Mining & Minerals Product Review Sep/Oct Vol 6 No 5

ISSN 2219-0880 R49.70 NEW PRODUCTS • DEVELOPMENTS • TECHNOLOGY • INNOVATIONS VOL 6 NO 5 BRINGING BUYER AND SUPPLIER TOGETHER September | October 2013 Having a blast, the safe way By Matthew Wood – staff writer HEALTH AND SAFETY > FEATURE Blasting, an essential part of mining, is the process of fracturing material with a calculated amount of explosive so that a predetermined volume of material is broken. From the earliest days of blasting with black powder, there have been steady developments in explosives, detonating and delaying techniques in an effort to improve safety on mines. The mining engineer is responsible for the selection and proper placement of these explosives, in order to maximise efficiency and safety. Blasting occurs in many phases of the mining process, such as development of infrastructure as well as production of the ore. Extensive progress has been made in the lessening of grave injuries and mortalities as a result of mine blasting operations. Although progress has been made, incidents continue to happen. A leading cause continues to be inadequate blast area security. Constant vigilance will always be required. While significant improvements in technology have been made, ensuring adequate blast area security remains a challenge and requires constant vigilance. Premature blasts, misfires, flyrock and fumes are just some of the risk that are involved and the best safety practices are paramount. The use of explosives in mining date back some 400 years A scene from the blasting procedure. | Interact with your industry ago. While innovations have developed for the sake of safety and efficiency, there will always be room for improvement to ensure that human lives are preserved. Information provided by the Society of Explosives Engineering cites a number of factors to always bear in mind: • A commitment to training and continuous improvement. • A safety-first culture within the industry. • Ongoing development of safer explosives products. • Past experience and research that help shape regulations and laws.  • Clear communications of blasting safety protocols to communities. • “As a player in the field of blasting in Africa’s mining industry, we know how crucial the quality of blasting is to the success of any mining operation,” said BME marketing manager Hayley Wayland. “We are also aware that declining levels of blasting skills are costing the mining industry millions of rands annually in lost production.” Developments MMPR spoke to group consulting mining engineer Simon Tose at AEL Mining Services to get better insight into the role explosives play in the South African mining industry. Over the years, the industry has seen developments in explosives, detonating and delaying techniques in an effort to improve safety in mines, some highlights: • The introduction of pumpable explosives both on surface and underground means that the products only become explosives when mixed and pumped into the blasthole, eliminating the need to transport explosive cartridges along with associated risks such as stolen explosives. • A dedication to less wastage and better control over the mass of explosives pumped into the blastholes provide great economic gain. • The use of electronic detonators has significantly improved the ability to time and design blasts to minimise the impact of environmental concerns such as noise, airblast and flyrock. The use of control systems with multiple lockout keys and passwords reduce the risk of uncontrolled blasting. These systems also remove the potential for blasts to be fired illegally or influenced by electric currents from the mains or batteries or natural events such as lightning. Skills and blasting A biting question when it comes to any sector in any industry in any part of the world is, is the skills base strong enough? “There is significant improvement in the development of mining engineers out of our universities and technical institutions,” said Tose, “the problem still remains balancing Continues on Page 2 PAGE CONTENTS 01 Health and Safety Continues on page 2 06 Management Paving the way forward 09 Mining and Engineering Instrumentation: the music of maintenance in mining 15 Business Tax 101 18 Training The halfalogue - the other side of the story 19 Transport/Mobility Going underground Mining & Minerals Product Review • September | October 2013