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Green blasting tech to be showcased

A man sitting in front of an AI Generated screen indicating the cycle of a remote blasting sequence

PLUG N' PLAY The new remote detonation technology offered by Orica will be showcased at this year's Investing in African Mining Indaba

26th January 2024

By: Halima Frost

Senior Writer

     

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Commercial explosives and blasting systems developer Orica will showcase its lead-free, non-electric detonator range, its 4D underground (UG) bulk explosives solution as well as its new electronic blasting system, at this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba.

The Exel Neo range, which Orica reports is the world's first lead-free non-electric detonator range, and the Omni Remote Blasting System (ORBS) were launched in September and August 2023, respectively.

As the world is embraces a trasition towards green energy and improved sustainability, the Exel Neo range negates lead or lead oxides being released, thereby decreasing the accumulation of toxic substances in the environment, explains Orica Europe, Middle East and Africa marketing head Abhisek Roy.

The Exel Neo range is testament to the company's commitment to sustainability. It allows for lead-free initiation, which results in reduced health hazards.

In addition, the Exel Neo range offers consistent and reliable performance and makes the detonators less sensitive to mechanical impact, consequently reducing the risk of a mass detonation.

Orica's 4D UG bulk solution is positioned to step change control over bulk explosive energy in underground production blasting, resulting in significant improvements in dilution control and ore recovery, having a direct impact on total cost of mining.

Roy further describes the new ORBS as a latest-generation, centralised electronic blasting system which has now been made available to Orica’s i-kon and eDev clients. It is designed to provide operations with the ability to safely initiate multiple development headings and production blasts concurrently from a remote, central location.

Further, ORBS allows for greater productivity by initiating up to 30 Remote Blaster 3000s, or up to 90 000 detonators, in one blast sequence.

“We’re focused on providing the latest innovations and technology advancements to clients,” says Orica initiating systems global head Dr Rodney Williams.

“Upgrading our electronic blasting systems is as much about strengthening capability as it is about enhancing our clients’ experience,” he notes, adding that Orica was conscious about developing a secure, simple-to-use and powerful system, which was achieved with the launch of ORBS.

A key feature of ORBS is its plug-and-play system that does not require clients to invest in additional infrastructure. It simply connects to a mine’s communication network over a local area network, WiFi or LTE, and users can operate the system from a similarly connected electronic device such as a personal computer, tablet or smartphone.

Growing Forward

Orica is assessing certain geographical areas and certain commodities – such as future-facing commodities, including lithium, nickel and cobalt – that it believes will start building demand traction in the next year, owing to the cleaner energy transition.

Major miners continue to invest in Africa, and the company has noted nickel projects coming online in, for example, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, with several new lithium projects in West Africa, East Africa and Central Africa, adds Orica Mining Europe, the Middle East and Africa VP Victor Morales.

“Orica is paying attention to the moves in the African mining industry, and we continue to develop our value position for these miners investing in the continent.”

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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