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BME to start local manufacturing of blasting technology in Western Australia

BME MD Ralf Hennecke

BME MD Ralf Hennecke

8th March 2024

By: Sabrina Jardim

Creamer Media Online Writer

     

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Having actively built its foundation in the Australian mining market over the past decade, global blasting and explosives specialist BME is ramping up its footprint and capability with facilities in the west of the country.

“Our first decade in Australia has been focused on importing and marketing our premium AXXIS electronic initiation system.

“The next exciting steps, however, go well beyond that into local manufacturing of detonators and other products and equipment in our own certified, state-of-the-art automated facilities. We also have our mobile manufacturing units in the country to fully integrate with our other products,” says BME MD Ralf Hennecke.

The licensing processes have been completed for a site that BME Australia has secured in the Kalgoorlie area of Western Australia, a region strategically positioned to best supply iron-ore, gold, nickel, lithium and other strategic mineral resource miners.

This will allow the company to become the first local manufacturer of electronic detonators in Western Australia, providing significant supply chain security and logistical benefits to mining customers. The plan is to begin production by May 2024.

“Manufacturing in-country removes considerable supply chain risk for the industry, which the Covid‑19 pandemic highlighted for every sector,” says Hennecke.

A similar facility has already been established in Canada as part of BME’s globalisation drive. The Western Australia plant will be able to draw on equipment that has been tried and tested in the company’s South African operations, including a semi-automated line from BME’s Losberg plant.

BME has built on its strong relationships with global blue chip mining companies in the planning of its new plant, and has reported a high degree of interest from the sector’s leading players.

Trials have been conducted with AXXIS electronic detonators at various mines in Western Australia, yielding positive results.

Hennecke notes that there has been a significant shift away from shock tubes and towards electronic detonators in Australia’s mining sector as mines look to safer, automated solutions.

“This aligns importantly with the very strict safety policies and regulations that the country has in place. The technology contributes to industry’s risk mitigation efforts, but also holds performance benefits in terms of facilitating large, accurate and reliable blasts which support mines’ sustainability and productivity.”

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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