Having successfully pursued a global expansion in recent decades, South Africa-based blasting leader BME is making good in an exciting new phase for its Indonesian operations.
With mainly a trading presence in Indonesia for ten years already, the Omnia Group company has been active in full-service contracting for the past two – and is already receiving high-level recognition. In September 2021 BME Indonesia was honoured with a good mining practice award in the blasting services category by the Indonesian government.
According to Brad Bulow, General Manager of BME Australia Asia, this bodes particularly well for the company in a country with such a bright future in mineral production.
“Indonesia’s mining sector is well positioned for growth, and coal is the fastest growing source of energy production there,” said Bulow. “Coal is mainly used in Indonesia’s power generation, and the country’s supply is dominated by coal-fired power plants at this stage.” Forecasts indicate that coal will remain a dominant energy source in Indonesia and the South-east Asian region until about 2050, supporting power generation and other industry sectors.
“Nickel is also an exciting commodity for Indonesia, which is estimated to have the largest reserves of nickel in the world – more even than Australia,” said Bulow. “As an indispensable raw material for producing electric car batteries, nickel is one of the country’s fastest growing mineral commodities.”
Investors are looking at building smelters in-country to process nickel into raw material for batteries, while nickel ore itself has been banned for export by the government since January 2020.
Commenting on the recent good practice award, BME’s Business Manager Indonesia, Agusman, noted that such recognition meant a great deal – and would help cement BME’s reputation as an innovator with world-class standards of operation. BME Indonesia has been supplying explosive products and accessories into Indonesia for over a decade. Holding company BME is a leading player in blasting services and products in Africa, with a global presence including Australia, Canada and the US.
The company has also developed specific products for the region, including a single-salt emulsion. Widely known for its superior dual-salt emulsion technology, BME was able to respond to customer requests in 2019 for a single-salt option. This was put into use in early 2020 and has since been producing excellent blasting results. The product has even been trialled with used oil as the fuel agent, which has become an environmentally friendly and sustainable hallmark of BME’s emulsion products.
While BME Indonesia supplied mainly ammonium nitrate, packaged explosives, boosters, and electric and non-electric detonators before 2019, its large blasting services contract in South Kalimantan has opened the door for significant expansion.
“In this project, BME Indonesia has put to work four Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMUs) – our bulk explosives delivery trucks – and an on-site emulsion manufacturing plant,” said Bulow. “In addition to emulsion and down-the-hole services, we are also supplying our AXXIS electronic detonators to help customers achieve timing accuracy and control their blasting vibration.”
Another important aspect of BME’s technological contribution is in terms of the move by customers toward big data analytics, he said.
“Big data allows larger mines and their contractors to generate meaningful insights into their operations – paving the way to greater efficiency,” he said. “BME Indonesia is introducing our BLAST ALLIANCE portfolio of digital innovations, which includes our BLASTMAP planning software, BME Blasting guide app and XPLOLOG cloud data platform. Solutions such as AXXIS integration, custom development and training also fall under this brand.”
In the medium term, Bulow said the company looks forward to winning more projects and penetrating further into surface metals and underground mining – and the funding, innovation and advanced technology is in place to achieve this goal. “Looking further ahead, BME Indonesia expects to continue growing its contribution to Indonesia in general – and local communities in particular,” he said. “This includes our transfer of knowledge and technology, the utilisation of local resources, and ongoing community development.”