Global blasting solutions provider MAXAM’s premium bulk water-gel technology range of blends, referred to as RIOFLEX, has been well received by the South African market and will allow the company to build on its presence in the country for over 20 years, says MAXAM Southern Africa regional sales manager Bradley Gerhardt.
“Being the only supplier of this technology has not only opened doors but also provided the unique opportunity to discuss new and differentiated technologies in the market.”
He notes that existing and potential clientele are looking for new ways of optimising their operations. “With RIOFLEX, we are able to provide that unique offering and customise a tailor-made solution that addresses all their needs and expectations.”
A conscious effort was made to ensure a seamless transition in adjusting the offering to suit South African conditions, and the risks within this environment were controlled for, he emphasises.
During the process, MAXAM focused on ensuring that the integration and onboarding of the new technologies were done in conjunction with worthwhile consultation with clients, and that the technical support provided ensured the efficient use of the technology without compromising safety.
The RIOFLEX range of bulk explosives comprises a solid particle in a continuous water-phase suspension that is sensitised mechanically or chemically gassed, and then cross-linked in the borehole. This results in a solid gel product.
The product is sensitised on site and is flexible enough to be produced in multiple densities in one of MAXAM’s custom-designed mobile sensitising units.
Once it is produced, the density of RIOFLEX is fixed by a cross-linking process and it remains in that state regardless of changes in temperature or the passing of time. This process makes the product resistant to static as well as dynamic water, prevents product migration through cracks and avoids contamination from stemming material.
The product also enables the company to match explosive types to the appropriate types of rock by adjusting product density. This density can range from 0.6 g/cc3 to 1.32 g/cc3.
“This is unique to our product offering and enables MAXAM, through its technical support, to maximise efficiency and results in all environments,” enthuses Gerhardt.
He also points to the efficiencies of the RIOFLEX solution in terms of using explosive energy and water consumption, with the latter a result of reduced water content relative to standard base emulsions.
Gerhardt explains that this allows for more optimised use of explosive energy as less water needs to be heated to initiation temperature. This is done as water reduces the chemical reaction and consumes energy to be vaporised.
The product also enables MAXAM to change several parameters – including pattern expansion, explosive reduction through density control and production migration in the borehole – to realise a total cost reduction in mine operations.
Gerhardt suggests that innovative and solution-based approaches, such as the application of RIOFLEX, will be vital to MAXAM’s growth amid the suppressed market and lack of growth in local mining.
He reiterates that the company placed significant emphasis on demonstrating the value-added benefits of its products by implementing continuous improvement programmes targeting cost reduction over the mine-to-mill process.
“MAXAM is focusing on various initiatives aimed at mitigating risk in all phases of the value chain, with much attention on communication channels and consultancy to ensure that we identify any potential risk and allow for suitable control measures to prevent clients from being negatively affected.”
MAXAM released its new mobile graphical user interface application to the Southern Africa market earlier this year to improve productivity and safety in blasting operations. The X-Blasterguide application is user-friendly and is available on IOS and Android platforms for handheld devices.
The guide allows for quick access to blasting parameter calculations, useful reference data and user guides.
It also holds the company’s entire product portfolio, which assists the user in accessing product information and determining substitutes for explosive applications. It also comprises safety features for blasting operations and loading explosives.
“The market has welcomed the guide with its simple offering of blasting guidelines and rule-of-thumb parameters. “The application also considers safety through its risk assessment function to improve and support all safety initiatives,” Gerhardt concludes.