Tag Archives: Incitec Pivot

Dyno Nobel’s CyberDet I underground wireless blasting tech hits the mark at Westgold’s Big Bell

Dyno Nobel says it has completed the first ever underground wireless detonator blast in Western Australia, using its ground-breaking wireless technology, CyberDet I®.

The blast, on June 1, 2021 at Westgold’s Big Bell underground gold mine, saw 34 CyberDet I detonators fired, producing “outstanding results”, including a well fragmented muckpile, the Incitec Pivot Ltd business reported.

Big Bell is a premier asset in Westgold’s Cue portfolio of mines (expected to produce 100,000-110,000 oz/y for Westgold over the long-term, underwritten by output from the Big Bell mine, Westgold says) and the blast was undertaken following approval from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific President, Greg Hayne, said the blast in Western Australia’s mid-west region was a significant milestone for Dyno Nobel’s wireless detonator offering.

“We are so pleased to be able to partner with Westgold on the first underground wireless blast ever in WA,” Hayne said. “The blast was a great success and it’s been really pleasing to hear Westgold’s feedback that it believes CyberDet I will deliver improved safety and efficiency.”

CyberDet I is designed to allow operators to work in a safer environment during the blast loading process. The technology also facilitates a shorter blast cycle, providing the potential to increase the number of tonnes mined.

“CyberDet I is Dyno Nobel’s through-the-earth wireless detonator offering, developed on the back of customers telling us it’s technology they need,” Hayne said.

Incitec Pivot Ltd Chief Technology Officer, Robert Rounsley, said CyberDet I highlighted the group’s commitment to advanced technology development.

“One of the key advantages of our wireless offering is its portable design,” he said. “The flexible nature of our communications antenna provides significant operational advantages for our users.”

The next step for CyberDet I will be further trials in Australia, with several customers already interested in the wireless technology, according to the company.

“We’re looking forward to showing more of our customers the benefits of CyberDet I.” Hayne said. “It is just one of our premium technology offerings focused on meeting the needs of our customers. We are proud of our customer partnerships which are creating innovative, practical improvements in safety, productivity and environmental performance.”

Dyno Nobel takes aim at underground mine development challenges with EZshot

“Companies traditionally see mine development as a means to an end. You just want to get it done to get to the ore.”

Paul Klaric, Technical Manager at DynoConsult, Dyno Nobel’s specialist consulting division, is right. Mine development is all about metres per day/month. The accuracy of the drill and blast patterns, or the stability of the drives that are created, rarely feature in quarterly updates or investor presentations.

Yet, this short-term thinking – typically related to the need to improve a project’s payback period – is costing the industry millions of dollars of sustaining capital.

Dyno Nobel Vice President, Product and Applications Technology, David Gribble, explains: “There are some applications where you carry out this development and you come back a few years later and look to either rehabilitate or create new drives off of it.”

In underground mines with challenging ground conditions where drilling and blasting practices are lacklustre, this can create safety concerns.

“Companies are trying to mitigate any safety issues by working to remove people through automation and technologies such as wireless initiation – which is great – but we are of the opinion that part of the reason for these technologies is that the drives were damaged in the first place,” Gribble told IM. “If we can create competent drives with minimal damage from the off, then a lot of the issues that happen down the track – which we’re trying to mitigate against – should go away.”

This is where the company’s EZshot® electronic detonator comes into the mine development equation.

Offering users the benefits of accurate electronic timing without the complications that come with wired systems, EZshot has been designed with underground perimeter blasting in mind.

Utilising shock tube for signal transmission which Dyno Nobel has been producing since the 1970s, EZshot comes in a new colour with the same J-hook connection as NONEL, meaning no new training is required.

Factory-programmed delay times can range from 1,000 to 20,000 milliseconds, with long-period delay timing ideal for underground perimeter blasting, according to the company. This is helped by the electronic initiation unit inside the detonator, which eliminates scatter – an inherent property of traditional pyrotechnic systems, to ensure firing occurs at the pre-designated delay time (see video below).

These design elements all help confront the issue of overbreak in perimeter blasting, according to Klaric.

“A good measure of well controlled, smooth blasting is when you see ‘half barrels’ left behind, which are remnants of the holes that were blasted in the rock mass,” he told IM. This is sometimes witnessed in competent, homogeneous rock masses, but rarely spotted in poor, challenging ground where there is faulting, jointing or discontinuities.

“In such ground, there is greater potential for overbreak and damage after perimeter blasting,” Klaric said.

Gas from the explosives can be forced into the rock mass behind the blast design profile, he said, which can become a real hazard and precondition the ground.

Klaric explained: “Your profile might come out as designed, but there could be more damage beyond the perimeter. As you go to install your ground support, there is potentially an area of the drive where the ground support is going to prove ineffective.”

It is these challenging rock conditions where EZshot could provide the most value to miners, according to the company.

In fact, in trials at an underground mine where variable ground conditions and temperatures were observed, a 12% overall reduction (from 22% to 10%) in overbreak was observed with a switch from NONEL LP to EZshot detonators.

Operators witnessed visible half barrels in poor ground where they had never seen them and full profile half barrels in good ground during these trials, Dyno Nobel reported.

The benefits did not end there.

There was a measurable reduction in the volume of material scaled off the walls after using EZShot – thanks to the improved blasting profile – and initial calculations indicated a positive $/m benefit to development mining costs, according to the company.

Drill and blast overbreak reconciliation is another benefit of EZshot, Gribble says.

“When you just use pyrotechnic detonators, you are likely to break past the perimeter and then you have no idea of where you drilled,” he explained. “How do you then improve something you cannot measure?

“In a lot of cases, EZshot will tell you exactly where you drilled and if the perimeter holes were in or out of design. You can then look to improve from there.”

This could have positive knock-on effects for the rest of the development cycle – not just in terms of speed, but also cost.

“If you are starting to improve and get consistency in your blasting and the drives you are delivering, you can start to consider adapting your rock support measures,” Klaric said.

For example, removing six or seven roof bolts per heading due to the improved blasting profile could see costs drop by A$3,000-4,000 ($1,958-2,610) per heading, he explained.

“It’s going to take time, but the potential is there for consistent results throughout the whole mine life cycle and to look at the drilling and blasting procedure at a much more forensic level,” he said.

While these benefits are applicable in all forms of mine development, it is long-life operations that are set to reap the most rewards from a switch to EZshot.

“This could be your block cave, or panel cave type of operations where some of those drives might be in place for 30-50 years,” Klaric said. “If you get development right in these applications, everything else will be right down the line.”

This means the South American copper industry – one that is progressively moving underground as operations mature – could be a potential market for EZShot. There are also a few famous block cave mines in Asia that could reap some serious value out of the product.

For the time being, the company is focused on further trials, which will provide the statistical firepower to get more miners to notice the product’s potential.

In Queensland, it has recently managed to conduct a few trial blasts, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

And, in Western Australia, EZshot has made an appearance at Silver Lake Resources’ Mount Monger gold operations, helping the company with the portal breakthrough at its newest mine, Santa (pictured, left. Photo courtesy of Silver Lake Resources).

It has also trialled and used the product in the US and Canada, according to Dirk Van Soelen, Vice President of Initiating Systems Technology at Incitec Pivot, Dyno Nobel’s parent company.

Even during these testing times where travel is restricted, there is potential for further trials thanks to the product’s ease of use.

Van Soelen said: “Normally when you bring new technology in, you have to support the technology to the hilt.

“There is an element of that in EZshot as you want to get the measurements and feedback from case studies, but the beauty with it is you can send someone a box and they can use it tomorrow in the same way they use their current product.

“It is a seamless technology transition from the user’s perspective.”

Van Soelen concluded: “I think a big part of the appeal of EZShot comes from the fact that you get ease-of-use and repeatability with this product.

“This repeatability, from blast to blast, takes the emphasis off the blasting procedure and provides the opportunity to look at many other potential savings and efficiencies within the other processes.”

Electronic blasting demand sees Dyno Nobel boost manufacturing output

Demand from customers for Dyno Nobel’s electronic blasting technology is, the company says, boosting manufacturing in regional Queensland, Australia.

The Helidon plant, in southeast Queensland, has expanded to increase electronic detonator production, helping boost regional employment, it said.

Since the plant expansion late last year, the number of employees has grown to 103, up 63%, with more people needed at the plant to manufacture the company’s premium technology, which Dyno Nobel says has seen continued growth.

A business of Incitec Pivot, Dyno Nobel’s half-year results released in May showed a 14% increase in electronic initiating systems sales in Asia Pacific, compared with the same time last year.

Incitec Pivot Managing Director and CEO, Jeanne Johns, said: “Dyno Nobel’s overall mining volumes continue to be supported by our premium technology offering. We are seeing strong demand for our technology from customers who want to improve their productivity and safety outcomes, while also reducing the impact on the environment.

“We tailor our premium technology solutions to manage specific sites requirements and issues and, as a result, our customers are getting better blast outcomes.”

President of Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific, Greg Hayne, said Australia’s mining sector was continuing to operate well.

“We are continuing to invest strongly in our technology pipeline, assisting our customers and supporting the Australian economy with local jobs in manufacturing,” he said.

Looking forward, Dyno Nobel is focused on rolling out its DigiShot®Plus.4G system to further improve safety and productivity at mines across Australia. Released in 2018, DigiShot Plus.4G is designed to help reduce overall costs and increase productivity by reducing blasting delays and introducing programming speeds seven times faster than existing systems.

It was this technology that produced a world record blast at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Caval Ridge Mine in Queensland last December.

Dyno Nobel’s record blast saw 8,144 DigiShot Plus.4G electronic detonators fired in single blast event that took 14 days to prepare and involved loading 2,194 t of bulk explosive into 3,899 blastholes.

“As we continue to develop our technology road map, it’s nice to see these types of outcomes, which reinforce the way our technology aligns with the needs of our customers,” Hayne said.

Mondelphous strengthens BHP ties in Western Australia

Monadelphous Group has secured a number of contracts across Western Australia with BHP as part of a package of construction and maintenance agreements worth circa-A$110 million ($75 million).

The news comes on top of existing maintenance and other contracts the company has previously secured with the major mining company.

These include a contract at the BHP-owned Mining Area C iron ore mine site in the Pilbara, where Monadelphous will provide upgrades to existing conveyer equipment, and power switching and stackers. Work is expected to be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

The engineering firm has also won a contract for the provision of services associated with the demolition and rehabilitation of a number of end-of-life facilities at Nelson Point in Port Hedland. This contract is expected to commence in January 2020 and will be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

Monadelphous will also carry out a 12-month extension to its existing contract with BHP’s Nickel West division for the provision of maintenance, shutdowns and off-site repair services at the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter.

Lastly with BHP, the company has been awarded a contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) for the construction of a reclaimer and two stackers at BHP’s South Flank project in the Pilbara. thyssenkrupp has previously said these will be the largest rail mounted stacker/reclaimers in the world, with a loading capacity of 20,000 t/h.

Monadelphous’ work is expected to be completed in the March quarter of 2021.

In Queensland, meanwhile, the ASX-listed company has secured a three-year contract for the provision of general mechanical and maintenance services as part of Incitec Pivot’s scheduled turnarounds for its Queensland manufacturing facilities, it said.

BHP looks for blasting safety and productivity gains with Dyno Nobel deal

BHP has announced an agreement with explosives supplier Dyno Nobel, a business of Incitec Pivot Limited, to invest in a blast technology research program to improve the safety and productivity across its Australian operations.

As part of a Technology Alliance Agreement with BHP, Dyno Nobel will invest A$25 million ($17 million) over the next five years to pursue technology improvements that will directly benefit BHP’s mining operations.

Dyno Nobel’s research and development will be undertaken collaboratively with input from BHP, with the aim of focusing the investment in areas with the greatest potential impact, Dyno Nobel said. In addition, BHP will provide ongoing reviews, feedback and site access for prototype testing.

“For example, Dyno Nobel’s Differential Energy and Digishot Plus 4G technologies are proven to improve safety, efficiency and environmental impacts on the ground today,” the company said.

Dyno Nobel says it will also have semi-autonomous mobile processing units (MPU) (the trucks that fill blast holes with explosives) developed by the end of this year, followed by the development of fully-autonomous MPUs – all of which have the potential to take people out of harm’s way and improve efficiency.

Dyno Nobel’s technology roadmap is broad, the company said, including new developments in digital technologies, bulk explosives, equipment automation and initiating systems including wireless technology.

BHP Group Procurement Officer, Sundeep Singh (left), said: “The Technology Alliance Agreement is a great example of BHP partnering with suppliers to drive improvement that will benefit our company and the sector as a whole.

“As well as providing an avenue to improve our own drill and blasting activities in Queensland and Western Australia, the partnership will support our pursuit of better environmental stewardship through a joint commitment to eradicate the use of palm oil in the explosive manufacturing process.”

Managing Director and CEO of Incitec Pivot Limited, Jeanne Johns (right), said, “Our industry leading technology is on the ground today, and this joint value sharing Technology Alliance Agreement is an example of our customer focused approach to building strong collaborative partnerships. I am excited about demonstrating the value of our current offer on the ground today and developing technologies with our valued customer and global mining house, BHP for the mine of the future.”

Johns added: “Our leading explosives technology is clever in design, adds immediate value to BHP’s operation through productivity, safety and environmental benefits, and demonstrates the potential of technology to transform the Australian resources industry.”

Pivotal to this alliance is Dyno Nobel’s market leading Differential Energy technology. With successes in the US market, it is now being rolled out to sites across Australia as the benefits are recognised by leading mining companies, the company said.

This Technology Alliance Agreement was an integral part of a suite of contract renewals for the supply of explosives products and services to BHP’s open-pit operations at BMA, BHP Iron Ore and Nickel West, according to Dyno Nobel.

Dyno Nobel and Mining3 technology development initiatives align

Incitec Pivot Ltd (IPL) has announced that Dyno Nobel has entered an agreement with Mining3 to collaborate with global mining industry members to “develop and deliver transformational technology to improve the productivity, sustainability, and safety of the mining industry”.

As of March 1, IPL – parent company to Dyno Nobel – signed the membership deed to collaborate with, and leverage from the world-class research Mining3 offers, it said.

Mining3 Chief Executive Officer, Paul Lever, said: “Having this major global explosive supplier joining Mining3 strengthens the breadth of engagement within the mining industry, brings a fresh new perspective and an opportunity to participate in a wider range of innovations.”

Robert Rounsley, IPL’s newly appointed Chief Technology Development Officer, said: “We are actively building out Dyno Nobel’s technology development capability. We can offer our customers an even richer solution set, and we believe collaborating with Mining3 and its members will accelerate this undertaking.”

Dyno Nobel is a world-renowned explosives manufacturer with a strong customer focus, which prides itself in delivering practical innovation on the ground today and in the future for its mining and resources customers.

Dyno Nobel plans to leverage the Mining3 membership through the identification of, and collaboration for, the development of new technologies important to the industry.

Wayne Stange, Dyno Nobel’s Vice President of Mining Technology, said, “There are several Mining3 projects that are aligned with our technology development initiatives. Through our Mining3 membership, we will be able to work with a range of researchers and mining equipment and technology services to accelerate the development of transformational technology”.

One project Mining3 is working on, which will probably interest Dyno Nobel, is the pursuit of a non-toxic post-blast bulk alternative explosive.