Tag Archives: Orica

Orica addresses Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in latest GHG reduction pledge

Orica has announced its ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, covering Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and its most “material” Scope 3 GHG emission sources.

The ambition builds on Orica’s previously announced medium-term target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

To advance its net zero emissions ambition, Orica says it will:

  • Continue to reduce its operational footprint: prioritising Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions reductions by deploying tertiary catalyst abatement technology, sourcing renewable energy and optimising energy efficiency and industrial processes;
  • Collaborate with its suppliers: as new and emerging technologies scale and become commercial, partner with suppliers to source lower emissions intensity ammonium nitrate (AN) and ammonia to reduce Orica’s Scope 3 emissions, which account for approximately 70% of Orica’s total Scope 3 emissions;
  • Prioritise lower carbon solutions: developing lower carbon AN, as well as new products, services and technology offerings to help customers achieve their own sustainability goals; and
  • Report progress: transparently disclose performance consistent with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “Our ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 shows our commitment to playing a part in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is a strong signal that the decarbonisation of Orica will, and must, continue beyond 2030 and requires a collaborative approach across all of our stakeholders.

“We’re making solid progress having already achieved a 9% emissions reduction in financial year 2020 (to June 30, 2020) and further reductions this financial year. We’ve taken our 2030 medium-term target and extended our planning over the long term, developing a credible roadmap to support our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Over the next decade, Orica is deploying tertiary catalyst abatement, prioritising renewable energy opportunities and supporting a trial of carbon capture utilisation and storage technology. Beyond 2030, how we achieve our ambition is dependent on effective global policy frameworks, supportive regulation and financial incentives, and access to new and emerging technologies operating at commercial scale.

“Orica is a company with a long history of technical innovation which is already helping our customers improve mine site safety, productivity and efficiency. We will apply the same approach by deploying low-emissions technologies to our major manufacturing sites and working with our global suppliers and stakeholders on reducing the footprint of our supply chain.”

Orica says it has already undertaken several initiatives to drive action towards its medium-term target and support its 2050 net zero emissions ambition.

In FY2020, Orica’s Bontang AN manufacturing facility in Indonesia recorded a 43% reduction in net emissions and its Kooragang Island nitrates manufacturing plant (pictured below) in Australia achieved a 6.3% reduction in net emissions, by replacing and improving the performance of selective catalyst abatement technologies, the company said.

In partnership with the Alberta Government this year, Orica’s Carseland AN manufacturing facility in Canada has commissioned tertiary catalyst abatement technology, reducing emissions by approximately 83,000 t/y of CO2e.

Orica has assigned approximately A$45 million ($33 million) over the next five years in capital to deploy similar tertiary abatement technology across its Australian AN sites, which, it says, could deliver an annual reduction of 750,000 t CO2e.

Orica will also support the construction of a mobile demonstration plant of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology at its Kooragang Island manufacturing facility, led by Mineral Carbonation International, in partnership with the Australian Government and the University of Newcastle. The plant is scheduled to be built on Orica’s Kooragang Island site by the end of 2023 and have direct access to some 250,000 t of captured CO2 from Orica’s manufacturing operations.

Orica helps clients target specific blast outcomes in real time with 4D bulk explosives tech

Orica has, today, launched 4D™, its latest bulk explosives technology at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, USA.

The 4D bulk system enables the real-time tailoring of explosives energy to geology across a blast, delivering improvements in fragmentation, on bench productivity and an overall reduction in drill and blast costs, according to the ASX-listed company.

The 4D bulk explosives technology will enable Orica’s customers to, the company says, seamlessly match a greater range of explosives energy across a mine’s geology and target specific blast outcomes in real time.

By combining emulsion blended with ammonium nitrate porous prills, 4D supports both pumped and augered loading methods across dry, wet and dewatered hole conditions. An outcome of this unique capability is greater on bench productivity by Orica’s fleet of 4D-enabled Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMU™), without the need to change raw materials in the MMU, Orica says.

Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said: “Our 4D capability demonstrates the convergence of our new technologies and solutions, allowing our customers to think differently, mine more efficiently and operate more precisely. By combining our range of advanced digital, formulation chemistry and explosives delivery technologies with our technical expertise, we are able to offer this breakthrough solution that will unlock greater value for our customers across their operations.”

Delivering up to 23% more relative bulk strength for hard-rock applications and up to 43% reduction in soft-rock applications, 4D will enable a broader range of applications, according to Orica.

In hard rock, the extra energy can be used to improve fragmentation in ore blasting, or to expand patterns while maintaining the same energy per bank cubic metre to substantially reduce drill and blast costs, the company claims. In softer geology, the potential of loading significantly lower energy products into wet holes leads to reduced cost and fume risk, as well as better management of blast vibration.

Orica Vice President – Blasting Technology, Adam Mooney, described the solution and the significant change in the application of explosives, saying: “Traditionally blast designs are often driven by powder factor, which is the overall consumption of explosives for the blast, rather than the energy required for different parts of the blast based on geology, resulting in the same type of explosive being applied across a blast pattern regardless of changes in geology or the required blast outcome.

“4D now enables us to consider another dimension – the application of energy in real time matched to the rock strength of the blast pattern as well as the desired blast outcomes, such as consistent fragmentation, fume risk reduction or better vibration control. This is a really powerful technology that will allow customers to manage their drill and blast operations and achieve improved blast outcomes.”

4D will be delivered through MMU’s equipped with LOADPlus™, Orica’s proprietary in-cab smart explosives delivery control system that, it says, enables the ease of manufacture and accurate and efficient delivery of formulated explosives products to plan.

Integration with Orica’s suite of digital blasting technologies including BlastIQ™ and SHOTPlus™ will further enable customers to leverage seamless digital workflows including blast designs and blast quality assurance and control, as well as BlastIQ digital insights to continually optimise blasting outcomes, Orica says.

4D is currently being developed across Orica’s Fortis™, Fortan™ and Aquacharge™ bulk systems. The technology will eventually be applied across Orica’s suite of bulk systems.

The first release of 4D™ will begin with Australia from the end of the year with other regions to follow from 2022.

MINExpo 2021 runs from September 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Orica to unveil WebGen 200 wireless blasting initiating system at MINExpo 2021

Orica says it will unveil its latest through-the-earth, fully wireless initiating system, WebGen™ 200 at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas next week.

A development based on more than 2,300 successful WebGen 100 blasts around the world, specifically in underground mines, Orica’s WebGen 200 technology has been designed with customers’ needs and feedback built-in as they look to further improve safety and productivity across their operations, the company says.

WebGen technology provides for groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through hundreds of metres of rock, water and air. This completely removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast and importantly allows the removal of people from harm’s way, it says.

“Engineered to deliver market-leading safety and reliability, WebGen 200 has been built with enhanced capabilities, security and versatility, ensuring it meets the extreme mining conditions faced by surface and underground customers pushing the boundaries of mining’s next frontier,” Orica says.

MINExpo 2021 will take place on September 13-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Orica Chief Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne said: “We know that as our customers go deeper and move into more complex mining, they are requiring more advanced technology to help them mine differently and continue to extract their orebodies safely and efficiently. That’s where WebGen 200 and our broader technology roadmap comes in.”

WebGen 200 harnesses digital technology to allow advanced features including digital inventory management, delay adjustments before blasting, an improved user interface and increased quality assurance, according to the company. Reliability is further improved with the WebGen 200 primers available to endure even greater dynamic pressure.

Orica Vice President – Blasting Technology, Adam Mooney, said: “We’ve co-developed our second-generation wireless initiation technology, WebGen 200, with customers from across all segments and regions around the world.

“We developed WebGen primarily to reduce or remove employees’ exposure to hazardous environments and improve overall operational safety. But we are also seeing the technology delivering unparalleled improvements in productivity and improved recovery for our customers – it is enabling a step-change in blasting and mining like no other.

“We are excited about what the future holds for the industry with WebGen 200 and know the enhancements made to this second-generation product will improve the customer experience, broaden its application and deliver significant value for customers while enabling the first stages of blast automation.”

The hardware, software and the WebGen 200 units come together as a system that, Orica says, is easily integrated into any operation. It will be available in four product variants and include a wider range of booster weights, opening up new segments, applications and opportunities in both surface and underground mining.

The complete product range now includes the WebGen 200 Surface, WebGen 200 Surface Pro, WebGen 200 Underground Pro, and WebGen 200 Dev. All four variants will be on show in Las Vegas.

The new WebGen 200 suite of fully wireless initiating systems

WebGen 200 Surface and WebGen 200 Surface Pro are specifically designed for surface mining applications, with the Pro version designed for extreme blasting conditions, including revolutionary blasting techniques like Multi-Stratum Blasting, Mining Schedule Flexibility and Lightning Risk Reduction. The WebGen 200 Underground Pro is suited to production blasting, while the WebGen 200 Underground Dev has been designed for mechanical assembly and will enable the automation of underground development charging with Avatel™.

Orica and Epiroc have been developed Avatel, billed as a first-of-its-kind, industry-driven semi-automated explosives delivery system, with a prototype machine currently undergoing trials ahead of being commercially ready by the end of 2021.

The charging solution, enabled by Orica’s WebGen wireless initiating system technology, addresses the final step in the underground development cycle yet to benefit substantially from mechanisation and automation.

It is expected to bring a step-change in safety by eliminating the need for wired connections and subsequent exposure to crews at the face, according to Orica. Instead, the entire charging cycle can be completed by a single operator from within the safety of an enclosed cabin, several metres from the face.

The WebGen 200 development program is progressing to plan with comprehensive verification and validation product testing completed, according to Orica. Field trials are planned and will be completed across multiple mining segments and regions in Australia, Canada, Latin America and Europe, ahead of being commercially available from December 2021.

GroundProbe offers Brazilian customers dedicated geotechnical monitoring option

GroundProbe has opened a dedicated Geotechnical Support Service (GSS) monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to, it says, better serve its growing customer base in the country.

The centre will provide 24/7 real-time remote radar and laser monitoring services for mine slopes and tailings dams.

The centre joins GroundProbe’s two existing high-tech monitoring centres in Santiago, Chile, and Balikpapan, Indonesia, to provide support in four languages – Portuguese, Spanish, English and Bahasa.

Monitoring live stability data and reacting to alarms to ensure the maximum safety of people and communities, the centre connects remote sites with geotechnical industry experts in real time, GroundProbe says. The centres are crewed by more than 100 highly experienced engineers and radar operators with extensive radar knowledge and experience.

GroundProbe, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orica, is widely accepted as a global leader in real-time technologies used to detect instabilities and predict when mine and dam collapses will occur.

GroundProbe CEO, David Noon, said that the company had witnessed a huge increase in demand for remote geotechnical expertise in Brazil.

“We saw it as an absolute necessity to bolster our offering and extend our support services to the region,” he said.

“The state-of-the-art centre provides the most technologically advanced solution for remote monitoring in the region and shows our level of commitment to our customers there.

“It leans on our five-and-a-half years of remote monitoring experience, our recognised systems and processes and our established resourcing model, all of which ensures the highest level of data integrity and service availability.”

GroundProbe Head of Geotechnical, Peter Saunders, explained how the service’s positive results and statistics speak for themselves.

“Together, our GSS team have detected and provided early notification to site of 1,440 slope failures, validated 3,615 alarms and managed 44,608 unwanted alarms,” Saunders said.

“GroundProbe also has the world’s largest library of wall folders. Our experts have unprecedented access to this data, gaining a unique perspective on geotechnical monitoring borne from analysing thousands of slope failures and assisting with numerous incident investigations.”

This newest monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte will provide the same services to customers, including: GSS-Remote, GroundProbe’s 24-hour remote monitoring solution; GSS-Training, its specialised SSR and laser training service; and GSS-Reporting, the company’s customised analysis and reporting service.

Alpha HPA signs reagent and offtake deal with Orica

The Board of Alpha HPA Limited has executed binding, definitive agreements with Orica Australia in respect of Alpha HPA’s First Project in Gladstone, Queensland.

The agreement relates to the supply of process reagents and the offtake of process by-product to/from Alpha HPA’s First Project and Orica’s Yarwun manufacturing facility within the Gladstone State Development Area in north Queensland.

The nature of the HPA First Project process is such that the use of reagents and the manufacture of by-product is highly complementary to the existing processes in operation at the Orica Yarwun facility, Alpha HPA says. The agreements secure the commitment from both Orica and Alpha to leverage the process synergies to unlock the value from both companies’ projects, it added.

The agreement comprises a Project Implementation Agreement, which describes the capital investment obligations of the parties and the scope for project commissioning and reagent and by-product validation trials. This includes the construction of the full-scale HPA First Project by Alpha HPA and, for Orica, the construction of the piping, tankage and process controls required to deliver reagents to, and receive by-product from the HPA First project.

The agreement confirms a 10-year initial term with an optional extension of 10 years by mutual agreement.

Alpha HPA’s First Project represents the commercialisation of the production of circa-10,000 t/y equivalent of high-purity alumina and related products using the company’s proprietary licensed solvent extraction and HPA refining technology. The technology provides for the extraction and purification of aluminium from an industrial feedstock to produce 4N (>99.99% purity) alumina for the intended use within the lithium-ion battery and LED lighting industry.

Orica to open access to the Integrated Extraction Simulator with JKTech deal

Orica says it has signed a landmark software licence agreement with JKTech Pty Ltd that will give it access to models developed by the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) that are used in comminution and flotation simulation.

The agreement will open industry access to the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) with JKMRC models – by combining widely applied industry models into one integrated and collaborative cloud-hosted platform that simulates and optimises every step in the mining value chain, the company said.

At the back end of last year, Orica was selected as the commercialisation partner for the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction’s (CRC ORE) IES, a cloud-based software platform designed to reduce the use of energy and water in mining through the application of simulation, optimisation and machine learning.

IES has been developed from the combined research of CRC ORE, The JKMRC and AMIRA, and, to this point, has been available free to CRC ORE 1 Participants (term 2010-2015) and CRC ORE 2 Participants (term 2015-2021) when used in research projects and site-based implementations.

Integrating and optimising drilling and blasting, crushing, grinding and flotation, IES provides mine managers with a cloud-based decision support platform that enables production departments to coordinate and optimise system value across all operational metrics.

“Mining operations have to process multiple material types simultaneously in their operations – so their simulator platform should be able to as well,” CRC ORE says. “IES has been designed from the ground up as a platform for multi-component modelling and the new generation equipment models are responding to the challenge. Trusted models from years of research have been upgraded to ‘multi-component’ capability and IES offers model developer’s sophisticated tools to facilitate multi-component processing.”

Orica Vice President Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, said: “This partnership will allow us to continue to underpin advances in simulation and industry value creation, from orebody knowledge through to the final product.”

Newmont’s Canada mines hit wireless initiation milestone with Oricas WebGen

Newmont has continued to leverage the benefits of fully wireless initiation in its blasting process, having initiated its 500th blast using Orica’s WebGen™ system at its Canada mines.

The milestone was achieved at three of its underground mines in Canada, which are blasting with WebGen. Each site uses different mining methods, and all have achieved improved performance and safety in their overall mining processes with the implementation of innovative WebGen-enabled mining techniques, Orica says.

“The key to Newmont’s success was its ability to think differently and to take advantage of pre-charging with ‘no strings attached’,” the company added. “Eliminating the physical connections to each blasthole and the need for re-entry allowed the blasting sequence to be arranged for optimised outcomes.”

The blasting process changes help mines deliver significantly improved ore recovery and has simultaneously reduced interactions, cycle times and rework, according to Orica. WebGen wireless blasting technology is an innovation that enables process change unlike any other, by pre-charging blasts and firing blasts after access to the area is lost, it claimed.

Newmont’s WebGen journey started at the Musselwhite mine in late 2016 following Orica’s launch of the first-generation wireless initiation system, WebGen 100. The Orica technical team identified an opportunity to use the new technology and approached the Musselwhite team with a new concept, the “Temporary Rib Pillar (TRP) Avoca Mining” method.

Over the following months, workshops, detailed design reviews, risk assessments, crew meetings and signal surveys were completed and the first TRP stope was designed and ready to be blasted.

The initial stope was drilled and loaded in November and December 2016 and fired in January 2017.

Over the next year, the Musselwhite and Orica teams continued to use and refine the TRP method.

“As confidence in WebGen 100 increased, the teams explored other opportunities where wireless blast initiation could significantly improve safety and stope performance,” Orica said. “Several other wireless enabled mining methods were developed and evaluated through these collaborative efforts throughout 2017 and 2018.”

The results so far from the WebGen collaboration include a 20% reduction in mucking time, 14% improvement in production tonnes per day and 34% reduction in ore dilution.

Following the success of Musselwhite gold mine, the team from Éléonore Mine approached Orica in late 2018 to explore the possibilities of implementing the WebGen system on-site. The team conducted a two-day face-to-face workshop where the technical and operations teams from Éléonore and Orica met and conducted an in-depth review of Éléonore’s production mining operations.

The workshop ended with a commitment to complete a joint wireless blasting optimisation project, Orica said.

“A project charter was developed, which involved a detailed 10-stope evaluation across various geometries with the primary goal to improving stope recovery,” the company explained.

“Preparation started in early 2019 with detailed design sessions, signal surveys, risk assessments and crew information sessions.”

The first stope blast was loaded in February 2019 and fired in March. The project’s scope was completed by late summer and the project delivered and exceeded all the agreed performance metrics, according to Orica.

Sill pillars at Éléonore represent a challenge for both ground control and drill and blast teams.

“WebGen technology allowed us to safely and efficiently recover side-drilled stopes by greatly reducing worker exposure and stope cycle time,” Ugo Marceau, Drill & Blast Engineer at Newmont Éléonore, said.

Results from the WebGen introduction at Éléonore include an 86% increase in ore recovery, 72% reduction in stope time and 71% increase in drilling rates.

While the Éléonore project was underway, teams from Borden and Orica had already “white boarded” various wireless enhanced stoping scenarios to increase mining efficiency in Borden’s complex geometry.

“The main goals were eliminating as much lateral development and cemented rock fill as possible while maximising ore recovery,” Orica explained. “As with both Musselwhite and Éléonore, signal surveys, risk assessments and crew information sessions were completed to prepare the first stope.”

Borden’s first stope was loaded in early April and fired later that month. Once again, the outcomes from using WebGen exceeded those expected from a conventional approach, according to Orica.

Eric Fournier, Mine Engineering Supervisor at Newmont Borden, said: “Orica have been partners with us from the very beginning. The WebGen team is very professional, knowledgeable, and easy to work with. The technology is great but the people behind it make it happen. WebGen technology allows us to be a safer and a more efficient mine. It removes the need to send people around hazardous conditions that exist after a blast.”

Results from the Borden implementation include 98% actual ore recovery and 17% actual dilution.

Orica concluded: “Wireless-enhanced production mining has been expanded across these three Newmont mines. The WebGen system has proven itself as a reliable initiation system and enables drill and blast engineers to modify existing mining methods for substantial improvements in safety, productivity and cost reduction. This has been an exceptional journey together with Newmont and highlights the results that can be achieved through innovation and collaboration.”

Barrick Hemlo boosts productivity with Orica wireless blast initiation solution

Orica says testing of its WebGen™ 100 solution at Barrick Gold’s Hemlo mine in Ontario, Canada, has shown wireless blast initiation can improve the economics of its Alimak stoping.

In early 2019, Hemlo’s management team approached Orica and Manroc to explore opportunities for improvement via the application of wireless blast initiation. Through a series of workshops, Orica and Barrick Hemlo worked together to identify opportunities to use WebGen 100 wireless through the earth initiation technology in its Blind Alimak Mining application.

This Blind Alimak Retreat (BAR) concept was aimed at improving both safety and productivity, and included:

  • Reduced exposure time related to Alimak entries;
  • Improved ore recovery from 70% to over 90%;
  • Increased recovery by maximising blast design, sequence, and available void;
  • Increased mucking rates while decreasing cycle time; and
  • Optimised crew logistics by using single pass loading.

To expand operations and aid in the longevity of mine life, both efficiency and recovery were top priorities for the Hemlo team, Orica said.

Alimak Mining is normally done either in small repetitive blasts cycles, from the bottom of the raise up to an upper sill, or, in the case of blind Alimaks, as a mass blast into the void that exists in the raise and undercut below.

Given that access is lost after the mass blast, the size of the blast (Alimak height) and recovery is often restricted by “free face” and available void. At Hemlo, the Blind Alimak blast performance was limited by underbreak in the top third of the Alimak (footwall break) due to the available void becoming choked off during blast progression. Using wireless blasting technology, the team was able to eliminate all void limitation, Orica said.

The solution was to develop a blast design with optimised burden and spacing as well as timing and blast sequencing, allowing well-defined portions of the Alimak stope to be taken at the appropriate time. Single-pass loading was used to achieve the safety and productivity benefits.

Breaking the Alimak stope into five pre-loaded portions (each increasing in size to capitalise on void created during the excavation process) allowed for flexible blast management throughout the mining process, Orica said.

“With the ability to merge and increase blast sizes based on in-field results, the operation had unprecedented control and was able to operate outside of the traditional constraints of mining cycles,” it added.

With three days of continuous loading, Hemlo was able to achieve a month-and-a-half worth of blasting while freeing up the Alimak crews to move on to the next stope, according to Orica. To maximise the blasting sequence, the first blast (wall slash and five rings) was blasted with Orica’s i-kon™ III Electronic Blasting System. The next three blasts (two merged) were fired with WebGen 100 units when ready, with performance verified with bucket counts and CMS.

The results of the project stope were extremely positive and proved that wireless blast initiation can improve the economics of the Alimak stoping, according to Orica. Key benefits included significantly reduced personal exposure (reduced by over 50%), increased stope recovery and cycle time. The success of the Alimak has also led to the introduction of wireless blasting into large blind up-hole patterns at Barrick Hemlo, solving similar issues to that of the Alimaks, Orica said.

The outcomes of this project delivered a 40% improvement in productivity through decreased cycle time, faster mucking rates, improved ore recovery from 70% to over 90%, and increased safety by eliminating countless re-entries and hookups, while stripping rail and logistically simplifying the operations process.

Recovery improvement and productivity gains delivered significant value and increased revenue for the customer, Orica added.

“The project has also shown the ability to increase the height of blind Alimak stopes without concern for available void, thereby eliminating the need of top sill development moving forward,” it said.

This successful trial has led to full-time technical collaboration with Barrick Hemlo mine since the end of 2019. Including this evaluation at Hemlo, Orica has successfully fired more than 50 wireless initiating system blasts loaded with over 2,700 WebGen 100 units.

Orica leverages MWD data, AI to create new blast loading design benchmark

Orica is looking to set a new benchmark for blast loading designs in Latin America after deploying its Design for Outcome solution in the region.

The company, focused on integrating its digital blasting tools to improve outcomes, is leveraging its BlastIQ digital blast optimisation platform within this new solution, Angus Melbourne, Chief Commercial and Technology Officer of Orica, told delegates at Massmin 2020 last week.

In a presentation titled, ‘Blasting’s Critical Role in Extracting Ore’, Melbourne mentioned Design for Outcome as an example of where the company was delivering integrated digital solutions in Latin America.

“Design for Outcome is an automated continual optimisation solution that sets a new benchmark for blast loading designs,” he said. “It utilises data science to process both upstream and downstream data to automate blast designs. This produces tailored and optimised blast designs by reducing blast variability and explosive consumption while increasing productivity.”

Using machine-learning algorithms, Design for Outcome processes measured-while-drilling data to classify ground hardness throughout each blast hole and then match explosives energy to hardness domains to automatically generate tailored blast loading designs, Melbourne explained.

Through artificial intelligence, these algorithms are trained with the data received from the fleet control systems (FMS) and previous blast results. This enables final automation of the blasting design process and its execution in the field with Orica’s smart control systems and programming interfaces, loading the blast accurately according to the generated design. These elements combine to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved, Melbourne said.

“Digitally-enabled blasting solutions such as Design for Outcome are allowing us to work with customers in different ways, to think and act differently and expand our role in the mining value chain,” he said.

Such a solution is part of the company’s plans to automate its segment of the mining process. This goal was strengthened last month with the launch of the Orica and Epiroc jointly developed Avatel™ semi-automated explosives delivery system.

A key enabling technology of Avatel, which is built on the foundation of Epiroc’s Boomer M2 carrier, and Orica’s automation vision is WebGen™, the company’s fully wireless initiation system. When combined with Orica’s LOADPlus™ smart control system, specifically designed on-board storage, assembly, digital encoding capability and Subtek™ Control bulk emulsion, Avatel provides customers with complete and repeatable control over blast energy from design through to execution, Orica says.

While referencing the second key pillar in Orica’s digital strategy, Melbourne highlighted the use of the company’s Bulkmaster™ 7 smart, connected explosives delivery system in Latin America during the virtual event.

The new delivery systems not only improve productivity but begin to digitise critical workflows between design and execution in drill and blast operations, according to Melbourne.

The Antamina copper mine in Peru, a joint venture between BHP, Glencore, Teck and Mitsubishi, will soon be leveraging such a system, with Melbourne confirming seven Bulkmaster 7 units had been shipped to the mine and were undergoing commissioning.

Orica’s third digitalisation pillar is the measurement of downstream impacts of the drill and blast process, which is where FRAGTrack™, the company’s automated rock fragmentation measurement device comes into play.

This device captures, analyses and reports real-time data for optimising blast operations, improving downstream productivity and tracking overall operational performance in mining and quarrying, Melbourne explained.

This system is active across several key customer sites in Latin America, with Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo operation in Chile being one of the first to adopt the technology in the world, according to Melbourne. He said the copper operation is using the insights to deliver efficiencies across the value chain through digitally enabled optimised blasting.

Orica to take CRC ORE’s IES cloud-based simulation technology global

Orica has been selected as the commercialisation partner for the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction’s (CRC ORE) Integrated Extraction Simulator, a cloud-based software platform designed to reduce the use of energy and water in mining through the application of simulation, optimisation and machine learning.

The award followed a competitive selection process, with the global mining explosives and services giant set to take the reins of the platform’s growth strategy from July 2021, with plans for global expansion of the technology.

Orica’s interest was initially driven by IES’s introduction of blast simulation into the mineral processing value chain, CRC ORE said. While mine operators can use controlled blasting techniques as an effective augmentation of the rock breakage process, Orica also saw the wider application of IES as an obvious fit with its expanding digital solutions offer across the whole mining value chain.

“By harnessing the virtually limitless scalability available through cloud computing services, mining companies can now use IES to configure multiple design options for a mineral processing plant,” CRC ORE said. “IES then tasks each design and simulates its performance for every day of operation over the life of a mine. This high-resolution simulation of each design leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of optimal mineral processing.”

Orica intends to expand this capability into a global solution for mining companies, enabling them to design their mineral processing using IES, and then leverage IES’s capability every day to drive continual operational improvements.

CRC ORE Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ben Adair, said having a company the calibre of Orica as commercialisation partner is testament to the enormous opportunity and benefits that the simulator provides to the mining industry.

“We have worked with our Participants over many years to refine our simulation platform,” Dr Adair said. “As a foundation Participant in CRC ORE, Orica shares our commitment to optimising resource extraction and our passion for the continued development of the simulator.

“The scale offered by Orica’s global reach, in addition to its sustained investment in research and development and unwavering focus on innovation, makes it the ideal custodian of IES.”

Orica has been evolving towards its vision of an integrated ore extraction mining services company, with this vision including investing in digital solutions where continuous innovation and open integration with other industry systems across the mining value chain are key to the delivery of whole of mine optimisation for customers, CRC ORE said.

Orica Chief Commercial and Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said Orica is primed to take the simulator global and continually evolve the technology to meet the ever changing needs of the industry.

“This is a great example of industry collaboration developing solutions to industry level problems, and we are extremely proud to be part of it,” he said. “It is a fantastic opportunity to continue Orica’s 11-year relationship with CRC ORE and further expand our digital solutions offering by combining our blasting domain expertise with this leading simulation technology to customers and beyond worldwide.”

Orica Vice President Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, said: “From a technology perspective, we see enormous synergies with our existing blasting and measurement solutions, including BlastIQ, FRAGTrack and ORETrack. We are also excited to integrate our automated, data science enabled blast design technology and solutions with IES, offering end-to-end digitised workflow solutions from orebody knowledge through to mineral processing in an open, secure, and connected platform.”

CRC ORE’s team of developers and consultant engineers will integrate into Orica from July 2021 and will continue to be led by CRC ORE’s current General Manager for the simulator, Nick Beaton.

Beaton said: “IES is now at the right point in its development to become commercially sustainable while continuing to develop new capabilities. It will be thrilling to continue this with Orica.

“We have demonstrated that the simulator can improve the value of major mine sites by some 5-6; this is significant for the mines using the simulator and for the whole industry.

“Optimisation of processing operations by use of IES will also enable step-change reductions in power and water consumption, while greatly improving recoveries of marginal ores, all contributing to the future sustainability of mining operations.”

The transition of the IES business to Orica will take place in the middle of 2021 when CRC ORE’s term comes to an end. In the meantime, CRC ORE and Orica, together with industry partners, will continue developing innovations to drive continual improvements throughout the mining industry. Continuing this innovation, Orica looks forward to IES participation in the next iteration of the Amira P9 project.