Sub-Sahara Mining & Industrial Journal
Mining News

New bulk explosives system optimises productivity and costs

Blasting specialist Orica has launched 4D, its latest bulk explosives technology – a revolutionary 4D bulk system that enables 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.

The 4D bulk explosives technology will enable Orica’s customers to 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.

“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,” says Angus Melbourne, chief technology officer at Orica.

Delivering up to 23% more relative bulk strength for hard rock applications and up to 43% reduction in soft rock¹, 4D will enable a broader range of applications.

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 (BCM) to substantially reduce drill and blast costs.

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.

Adam Mooney, Orica vice president – blasting technology, describes 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 MMUs equipped with LOADPlus, Orica’s proprietary in-cab smart explosives delivery control system that 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.

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.

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