineering, said. “As more companies have committed to the COP26 goals of Net Zero by 2050, there has been additional impetus to investigate hydrogen peroxide based explosives for industrial use.”

Scovira highlighted that HPE contains no nitrates and does not generate post-blast NOx. It also generates no aqueous nitrate or ammonia pollution, so also contributes to meeting increasingly regulated mine site water discharge limits.

Hypex Bio has recently developed the formulation, manufacture and end-use delivery of a hydrogen peroxide based emulsion on an industrial scale. According to Thomas Gustavsson, CEO of Hypex Bio, in Stockholm, Sweden, this emulsion is composed primarily of hydrogen peroxide, with a lesser amount of fuel and emulsifier phase. The performance of HPE has proved to be as good as nitrate-based emulsions, and is compatible with current priming and initiation systems, according to the company.

“We recently conducted a successful underground HPE evaluation with a major mining company in Sweden,” Gustavsson said. “HPE blast designs were the same as those done with nitrate-based emulsions, and we achieved equivalent rock breakage, advance, muck displacement and excavator performance.”

He added that the ventilation and re-entry times were reduced during this evaluation, due to the absence of hazardous fumes. The mining company has expressed further interest in assessing HPE as a transformative explosive technology. Gustavsson also highlighted that the production of HPE was energy efficient.

“The base HPE is produced in a low energy intensity modular plant using industry proven mixing techniques,” he explained. “In contrast, the production of ammonium nitrate (AN) emulsion is relatively energy-intensive and not carbon neutral.”

HPE offers a significant reduction in total carbon emission when compared with nitrate-based explosives, he continued. Based on the European Union average and for the oxidiser phase only, 1 kg of AN emulsion emits 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide; in comparison, the production of HPE results in just 0.23 kg of carbon dioxide – a 90% difference.

Omnia entered into its strategic partnership with Hypex Bio in October 2023, and holds a minority equity stake in the company.

BME promotes the use of dual salt blasting emulsions on ESG grounds

The safety and environmental advantages of dual salt emulsions are gaining more attention from the mining sector as companies pursue more ambitious environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, according to BME Global Product Manager, Dr Rakhi Pathak.

Pathak says dual salt emulsions have proven themselves as less harmful in terms of potential nitrate contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, they can be transported long distances and pumped multiple times before use, while still delivering the improved performance benefits, including high energy in a blast.

Pathak was delivering a technical paper at the 7th Drill & Blast Down Under conference in Queensland, hosted by the Australian chapter of the International Society of Explosives Engineers. She outlined the concept and constituents of emulsion explosives, its advantages over ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) and the different types of emulsions.

“In a single salt emulsion, only ammonium nitrate is used, whereas a dual salt emulsion could contain calcium nitrate or sodium nitrate,” she explained. “Urea is an organic compound which is also used in certain applications, such as reactive ground.”

She described methods of determining the quality of an emulsion through microscopy, where large droplets indicate that the emulsion is ageing and showing signs of crystallisation. While ammonium nitrate salt can promote crystallisation, the use of calcium nitrate – which has crystals that are more cubic in shape – can reduce the potential for crystallisation and considerably extend the life of the emulsion.

“Cold emulsion is manufactured at just 65ºC – considerably lower than the 85ºC used for single salt emulsion,” she said. “This has energy-saving benefits as less heat is required.”

The lower temperatures mean that the emulsion does not require much time for cooling before it can be delivered to customers, which provides for an added efficiency benefit in the manufacturing and supply chain processes. Single salt emulsions produced at higher temperatures require extensive cooling periods which limit handling and transportation on demand, according to Dr Pathak.

Dr Rakhi Pathak - BME Global Product Manager
Dr Rakhi Pathak – BME Global Product Manager

Mines are also increasingly concerned about harmful gases that could be emitted during blasts. Dr Pathak highlighted how a careful balance of the oxidiser – the ammonium nitrate and calcium nitrate – and the fuel in an emulsion is necessary to ensure only harmless gases are generated. Where the balance is not optimal, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) fumes can be created. These toxic fumes can affect not just miners, but even communities in the proximity of mines where open-pit blasting is conducted.

“The chemical composition of dual salt emulsions can be easily optimised to minimise the generation of harmful gases,” she said.

Another important benefit of dual salt emulsions was in mitigating the risk of nitrate contamination from explosives. Mining companies have become more sensitive to this, as nitrates can leach into water and land, creating significant compliance risk in terms of mines’ environmental impact. Dual salt emulsions contain much lower levels of nitrate, Dr Pathak explained, reducing any harmful impact on surface or ground water.

Addressing a commonly held belief that single salt emulsions deliver greater energy in a blast, she explored the evidence to show that there was little if any difference between single and double salt emulsions in this respect.

“We studied the data produced by various alternative single salt emulsion systems in the market and found that it was in fact very difficult to compare results – as the software used is not common across users,” she told delegates. “The most effective way to test is in the field, using different suppliers’ products in the same blasting conditions.”

She also spoke about the challenges of blasting in reactive ground, where explosives can degrade in the blast hole or even detonate prematurely. Having only half the ammonium nitrate of a single salt product, she said a dual salt emulsion is more resistant to reactive ground conditions.

“Adding to this resistance is used oil as a fuel agent in emulsion – as well as BME’s specialised emulsifier,” Dr Pathak said. “Using this emulsion with added urea, blasters gain a safe window to load and shoot.”

She noted that the quantity of urea also needs to be determined with scientific accuracy, as too much urea can reduce the energy of a blast. Based on lab testing, she showed that adding 7.5% urea to the emulsion would reduce its energy values by about 6%.

In summary, she explained that the chemical benefits of double salt emulsions included its stability, its resistance to crystallisation, its oxygen balance and its lower risk of nitrate leaching. A useful case study to demonstrate these factors was BME’s shipping of 4,000 t of emulsion to the island of St Helena for use in a major civil engineering project. The emulsion faced up to 10 pumping cycles, extended periods of transportation on road and sea, and varied climatic conditions.

“Even after enduring these conditions, the product performed on site in line with customer expectations,” Dr Pathak concluded. “This showed that a double salt emulsion explosive can enhance the productivity of mining operations, including other sectors, while delivering the environmental benefits that miners are looking for.”

BME promotes smart, safe technology for loading blast holes

The productivity and safety of BME’s mobile manufacturing units (MMUs) is enhanced by smart technology, making real-time data available on the loading of bulk emulsion into blast holes, the company says.

Smart MMUs are a key aspect of BME’s automation efforts, which leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence. The company’s digital solutions, such as Xplolog and Xplocharge, can automate aspects of blast hole charging, including the real-time tracking of emulsion volumes being pumped on the bench by smart trucks.

“These volumes are monitored by on-vehicle equipment, which compares the planned volumes with the actual volumes required,” Nishen Hariparsad, BME General Manager of Technology and Marketing, explained. “This data can then be transmitted wirelessly to be stored and analysed in cloud platforms.”

The data lends itself to ongoing cost optimisation, and to ensuring that there is no wastage of resources in achieving the optimal blast result. Truck performance can also be measured by digital telemetry through internet of things devices. This functionality improves productivity, maintenance control, product quality and asset use. The safe and smart loading technology of BME’s MMU’s is made possible at its specialised in-house assembly and fabrication facility in South Africa, where BME has built more than 200 MMUs.

The company is constantly evolving and improving its smart technology, and recently released a new version of its Xplolog system for capturing and analysing data on blast holes and decks. The performance of this version is enhanced with design and application code built from the ground up, and with a new and upgraded database using Google’s Cloud Services.

The installation of this technology on MMUs helps mines to monitor their block progress in real time and allows the quality of blasts to be continuously improved to provide sustainable outcomes for BME’s customers, the company says. Together with BMEs digitally smart MMUs and loading solution, a seamless integration of on-bench digital technology and electronic initiation systems also make an important contribution to controlled blasting, which prevents risks like vibration and fly-rock, further preventing poor blast outcomes, it added.

Omnia Holdings backs Hypex Bio non-nitrate explosive emulsions solution

Omnia Holdings has announced a strategic partnership with Sweden-based Hypex Bio Explosives Technology and the acquisition of a minority equity stake in the company.

Hypex is at the forefront of innovative and sustainable civil explosives solutions and has developed a ground-breaking emulsion using hydrogen peroxide (HP), offering substantially enhanced environmental benefits compared with conventional products, the company says.

This collaboration marks a significant milestone for both Omnia and Hypex as it will notably enhance the ongoing development and commercial rollout of Hypex’s HP emulsion technology in key markets. Additionally, it provides Omnia, the parent company of global blasting solutions provider BME, with access to state-of-the-art technology.

Omnia, in conjunction with BME, has established a reputation for its dedication to innovation and market-driven product solutions. Extending its services across Africa, Australasia, North America and Brazil, BME offers cutting-edge products and services at every stage in the mining explosives and blasting solutions supply chain, using technology to maximise safety and minimise environmental impact.

Seelan Gobalsamy, CEO of Omnia, said: “Hypex is a good strategic fit for BME and aligns with Omnia’s sustainability and high-growth objectives, including pollution and CO2 reduction. Hypex has developed the first non-nitrate explosive emulsions in the market and reduced the carbon content by 90% over traditional sources. This technology has the potential to completely change the explosives supply industry.”

Ralf Hennecke, Managing Director of BME, said: “As one of the largest explosives and blasting solutions suppliers on the African continent, BME is pursuing a globalisation strategy which is optimally aligned to the sustainable, nitrate-free emulsion technology offered by Hypex.”

Hypex’s experience in rapid yet safe development cycles, combined with the company’s proven track record in commercialisation activities, will use the proceeds from this transaction to further strengthen the organisation and invest in accelerated growth.

Thomas Gustavsson, CEO of Hypex, said: “We are thrilled to announce the partnership with Omnia, and I am very happy to have not only an ideal investor on board but also a company whose culture is well aligned with ours. I foresee significant synergies and accelerated accomplishments as a direct result. The team and I are grateful for the hard work done by both sides to accomplish this deal.”

This partnership agreement aligns seamlessly with Omnia’s capital allocation framework of adding new revenue streams in future high-growth international markets while maintaining a diversified and cash-generative business, improving the group’s competitive advantage and resilience given anticipated market changes, and aligning with its sustainability journey, it says.

Gobalsamy concluded: “As a responsible industry leader, we are committed to sustainable innovation and the responsible use of chemicals for the health, safety and well-being of our planet and its people. Our partnership with Hypex strengthens our ability to develop and distribute eco-friendly products and technologies and is testament to our purpose of creating a greener and safer future for all.”

BME formulates plan to tackle floc in blasting emulsion production

Omnia Group mining division company BME has been sharing its leading technical expertise at the 12th World Conference on Explosives and Blasting recently held in Dublin, Ireland, with a solution to eliminate ammonium nitrate (AN) coating agent residue – also called floc – during the production of emulsion causing a stir, it says.

Hosted by the European Federation of Explosives Engineers, the three-day conference drew over 500 delegates globally from among explosives users, manufacturers, drilling equipment operators, researchers and professionals involved in mining and construction.

Included in the Technical Development theme of the conference, the aforementioned paper was written and presented by Garfiansyah Rayes, Berbudi Utomo and Ngisomuddin of BME’s Indonesian office.

“We chose this topic because floc is a common challenge for emulsion producers in southern Asia, and compromises the performance of the final product,” Rayes, who is Technical Service Engineer at BME Indonesia, said. “The presence of floc within the oxidiser mixture poses significant risks to various aspects of our operations, including production, product quality, safety, environmental impact and customer satisfaction.”

For these reasons, the solution described in BME’s presentation raised considerable interest among conference delegates – as it could help to solve various related challenges, he noted. The methodology that the authors explain is not common in Southeast Asia in general, although it is well used in Europe and the US.

“The emulsion manufacturing process involves the blending of water, AN prill with coating agent, and other chemicals,” he explained. “In this process, a colloidal dispersion – or residual foam – forms on the surface of the melt tank, consisting of small particles, droplets and bubbles.”

If allowed to continue through the manufacturing process, the residual foam can affect final emulsion quality and performance – including reduced the value of velocity of detonation, according to BME Operations Manager, Ngisomuddin.

“To prevent this issue, the foam that accumulates on the surface of the transfer tank requires additional handling,” he said. “Previously, plant personnel had to manually skim off the residual foam, which raised safety concerns among customers. Furthermore, the collected foam must be treated as B3 hazardous waste by a licensed service provider to ensure responsible and legally compliant disposal. This process adds to the overall cost of emulsion production.”

To address the problem of floc, BME has developed a dispersal method that involves heating the AN coating agent residual to its melting point in the oxidiser tank. This causes the floc to dissolve into the oxidiser, resolving the issue of residue build-up.

“We tested how a plant could be re-engineered to eliminate floc generation during emulsion production, and researched two techniques,” Ngisomuddin said. “The technique we selected for implementation was melting with dispersal heat, followed by centrifugation.”

Rayes explained that, while dispersal heat is an effective technique for breaking down floc, it may not be sufficient to eliminate the residue. The melted floc may remain suspended in the emulsion and, if not removed, can potentially lead to issues in downstream processes.

“To overcome this condition, a high-speed centrifuge was used to separate the larger floc particles on the surface of the mixture,” he said. Through the process developed by BME, Rayes said that between 16-17 t of waste per year has been eliminated.

Tom Dermody, International Technology and Field Services Manager at BME, pointed out that the innovative solution to deal with floc in emulsion production was also strongly driven by BME’s environmental, social and governance commitment. With its strong in-house technical capability, the team aimed for ways to improve the product while making it safer to handle and reduce its potential impact on the environment.

“The result of this work is that our people are not exposed to hazardous gases, for instance, and we reduce the waste that the process produces,” he said. “We are pleased to be able to share these developments in the interests of supporting the progressive improvement of practices in the industry.”

BME recently finalised a joint venture agreement with Multi Nitrotama Kimia (MNK), Indonesia’s leading explosives producer. The two companies have already successfully partnered in a five-year contract for blasting services at a mine in Kalimantan, which has led to the commissioning of BME’s first mobile process units and emulsion plant outside of the African continent.

BME upgrades VIPERDET MS Series non-electric detonator range

BME, an Omnia Group company, has introduced an improved version of its non-electric detonator product range, the VIPERDET™ MS Series, into the quarrying and small-scale open-pit mining sector.

The VIPERDET MS Series boasts quality and reliability leveraged from automated production lines and a certified supply chain, it says.

“We have over the years invested considerably in our production technology, giving us automated processes that enhance safety, sustainability and efficiency to reliably deliver a world-class product,” Nishen Hariparsad, General Manager (Technology and Innovation) at BME, says. “Our systems harness robotics and artificial intelligence to ensure that we meet and exceed customer expectations with our non-electric detonators.”

Hariparsad highlighted that this high level of automation was a significant differentiator for the company, as most competitors relied on manual production lines. The result was that Omnia’s mining division was able to achieve consistency in detonator quality, enhanced production flexibility, less waste and reduced environmental impact. The company’s production facilities at Losberg and Dryden were also powered by renewable energy to prioritise sustainability and operational continuity.

“BME always strives to be at the forefront of technology and brings innovative and cutting-edge mining solutions that deliver best blasting and fragmentation outcomes,” Hariparsad said. “This has underpinned the launch of the VIPERDET MS Series – which includes downhole, trunkline and dual detonators. With its timing accuracy, flexibility and user-friendly design, we believe this range will offer great customer experience and deliver optimal blasting results.”

Dr Rakhi Pathak, BME’s Global Product Manager, noted that the design included a triple-layered shock tube designed to provide high tensile strength and prevent any damage during normal operating conditions.

“Made with high-strength material that is temperature resistant, the connectors are easy to use and quick to apply,” Dr Pathak said. “The connectors are also colour coded for ease of identification.”

She added that safety remains the utmost priority and so quality and manufacturing processes ensure that the product meets the highest industry safety standard.

Hariparsad explained that Omnia mining segment’s certified supply chain was crucial to achieving the standards for which it is known in the mining sector, including the quarrying sector where the VIPERDET MS Series is expected to find an important market.

“We have selected high quality raw materials and the latest manufacturing processes to guarantee exceptional quality in our VIPERDET MS Series detonators,” he said. “Each component goes through a series of rigorous tests to ensure it meets stringent industry standards.”

He noted that in-house manufacturing allows the company to closely manage its product quality, delivering reliability with high accuracy of delay timing.

Barminco acquires two battery-electric Integrated Tool Carriers from BME

As part of its commitment to investigate opportunities to accelerate decarbonisation, Barminco has invested in two battery-electric Volvo L120H Integrated Tool Carriers from Batt Mobile Equipment (BME), with the mining services provider set to deploy the machines later this month at IGO Ltd’s Nova and Cosmos mine sites in Western Australia.

The machines were provided by New South Wales-based BME, which has developed this battery-electric retrofit platform on the back of the TRITEV project, an initiative developed under Project EVmine with the help of METS Ignited.

The BME220 is a 20 t Integrated Tool Carrier battery-electric retrofit system that replaces diesel components in favour of an electric motor and battery pack. The resulting machine eliminates emissions, handles well, and maintains the same weight and capacity, according to Barminco. New South Wales-based 3ME provides BME with the Electric Vehicle Engine packages for these vehicles.

BME estimates its generation 3 machines will save over 81 t of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, when compared with the diesel equivalent.

The BME220s form part of Barminco’s electric vehicle trials that are taking place in partnership with IGO over the following six months.

BME enhances blasting control and monitoring with next-generation Xplolog release

Mining solutions specialist BME has released a new version of its Xplolog system for capturing and analysing data on blast holes and decks.

BME – part of Omnia’s mining segment – developed Xplolog as a powerful tool for mines to monitor their block progress in real time, providing the necessary data to track trends and continuously improve the quality of blasts, it says.

The focus in developing this next-generation Xplolog has been the detailed guidance by users, according to Christiaan Liebenberg, BME Product Manager Software Solutions. This has led to making the system more user friendly, scalable and streamlined with other BME digital solutions – while also benefiting from improved data security, the company says.

“We engaged our Xplolog users in a highly systematic way to inform us at every step of our upgrade process,” Liebenberg said. “After our first structured interviews with users, for instance, we developed mock-ups and wireframes that we could take back to the user group for further testing. This approach was even taken into the design and prototype stages, ensuring that the system was in many ways actually built by the users.”

With the design and application code built from the ground up, and with a new and upgraded database using Google’s Cloud Services, the performance of Xplolog has been enhanced. The capacity of the system can also be rapidly increased, allowing better scalability; customers can have a site set up within a matter of hours, according to BME.

Christiaan Liebenberg – BME Product Manager Software Solutions

“Security has been improved through a more robust login and registration process,” Liebenberg said. “There are different user access levels in the new version, giving customers more control over who can access information related to their role in the organisation.

“Users will appreciate how everything is centralised in this version of Xplolog, and how we have improved the workflow for third party blast design uploads in the system.”

The look and feel of Xplolog has been revised in line with the progressive standardising of design across BME’s Blast Alliance digital solutions. This makes users feel familiar with the BME offering, through increased brand identification and continuity of the customer experience with Blast Alliance, Liebenberg said.

“Another important aspect of our upgrade is that users can easily customise their dashboards, creating a personalised view of block information important to the user,” he said.

Customised reports can be created and saved, allowing users to return to that recurring daily, weekly or monthly report each week or month as required. A summary view of block data is visible to track progress at a quick glance for the user.

“We have also given users the ability to better visually track block progress, with the creative use of colours and iconography,” Liebenberg said.

The process of inputting data has been optimised by rationalising the number of steps or actions wherever possible. Importantly, Liebenberg pointed out that Xplolog’s integration with BME’s mobile manufacturing units (MMUs) has taken account of different regional preferences and conditions around the globe.

“The system also provides mines with a digital audit trail, so that they can track operator performance during the drilling and charging phases, as well as provide hole loading information per truck,” he said.

Xplolog is integrated with other BME offerings like its blast planning software Blastmap, and to third-party blast software.

Integrated with BME’s MMUs, Xplolog, BME says, allows the MMU operator to charge and top-up holes accurately from the source application, which will have the latest blast design updates loaded. The actual charged and top-up values from the MMU’s digital panel will automatically be sent back to Xplolog, which will make the data available on the cloud platform for review and analysis.

“Our new version of Xplolog continues to raise the bar in leveraging digital technology,” Liebenberg said. “Our software engineering team continues to add new features and implement continuous improvements as we receive feedback from users of the system in the field – to help mines operate more efficiently, cost-effectively and safely.”

These updates are released to all existing customers of Xplolog every quarter at no additional cost, according to BME.

BME set to take next step in international growth journey with new Canada facility

In what it says will be a significant step in its international growth journey, BME Mining Canada Inc is to officially launch its greenfield production and service facilities in Nairn Centre, Ontario, later this year.

Developed in conjunction with its joint venture partner, Consbec, the facility underpins BME Mining Canada Inc’s evolution as a serious player in the North American market, according to Aaron Austin, BME’s General Manager Americas.

“The production plants on our site – which we will launch towards the second half of 2023 – will produce BME’s leading brand AXXIS electronic detonators, emulsion explosives and ANFO,” he said. “The facilities will also provide maintenance, servicing and cleaning of the company’s trucks and underground equipment – as well as give support for AXXIS blast initiation equipment.”

The facility will include laboratories for quality control and product development. The Nairn Centre development has been pursued alongside BME Mining Canada Inc’s success in breaking into the local market, he explained. Among the recent breakthroughs has been a five-year full-service contract with a surface gold mine in Ontario.

“Our growing in-country infrastructure builds the market’s confidence in us, and allows us to deliver our solutions and expertise to the same high quality world-wide,” he said.

BME Mining Canada is part of South Africa-based blasting specialist BME, a member of the JSE-listed Omnia Group.

As part of its ongoing expansion strategy, BME will have a presence at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto from March 5-8, 2023. BME’s focus at PDAC this year will be on launching its local joint venture in the form of BME Mining Canada Inc to the local market, as well as showcasing the latest generation electronic initiation systems – AXXIS Titanium™ and AXXIS Silver™ – which are key innovations that will be used in the region.

At the BME exhibit at PDAC will be BME’s AXXIS Support Manager, Hennie du Preez, who will showcase the system. BME General Manager, Michael Klaasen, will be there to touch base with international clients who will attend PDAC. Michelle Fedder, BME’s Brand and Marketing Manager, will also attend.

Fedder said: “The market has been excited by the ways that AXXIS Titanium, along with BME’s range of digital innovations, is helping mines to further improve safety and reduce their energy costs and achieve ESG targets in terms of more sustainable practices. Blast performance has also been enhanced through the increased blast duration per detonator, more units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy.”

Among the range of field testing that the new AXXIS systems have undergone is to conduct blasts in cold climates and freezing weather, according to Du Preez.

“We have had AXXIS successfully tested in the US for operating in temperatures below -40 °C,” he said. “This was done in anticipation of our growing business opportunities in the US and Canada.”

BME recently also employed AXXIS Silver to blast in sub-zero conditions for a diamond mining customer in the mountains of Lesotho.

Du Preez pointed out the benefit of thin, copper-cladded downline wire, which de-coils easily for use in small diameter holes – even when they are waterlogged. Due to their robust quality, BME’s electronic detonators were able to remain in the holes for two days before blasting, in temperatures below zero where the hole collars froze solid, he said.