Tag Archives: MAXAM

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A common problem identified during early tests was the plastic liner being pulled back up the blasthole as the hose was withdrawn.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 to showcase underground blasting solutions at Indaba

MAXAM will be showcasing the latest blasting technologies on offer to its customers in Africa at Mining Indaba in Cape Town next week as it makes its third consecutive appearance at the event.

MAXAM has a workforce of more than 800 employees and projects in over 20 countries, and has the largest footprint in the Africa continent among the leading blasting solutions providers, it says.

“This position is cemented in its comprehensive range of technologies and local capabilities to support customers,” MAXAM said. “The company is also the leading supplier of packaged explosives and offers both watergel and emulsion bulk products, boosting a versatile portfolio to adapt to specific needs from its different customers.”

Brett Wheatcroft, Regional Director of MAXAM in Southern Africa, said Africa is one of the most important mining areas in the world and the company’s commitment to the continent is clear.

“We have been investing here for more than 40 years and the results couldn’t be better: we are a leading player within our segment of activity and have a growing customer base that more and more values our differential, high-value combination of technologies and technical support.”

MAXAM will take advantage of Mining Indaba to showcase its complete range of solutions for underground operations. Customers attending the event will have the chance to get to know more about one of its novel technologies, RIOFLEX, a highly energetic, robust and flexible density bulk product that, MAXAM says, achieves excellent performance in all types of rock. “This bulk watergel contributes to minimise the total cost of ownership due to the savings in the drilling and blasting application and the whole value chain of the mine as a result of a better fragmentation,” the company said.

RIOFLEX has been tested in more than 140 sites in 25 countries, becoming a benchmark for customers looking to improve the productivity of their mines, quarries and infrastructure projects, according to the company.

Fernando Beitia, Director of Bulk Products of MAXAM, will talk about the company’s emulsion and watergel technologies at a conference during the event.

MAXAM reflects on 25 years of Santa Barbara Innovation Awards

MAXAM is celebrating the 25th edition of its Santa Barbara Innovation Awards, a pioneering initiative in the industry aimed at the company’s more than 6,500 employees.

Through these awards the technology company, which specialises in energetic materials, seeks to promote a culture of innovation at all levels of the organisation, MAXAM said.

According to Miguel Ángel Flórez, Chief Technology Officer of the company, these awards have inspired some of the company’s most innovative work.

“MAXAM’s professionals in the field face complicated and extremely differing environments such as a mine in Siberia in -40°C, underwater blasting machines in Panama, or projects in sub-Saharan Africa in over 40° of heat,” he said.

“It is they who can quickly detect any new challenge to improve the security and efficiency of operations. Thanks to them, to the nonconformist, innovative spirit of our teams, some significant technological advances have emerged from Santa Barbara that respond to the specific needs of our customers.”

In the last 10 years alone, the awards have spawned innovative developments aimed at increasing the efficiency, precision and security of blasting solutions for mining and civil engineering.

For example, the success of the Panama Canal extension project, completed by MAXAM in 2015, saw technologies such as the RIOBLAST design and simulation software and the on-site assembled explosive product via trucks play key roles; both developed from their presentation at the Santa Barbara Innovation Awards by employees of the company.

Other significant developments made from winning ideas for the company have been the BER system for the real-time visual inspection of boreholes and the RIOSENSOR device, which contribute to clear security, efficiency and productivity improvements in the mining projects.

The awards are open to any employee, who has the opportunity to identify and propose new ideas and solutions that generate a differential value for the company and its customers.

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.