WorldWide Drilling Resource

27 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® NOVEMBER 2020 Blasting Technology Bringing Mines into the Future Adapted from Information by BME Global explosives company BME, a member of Omnia Group, is bringing mines of the future a little bit closer to reality with its latest technological advances for the blasting industry. “Harnessing technology as quickly as it develops - and applying it to make blasting safer and more productive - is vital to the mining sector’s sustainability,” said BME Managing Director Joe Keenan. “Mines are seeing the value in closer digital monitoring and control of all their systems and operations. Innovation is therefore an industry-wide imperative that is demanding closer collaboration - not only with mines but between technology suppliers themselves.” Over the years, BME’s success has been based on incorporating technology throughout its product range, including cold emulsion explosives, digital initiation systems, consumables, and cutting-edge software. The company’s commitment to digital innovation has enhanced its resilience during the recent pandemic, and ensured customers were continuing to be supplied and supported. This has allowed customers to continue with their blast planning and execution with minimal disruption. BME’s powerful BLASTMAP™ software facilitated remote blast planning where necessary. In the future, this program could prove to be extremely valuable to mines with restricted access. “Our systems were able to reduce the points of physical contact to reduce infection risks, including a digital solution that replaced the need for truck drivers to exchange paper documents with mine security staff to gain access to site,” Keenan said. “There is a growing drive from mines to do more with less, so digital technology will continue to be an important tool in achieving increased efficiency.” BLASTMAP™ identifies explosive hole loads and assigns hole firing times. These are downloaded into its AXXIS™ electronic blast initiation system using the AXXIS™ Logger for detonator programming. After the blast, data from the AXXIS™ Logger can be used to compare as-designed versus as-fired initiation information. The accuracy and reliability of the AXXIS™ system has also allowed larger blasts, enabling mines to conduct blasting less frequently, which reduces disruptions caused by blast-related pit stoppages. This means increased productivity overall. Much of the progress towards the mine of the future will be achieved by more effective collection, storage, and analysis of blast-related data, to feed the continuous improvement loop. To do this, BME integrates its blast design, blast recording, and blast delivery systems. “Integration of blast data allows for easier interrogation of results, which guides the drilling and blasting process to produce consistent, quality blasts,” stated BME’s Global Manager for Blasting Science, D. Scott Scovira. EXB Joe Keenan