CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Advanced technologies in mining explosives are making major inroads in the mining industry. This was highlighted by MAXAM, a global technological leader specialising in the design, development, manufacture and application of energetic solutions, at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, this week.
Delivering a presentation, MAXAM Bulk Products Technology director Fernando Beitia said better techniques were making a big difference in drilling and blasting for all rock types. This, in turn, generated savings throughout the value chain.
Beitia said MAXAM’s Rioflex bulk watergel explosive could achieve excellent performance in all types of rocks and multiple applications. He said it was the most energetic and adaptable bulk explosive on the market. The robust and flexible density bulk explosive contains less than 10% of water, compared with well over 15% for emulsion-based products.
Beitia explained that this had cascading benefits. The product has higher energy due to a lower water content. This resulted in expanded drill patterns, improved fragmentation, reduced cycle time and better crushing. Beitia said this provided a sustainable solution and was safe and better for the environment.
In reactive ground, the same Rioflex formulation is used since it is intrinsically inhibited, with no additives, like urea, that would reduce the energy output of the blast. This also boosts safety and minimises the environmental impact while maintaining the right fragmentation results.
Through a single product, Beitia said Rioflex is capable of providing different energies, which can adapt to multiple applications and rock types.
“Rioflex’s matrix is denser than emulsions. It has a higher limit density and superior energy at the bottom of the hole. This better distribution gives much better results.”
Beitia shared the example of MAXAM’s work in a large openpit gold mine.
“In large openpit mines we have reduced digging time by 24%, while reducing energy consumption by 6%. If you can reduce consumption by 6% in a gold mine, it is huge. It is also far better from an environmental point of view.”
At an UG copper mine - one of the world’s largest copper mines – the use of Rioflex had managed to improve drill productivity, reduce explosive charging time by 60% and increased advance rate to 97%.
Beitia said future improvements in mining needed to come from new thinking and new technology. It was important to have a comprehensive understanding of how all sources of energy were used in mining, while energy use should be rebalanced to improve safety, reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency and decrease the carbon footprint.
Rioflex technology has been tested at more than 140 sites in 25 countries, becoming a benchmark for customers looking to improve the productivity of their mines, quarries and infrastructure projects.