Building on the flexibility and accuracy of electronic detonation, digital blasting tools can assist in enhancing mines’ efficiency and reducing carbon emissions’, says blasting and explosives solutions provider BME MD Ralf Hennecke.
He emphasises that software platform integration is key to ensuring that innovative digital tools can operate seamlessly with a mine’s existing systems. As such, BME’s collaborating with technology partners has aided the development of solutions that will enhance mining productivity.
An innovation that has received global acclaim is BME’s electronic detonation system, AXXIS. Developed by an in-house team of specialists, AXXIS improves the quality of blasts and mine productivity.
The fully programmable, accurate and easy-to-use electronic delay detonator system is one of the safest initiation systems available, says AXXIS global product manager Tinus Brits.
Among the capabilities that BME has brought to the mining sector are longer blasting windows to allow for larger and more productive blasts.
Applied in conjunction with BME’s Blastmap blast planning software, AXXIS demonstrates the value of product integration. Complex blast designs can be easily and quickly transferred from the Blastmap planning platform to the AXXIS initiation platform, he adds.
Blastmap can also export to third-party initiation systems.
Brits comments that the success of AXXIS led to the development of AXXIS Titanium, a new-generation blasting system, designed specifically with wire robustness, an easy-to-use interface and improved integration.
The system has improved the overall blast quality, which, in turn, ensures better rock fragmentation, thereby reducing energy consumption in downstream stages, including loading, hauling, crushing and milling.
The lower energy consumption translates into lower carbon emissions, particularly if the mine employs coal- or diesel-based electricity.
Brits adds that safety remains a key focus, commenting that “a safe mine is a productive mine”.
In terms of the company’s safety credentials, he notes that the commercialisation of AXXIS Titanium followed extensive laboratory and field testing in South Africa, which lead to the award of an Inspection Authority certificate by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Moreover, BME innovates its digital systems “constantly to raise the level of safety in blasting”. He cites the dual-basis safety system, which ensures that blasting occurs only when planned and that the blasting equipment is resistant to electromagnetic pulses.
Additionally, the over moulding of all components on the electronic board protects the detonators against dynamic pressures, and isolates components from any induced ground currents such as electrostatic discharge and lightning strikes.
“These safety improvements build on the high level of safety of emulsions when compared to Class 1 explosives,” says BME Used Oil Manager Sachin Govender.
BME’s emulsion formulations, that incorporate recycled used oil, also contribute to a more sustainable mining process.
The company has developed a large collection network for used oil, which responsibly transports waste oil from users for its production process. After being incorporated into the emulsion, the used oil is safely disposed during the blasting process. BME currently collects about 20% of South Africa’s used oil.
“Using this waste oil in our emulsions enables us to eliminate the use of diesel, which is a high-carbon source,” Govender adds.
“This plays a positive role in helping our mining customers achieve their environmental, social and corporate governance goals.”
Govender notes that this initiative has had positive environmental and social impacts.
“We engage small enterprises to collect and distribute the oil, which has an economic ripple-effect in local communities.”
BME has created about 300 job opportunities by implementing strategies for small enterprises to become suppliers of used oil.
“As we empower small businesses to create an income from this waste, we