Image from BME.
BME, a member of the Omnia Group, has broken the South African record for the largest electronic detonator blast, initiating 3,780 detonators in a single blast at a manganese mine near Hotazel in the Northern Cape.
BME has pioneered the use of cold emulsion explosives in Africa and innovated a range of electronic initiation and digital blast planning solutions, the company said.
According to Kobus Boonzaaier, BME area manager in the Northern Cape, the latest record was once again achieved using the company’s AXXIS GII electronic detonation system.
“This was a normal production blast for the mine, where our team on site was again able to deliver a quality blast to generate the customer’s specified fragmentation,” said Boonzaaier.
The record blast used 461 tonnes of BME emulsion explosive, which charged 2,679 blast holes measuring an average depth of 9,2 metres. Some 890,000 tonnes of overburden were moved by the blast, powered by high-quality emulsion from BME’s Losberg plant in southern Gauteng. BME also supplied the necessary accessories for the blast, including boosters and surface wire.
Boonzaaier added that the AXXIS system is facilitating the mine’s move towards larger blasts. This will allow blasting to take place less frequently, reducing the disruption caused by blast-related pit stoppages and improving the mine’s productivity.
BME has been providing the mine with a full blasting service since 2016, with a 23-strong site team on the block including a foreman, blasters, operators and assistants.
The company has notched up a string of blasting records since it introduced its AXXIS electronic initiation system to the local market in 2010. Early records included South Africa’s largest blast in 2011, which used 3,111 detonators to initiate a single blast at a nickel mine in Mpumalanga province. A record blast of 3,256 detonators followed in 2014 at a local platinum mine.
On the global stage, BME has a world record blast of 7,401 electronic detonators in the main pit of Zambia’s Kansanshi Mine, the largest copper mine in Africa. Before that, BME had also broken a world record in Australia, firing 7,350 detonators in a single blast at a large opencast coal mine in Queensland.