Continued investment and partnerships pivotal under current market downturn

BME MD Joseph Keenan discusses BME’s optimism about continuing to innovate for the mining sector (camera: Nicholas Boyd, Editing: Lionel Da Silva)

27th November 2015

By: Zandile Mavuso

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features


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In the current economic downturn, JSE-listed Omnia Group’s mining explosives division, BME, believes that partnership and continuing to improve productivity through product innovation are key to survival.

Delivering the opening address at BME’s twenty-third annual Drilling Technology and Blasting Conference earlier this month, at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, in Tshwane, newly appointed MD Joseph Keenan assured a room of about 300 delegates that BME’s aim continued to be finding ways to help its clients in the mining sector find efficient ways to operate through its product offerings.

“A lot is going on internally as we are working together as the BME team to find ways [in which] we can cater for the South African and African market under current market pressures. This has resulted in a lot of concentration on automation on our production side, which we believe will allow us to supply the market with what it needs,” he said.

Singling out the South African market, Keenan mentioned that, whlle catering for underground and narrow-reef mining operations, BME is working on finding ways to continually improve its portable charging unit for underground miners and its electronic detonators in order for mines to extract rock more efficiently.

Also, he noted that having an international footprint has been advantageous for BME as the company could make use of different technologies used elsewhere in order to obtain efficiency for African mine operations.

“What is of importance as well is our continued partnership with our clients as we work together with them in finding solutions that will be relevant for their operations,” Keenan said.

Moreover, during the conference, various presentations were made that aimed at dis-seminating knowledge on explosives engineering, blasting and geotechnology in an effort to help customers achieve faster, safer and more efficient ore recovery, which, in turn, would increase their bottom line.

BME explosives manager James McArdle presented on a case study that outlined the vertical pipeline partnership between BME and gold miner Gold One Modder East Operations. Blast Training International blasting consultant Alastair Torrance presented on postblast fumes, and US-based blast engineering and consulting firm RA McClure president Robert McClure addressed delegates on recent advances in photogrammetry.

Having worked in underground operations for over 20 years, BME GM Albie Visser presented a case study on BME’s involvement in the St Helena project. BME detonator technology manager Tinus Brits presented on a case study on BME’s involvement in the Singapore TEL rail project.

BME technical software technical manager Pieter van Jaarsveld highlighted the common mistakes made when blasting and BME blasting technology director Tony Rorke pointed out the downstream benefits of blasting correctly.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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