BHP claims world’s largest electronic blasting title

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has broken the world record for an electronic blast at the Caval Ridge coal mine in Queensland.

Using Dyno Nobel’s Digishot technology, the blast saw 4.7 million metres of overburden shifted in a blast fired with 2194 tonnes of bulk explosives across 3899 holes.

This took 14 days to load, involving engineers, schedulers and the E and F blast crews.

It also combined four related blast patterns using 8144 detonators, which as BHP drill and blast superintendent at Caval Ridge Dallas Gostelow explained, was a number never set before at one time.

Gostelow said using the electronic technology made significant safety, efficiency and cost improvements.

“Timings for the detonators are fully programmable and each blast hole is physically connected to the surface by a wire, but the system is less complicated and fully digitised, which means higher fidelity of tie in to reduce misfire potential,” he said.

Being able to fire larger blasts or multiple blast patterns in one event means equipment downtime is kept to a minimum.

BMA principal category management total cost of ownership (TCO), drill blast and geology Jason Smith attributed the successful outcome to the collaboration across asset, function and supplier.

“The significance of it is the precision timing you can get from using electronics rather than pyrotechnical blasting, which requires thousands of metres of on bench tie-in work and can lead to poor blast fragmentation,” Smith said.

“With the collaboration between Dyno and BMA, it is allowing Dyno to improve their product and giving BMA the advantage of better blasting and fragmentation and larger shots.

“This is a perfect example of the commercial teams working in the background to strengthen a supplier relationship and the site and supplier working together to deliver superior results.”

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