Tag Archives: wireless blasting

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.”

BHP Mitsui Poitrel becomes wireless blasting leader

BHP Mitsui Coal’s Poitrel mine, in Queensland, Australia, now holds the title of world’s largest blast using wireless technology after successfully completing the third blast in a trial series to test Orica’s WebGen technology.

The latest blast on October 13 saw 1.3 million cu.m of overburden shifted in a strata blast fired with 1920 WebGen 100 units across 534 holes, BHP Mitsui said.

Jayson Smeeton, Poitrel Mine Production Manager, said there were significant safety and efficiency improvements to be made by using the WebGen technology Orica is trialing, which features wireless in-hole primers initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air.

“Wireless blasting means we are able to really reduce our people’s exposure to dust in the pit, and eliminates the potential for misfires because they do not need to physically tie each hole in to the blast pattern,’’ Jayson said.

“Eliminating the need to tie in each hole also makes the process for loading explosives far more efficient, and less susceptible to wet weather delays, as the pit does not need to be shut down because of the potential risk of accidental ignition during thunderstorms.”

The first trials conducted in May and June were small shots to test the technology. The latest blast involved a more complicated strata blast, with the top and bottom decks of the shot fired at different times to maximise fragmentation, and preserve the coal below, according to the miner.

Further production blasts, including through-seam blasts are planned for the next 12 months, BHP Mitsui said.

Orica reaches electronic detonator milestone at Brownsburg facility

Orica, a leading manufacturer of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems, says it has now produced 100 million electronic detonators out of its manufacturing facility in Brownsburg, Canada.

The milestone Electronic Blasting Systems (EBS) detonator rolled off the production line on April 30.

Orica, Vice President, EBS, Adam Mooney, said: “Reaching the 100-million-mark demonstrates our commitment to customers in delivering a high quality and reliable supply of innovative blasting systems.

“Our state-of-the-art Brownsburg facility produces the full range of EBS systems for surface and underground operations, including i-kon™, uni tronic™, eDev™ and the world-first wireless initiation system, WebGen™. These market-leading EBS technologies, combined with our technical expertise on the ground, is how we deliver value to our customers every day.”

Since the first generation EBS manufacturing in 2006 at Brownsburg, Orica has continued to make advances in initiation technologies, supporting customers to enhance productivity with larger blasts, achieve faster deployment and blast set-up for both small and large scale blasting, and improve overall fragmentation and vibration control, it said.

Orica said: “The safety and reliability of Orica’s EBS systems are the best in the industry, the products are designed to perform safely and reliably even under extreme conditions. This includes extreme events such as detonators being struck by lightning, which customers face every day around the world.”

Orica’s EBS detonators are specifically designed with multiple safety features which enable protection against high-voltage electrostatic discharge, which occur in lightning strikes. These safety features were highlighted recently when an i-kon III detonator (pictured) in the Hunter Valley region of Queensland, Australia, was struck by lightning. The in-built safety features of i-kon performed as designed and did not result in an un-intended initiation of the explosive column, according to the company.

Today, Brownsburg has expanded production to include WebGen technology in the mining industry. This wireless initiation technology is breaking barriers in the mining industry, according to the company, through elimination of exposure to high-risk activities and enabling new mining methods and blasting techniques capable of delivering faster loading cycles, lower cost of production and improved, more flexible blasting reliability and management.

“The system provides for groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air, removing constraints imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast,” Orica said.

WebGen™ is a critical pre-cursor to Automation and Orica is proud to be leading the reimagination of the mining industry through digital, automated blasting with products and solutions like the BlastIQ™ Platform, a cloud-based digital platform designed to enable continuous improvement of blasting outcomes through insights and data integration.

Orica Vice President, Initiating Systems & Packaged Explosives Manufacturing, Leah Barlow, said: “The Brownsburg facility prides itself on being a safety leader in Orica, with an excellent focus on robust safety systems and a proactive view to managing risk. Our robust quality control procedures coupled with a strong working relationship with our critical suppliers enable us to deliver EBS detonators that ensure safe, precise and reliable fires around the world.

“This 100-million-mark milestone achievement is testament to the Orica commitment to safety, excellence and innovation and is as much an achievement to be shared with the local community for their support over the years.”

With the recent addition of a new EBS assembly line in Helidon, Australia, another key global manufacturing site for Orica, customers in the Australia Pacific and Asia region are now benefitting from a stronger and more efficient manufacturing and supply chain operation that ensures reliable and quality supply of EBS within the region, the company said.

Goldcorp and Orica looking at further WebGen applications at Musselwhite

Following successful trials of Orica’s WebGen™ 100 at the Musselwhite gold mine, Goldcorp says it is looking at further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using the wireless blasting initiation system at the Ontario mine.

Goldcorp said these blasting tests underground at Musselwhite indicate “a decisive step on the path towards full automation of drill and blast operations in the future”.

In 2016, in collaboration with Orica, Musselwhite began testing WebGen, a system which fires primers through hundreds of metres of solid rock. “The wireless system has been designed to fully integrate with a mine’s existing blasting systems and improves safety by removing people from harm’s way,” Goldcorp said.

The project was recently announced as an award winner, which recognised the development of the temporary rib pillar (TRP) mining method using WebGen.

“The TRP is a revolutionary mining method that uses WebGen technology to extract ore pillars that previously could not be recovered in underground operations,” Goldcorp said. “Using this new method, the main ore of the panel can now be blasted and extracted while the TRP holds back the waste rock backfill. The inaccessible pillars can be blasted, delivering reduced dilution, increased truck fill factors and improved overall productivity.”

The system tested at Musselwhite enables groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that uses an ultra-low frequency magnetic induction wave to communicate through rock, water and air, according to Goldcorp. “This removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection (wires) to each primer in a blast,” the company said.

The magnetic induction wave is transmitted by an antenna at around 1,800 hertz, and received by disposable receivers in each borehole, according to Goldcorp. Each 51 mm-diameter, 320 mm-long disposable receiver has a tri-axis antenna array to receive the signal, supporting any blasthole orientation.

Goldcorp said: “Following the blast plan, each disposable receiver is encoded with the Group ID for its blast, and each detonator with a delay time, just prior to being loaded into the blastholes. A standalone Code Management Computer (CMC) – a tablet wiped of other software – is uploaded with a CSV file from Orica’s blast design software. The CMC assigns the encrypted firing codes and delay timing into a preload blast file. A handheld encoder takes the data from the CMC and encodes each disposable receiver and detonator.”

Three separate codes make up the Group ID, and all three must be received from the transmitter to initiate a blast, according to Goldcorp. First, a wake-up code activates the appropriate disposable receiver from sleep mode. Next, the activated disposable receiver receives an arm code, which calibrates and synchronises the units. Finally, following the mine central blasting protocol, the fire signal is sent, firing each detonator according to its programmed delay time. Other disposable receivers, having not received their wake-up code, remain dormant in their blastholes, ready for subsequent blasts.

Following these tests, further drill and blast geometries and mining methods using WebGen are being explored at Musselwhite, Goldcorp said.

Musselwhite’s Chief Engineer, Billy Grace, said: “Since starting the TRP trials with WebGen in late 2016, our level of comfort with the technology has reached a point that discussing possible wireless applications is an integral part of our mine planning process. The entire team is excited by the possibilities that WebGen opened up, and the new opportunities they are allowing for us to increase our productivity and safety.”

At Orica’s 2018 AGM, Alberto Calderon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Orica, called WebGen “the most exciting development our industry has seen since bulk explosives in the 1960s”.