BMT blasts to an innovative future

BMT CEO Jacques Janse and Austmine chief Christine Gibbs-Stewart at the Prospect Awards.

Blast Movement Technologies’ (BMT) Blast Movement Monitoring System (BMM) is designed to reduce the financial impacts caused by mining blast movements.

The technology, which provides a massive increase in the accuracy of post-blast information, uses grapefruit-sized sensors called blast movement monitors (also acronymised to BMM). It is installed within the blast volume prior to detonation.

These BMMs are then located post-blast using a specialised detector. By combining the BMMs with BMT’s own BMM Explorer software, the 3D movement vector of the BMMs is calculated to redefine ore boundaries, calculate the value of recovered ore, dilution and misclassification, and even increase head grades.

Since blast movement is variable to quite a wide degree — between 0.5–40m — Blast Movement Technologies developed a solution that more accurately accounted for these variations.

BMT has been recognised for this innovation in the 2018 Australian Mining Prospect Awards with the Austmine Innovative Mining Solution Award.

Chief executive officer Jacques Janse says customers usually achieve a return on investment “within two to three blasts”.

“We help open pit mines generate additional value in every blast,” explains Janse. “Our solution has been implemented at more than 102 mines in 35 countries for use in all commodities, including copper, gold, iron ore, lithium, nickel, platinum, silver and zinc.

“Our global team of blast movement consultants help customers maximise the full value of their resource in Africa, Australia, North and South America and Russia. Our unique skill set of understanding and mastering the effect of blast movement in rock is a major strength.”

Millennium Minerals’ Nullagine gold operation in the Pilbara, Western Australia has seen significant gains using the BMM system.

The BMM System, in place of the cheaper blast vector indicator (BVI) method of blast movement measurement, increased data recovery rates from around 40 per cent to 94 per cent, generating additional revenue from previously undetectable narrow lodes.

Similarly, the White Foil open pit mine at Evolution’s Mungari operation in Western Australia returned similar results when switching from BVI, improving detection rates from 32 per cent to 93 per cent, resulting in an increase of $664,978 across eight monitored blasts.

Evolution’s Cowal gold mine, which also uses the technology, reported a 7 per cent improvement in mill head grades.

In Canada, Malartic reported estimated savings of C$7 million ($7.5 million) in the first quarter of 2018 by using the BMM System.

In this way, mine grade control teams are able to ensure waste reduction and by extension, improve mill efficiency.

The Innovative Mining Solution award is a crowded category at the Prospect Awards and competition this year has been particularly strong; BMT was chosen as the winner from eight nominees, including Aveva, Airobotics, Minnovare and New Hope Group.

“We did not expect to win the award given the very innovative competitors that were shortlisted,” says Janse. “We are honoured and proud for the recognition we received in a room filled with so many of the world’s leading mining companies and METS providers.”

BMT plans to extend its services and customer base into Russia and South America — having recently opened an office in Santiago — and continues to grow to meet requirements.

“We are currently slightly ahead of budget for financial year 2019 and projecting to achieve our set financial goals for the year,” says Janse.

“The growth phase we are experiencing is due to an increased uptake of our solution in Russia, South America, Africa and Western Australia. We are experiencing a positive but very busy 2018,” says Janse.

BMT’s research and development team is developing an off-the-muck-plie unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to further improve production efficiency and safety.

It is one of the areas that Janse claims mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) companies need to “watch closely in future”.

“As we move closer to the digital mine of the future we need to prepare ourselves to be a player with others in the METS space,” he says.