Tag Archives: Explosives

ENAEX and Sasol sign explosives and rock fragmentation JV to service southern Africa

ENAEX, a subsidiary of the Sigdo Koppers Group, says it has reached an agreement with integrated energy and chemical company, Sasol, to become a strategic partner of its explosives and rock fragmentation division.

The agreement, signed this week after a negotiation process initiated last July, considers ENAEX to take part in the business as the controlling partner of this firm, it said. This would be formed by spinning off certain assets and associated activities within the current explosives value chain of the Base Chemicals business of Sasol South Africa.

The new joint venture company will include the associated business activities in both South Africa and the rest of the countries in Southern Africa, with the explosives division having over 1,000 employees, producing more than 350,000 t/y of explosives and generating around $250 million of revenue annually, ENAEX says.

Sasol was founded in 1950 and is today a participant in the explosives industry in South Africa, with a presence also in Namibia and Lesotho.

Juan Andrés Errázuriz, ENAEX CEO, said: “Having successfully completed the process to become a strategic partner of Sasol is a very relevant milestone for Enaex. By this, we have taken a big step in consolidating our company in international markets and expanding the value offer for our customers.”

Errázuriz said, because of its size, Africa was currently the third largest explosive market in the world, with significant growth potential.

“Towards its progress, we can contribute with the extensive knowledge, technology and innovation that we have been developing in the rock fragmentation industry for mining,” he said.

This joint venture is part of the strategic plan of ENAEX to continue strengthening its international presence in the most important mining regions of the world and is subject to any necessary approvals from public authorities, it said.

MAXAM hopes new high-energy cartridge watergel catches on in Latin America

MAXAM has used the backdrop of the 34th edition of the Perumin conference in Arequipa, Peru, to announce a new production line of cartridge explosives to be made at its Cocachacra plant in the country.

The manufacture of RIOGEL, alongside the initiation systems and RIOXAM ANFO products the company produces at its Cochachacra plant, should increase MAXAM’s capabilities in Latin America, it said.

RIOGEL is the latest generation of high-energy cartridge watergel developed by MAXAM and has important advantages over other products. “Thanks to its high energy, it allows optimal rock fragmentation, increasing the productivity of the operation,” the company said, adding that it guarantees a good blasting result even under dynamic pressure.

“With a better balance of oxygen in its composition, RIOGEL reduces the emission of toxic fumes such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide,” MAXAM says. This shortens the return times to blasting fronts and, thus, optimises the operations’ performance.

It also comes with environmental benefits given its manufacturing process requires 95% less water than an emulsion.

José Luis Alonso, General Manager, MAXAM in Peru, said: “In addition to offering innovative products that allow us to increase the productivity of our customers, at MAXAM we have the technical capabilities to respond to their specific needs. We offer adapted and valuable solutions in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia and the rest of South America.”

The company is showing the advantages of RIOGEL as well as its innovations and latest developments in blasting services during the Perumin tradeshow, from September 16-20.

MAXAM bolsters Australia blasting solution capabilities with new WA sites

MAXAM says it has reinforced its commitment to the Australia blasting market with the opening of two manufacturing sites at McLarty Reserve in Western Australia.

Strategically located 120 km south of Perth, both sites have been relocated from the former Baldivis reserve and “solidifies MAXAM’s commitment to produce high-quality blasting solutions for its key customers across Australia and the South Pacific region”, the company said.

In these sites, the company manufactures RIOFLEX, its high energy bulk explosive, and its RIONEL non-electronic detonators. It is the sole blasting solutions provider in the country to manufacture both products in Western Australia, according to MAXAM.

The company said: “MAXAM took the opportunity to transfer both facilities and develop state-of-the-art sites at their new location, with both automatic and manual production lines. In order to support mining sector growth in Australia, MAXAM designed new highly adaptable RIOFLEX and RIONEL plants with inbuilt capabilities to increase volumes by more than three times, reaching its maximum technical capacities.”

Michael Briggs, MAXAM Australia General Manager, said products such as RIOFLEX, “the most versatile and energetic bulk technology in the market”, allow the company to provide customised solutions to its customers. “In fact, working together with our clients is in our DNA, delivering sustainable value,” he said.

Ramón Paramio, MAXAM Terra Solutions General Manager, added: “We started our internationalisation in Australia back in 1987 and since then we have become a truly global player in the blasting solutions industry. We are proud to keep investing in this market, supporting our customers to make their operations more sustainable, productive and efficient.”

Teck trialling new blasting process to protect water quality in BC, Canada

As part of its commitment to improving water quality in British Columbia’s Elk Valley region, a number of research projects are underway to prevent nitrate from entering the environment and protect water quality in the region.

One source of nitrates is from explosives that interact with water during the blasting process, Teck said. “When this occurs nitrates can leach out of blastholes and enter the natural environment. To stop this from occurring plastic liners are used to prevent explosive materials from coming into contact with water,” the company said.

However, in order to use plastic liners, blast holes have historically needed to be dewatered so that the liner can reach the bottom of the hole and stay there, Teck said. “For blastholes that refill with water, a new approach was required.”

To tackle this problem, Teck undertook a research project to determine how plastic liners could be used in blastholes that naturally refill with water (often called dynamic blastholes). The research project was led by Teck with support from suppliers Maxam, Teck’s explosives provider, and Friesen Plastics, Teck’s liner supplier. Together, various combinations of procedures, liner types/packaging and explosive bulk truck modifications were trialed until a new system was developed.

Teck explained: “The emulsion in a liner system involves using the charging hose on the explosives truck to place the plastic liner in the bottom of a dynamic blasthole. The hole is then loaded with water resistant explosive from the bottom up, both filling the liner and keeping it in place. Once complete, the end result is a lined blasthole with the explosives protected from the water.”

In order for the plastic liner to be effectively placed down the blasthole, a hydraulic arm and funnel were added to the explosive bulk truck hose and the traditional borehole plastic liners had to be compressed into an accordion shape, according to Teck. The hydraulic arm allows for the hose to be placed directly over the blasthole and the funnel removes the wrinkles from the compressed plastic liner as it unfolds and is pushed to the bottom of the hole. “This ensures consistent lining of every blasthole while meeting our needs of durability and functionality,” the company said.

A common problem identified during early tests was the plastic liner being pulled back up the blasthole as the hose was withdrawn.

To address this, a system was developed that applies mineral oil to the bulk truck hose which acts as a lubricant allowing the hose to be withdrawn while keeping the plastic liner and blast material in the hole, Teck said.

“This process has now been successfully field tested on over 400 holes and has proven to be a safe and effective design,” the company said.

This new process is currently being piloted at Teck’s Fording River and Greenhills operations, but the plan is to implement across all of Teck’s steelmaking coal operations in 2019, the company said.

”As a result, every blasthole in the Elk Valley that is operationally accessible will contain a liner that protects both the explosive product and the environment. This will significantly reduce nitrate at source and help to protect water quality.”

MAXAM welcomes new private equity investor

MAXAM, a global technology company specialised in the design, development, manufacture and application of energetic materials, announces that shareholder Advent International has agreed to sell its 45% stake in the company to investment funds affiliated with Rhône Capital.

MAXAM’s shareholder group, led by Chairman and CEO José F Sánchez-Junco, will continue to hold the remaining 55% of the company’s stock. The value of the transaction has not been disclosed and is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Private equity firm Advent acquired its stake in MAXAM in February 2012 and has “actively contributed to the strategy crafted by the MAXAM management team”, MAXAM said. This enabled the company to fulfil its domestic and international growth ambitions by expanding and strengthening its footprint in key markets, through organic growth.

MAXAM’s origins date back to 1872, when Alfred Nobel founded Sociedad Española de Dinamita Privilegios A. Nobel in Bilbao. Over recent years, it has evolved from a Spanish manufacturer of explosives towards a technology company specialising in energetic materials.

Today, the company has over 6,500 employees, subsidiaries in more than 50 countries and generates sales in over 100 countries.

It structures its activity into four business units: blasting solutions for mining, quarries and civil works; cartridges and gun powders for use in hunting and recreational shooting; products and systems for the defence and security sector; and key raw materials for the nitro chemical industry.

For its fiscal year to March 31, MAXAM generated more than €1.1 billion ($1.28 billion) of revenue.

Rhône and its affiliates, meanwhile, comprise a global alternative investment management firm with more than $5 billion in assets under management. The firm focuses its private equity investments in market-leading businesses with a pan-European or transatlantic presence and global growth opportunities.

It is currently investing capital from its fifth private equity fund and has put money into a diversified portfolio of companies including those in the chemical, consumer product, food, packaging, industrials, specialty material, business services, and transportation sectors.

Mining3 welcomes Southern Oil to Alternative Explosives project

The Alternative Explosives project, one of Mining3’s flagship research initiatives, has received support from Southern Oil Refining to find ways to improve the productivity, sustainability, and safety of the mining industry through blasting without toxic fumes.

Mining3 Chief Executive Officer, Prof Paul Lever, said Southern Oil is contributing alternative fuel materials for testing in new hydrogen peroxide-based formulations, and providing technical support for detonation testing to characterise the explosive being developed at Mining3.

“For many decades, the use of ammonium nitrate-based commercial explosives has been the product of choice for the mining industry. While highly effective, they do have drawbacks,” Lever said.

“Ammonium nitrate-based explosives do not always detonate efficiently; leading to harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) fumes – posing serious risks to human and environmental health and causing production delays in surface and underground mining operations. Current engineering and administrative controls do not always give desired outcomes.”

Mining3’s Alternative Explosives project is testing explosive formulations that replace the nitrogen component with hydrogen peroxide. This is a simple, harmless compound predominately made up of water that completely eliminates post-blast NOx fumes, Lever said.

Mining3 Alternative Explosives Research Scientist, Dr Andrew Kettle, said the collaboration with Southern Oil added great value to the research through supply-chain depth and commercialisation momentum.

“Southern Oil’s support has enabled us to make significant modifications and enhancements to hydrogen peroxide-based explosive formulations. The raw material selection and technical support has been critical to extending the important testing work being undertaken in both the lab and the field,” he said.

“We are very much looking forward to the next few months of research…Our work will be invigorated by new and important opportunities to test the stability and detonation characterisations of our non-toxic explosive formulations.”

Southern Oil, which joins the The Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program and the University of Queensland on the project, is a privately-owned Australian company that re-refines waste lube oil for reuse and produces no waste, while its products reduce the need for oil imports and have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than crude base oils, Mining3 said.

Mining3 is a leading research organisation, directed by its global industry members to develop and deliver transformational technology to improve the productivity, sustainability, and safety of the mining industry.