Explosives environment, cost efficiency in the spotlight

21st November 2014 By: Ilan Solomons - Creamer Media Staff Writer

Explosives environment,  cost efficiency in the spotlight

USED-OIL LIFE CYCLE Black oil in emulsion refers to the life cycle of used oil

Mining companies increasingly needed cost- effective, safe and environment-friendly explosives systems that were simpler to use and produce, said explosives company AEL Mining Services technology group executive director Liesel de Villiers at an event held by the company in Bryanston, Johannesburg, last month.

Speaking at the AEL Mining Services 2014 Blasting Masterclass, she noted that the need arose because of the increasing economic, social and legislative pressures that global mining companies faced.

De Villiers explained that all blasting had to ensure that the minerals were delivered in optimal condition for further processing in the most cost-effective manner.

“Also, global legislation pertaining to explosives is becoming increasingly demanding, coupled with the supply chain constraints on shipping, with transporting explosives by road and/or rail driving innovation in the production of explosives products,” she stated, adding that there was also a need for more environment-friendly products and processes.

Further, she highlighted that AEL, as a member of JSE-listed speciality chemicals group AECI, placed a high degree of emphasis on ensuring that its products and practices were environment friendly.

Black Oil in Emulsion

De Villiers explained that black oil in emulsion referred to the life cycle of used oil.

“When companies have large operations – particularly those with a high degree of mechanisation at their mine sites – which are producing large amounts of used oil, this used oil can be collected and reused for the production of explosives products.”

AEL is recycling used oils to produce explosives at many mines worldwide.

“The largest mine at which AEL is using the used-oil-to-explosives model is at a closed mine site that uses 2.5-million litres of diesel a day in South-East Asia,” noted De Villiers.

At this site, AEL collects about 7 300 ℓ of used oil each day for use in the manufacturing of explosives for the mine’s operations.

“Obviously, if [our] mines do not have such large sites that can generate these volumes of used oil, then we can potentially use the used oil from a local supplier,” stated De Villiers.

Moreover, she explained that the benefits from an environmental perspective were significant, as mines were limited by what they could do with large amounts of used oil