World record blaster makes Australian mark

By recently extending the world record for the most electronic detonators in a single blast, BME has set a new mark in Australia.

Within the blasting market, electronic detonators are providing the giants of the industry with the ability to apply millisecond accuracy to both underground and surface blasts.

BME is increasing its presence as a supplier in the digital detonator space with its AXXIS digital initiation system.

The South African-based company, which has a continental footprint that covers 17 African and eight international countries has embarked on an opportunity in the Australian market for innovative and safe blasting methods.

“One of the biggest requirements among mining companies in the Australian market currently is to safely boost productivity,” BME Australia Asia general manager Brad Bulow says.

BME has been able to stand out with the safety, reliability and ease of use of its AXXIS electronic detonators.

“The detonators allow you to apply millisecond timing accuracy to overcome any number of blasting challenges,” Bulow explains.

“It enables you to create great blasting outcomes even when environmentally constrained, or when additional fragmentation or control is required. It also allows specialist timing to reduce coal losses in through-seam blasting.”

The company has further stamped its mark on the global blasting industry by extending the world record for the most electronic detonators fired in a single blast, a feat it previously achieved in a Zambian operation.

The Australian record blast fired 7350 AXXIS electronic detonations in a single shot – loaded and blasted by a Central Queensland coal mine.

There were no errors or delays in the execution of the shot and the blast was logged, tested and fired within two days- the result is emblematic of BME’s growth within the Australia market.

“Electronic detonators allow you to control energy impacts adjacent to critical structures,” Bulow explains.

Given the Australian market’s focus on safety, Bulow says the two-way communication with the AXXIS detonators minimises risk of a misfire.

The flexibility of electronic detonators has been another contributing factor to the rapid growth of the Australian market to over four million pieces per annum.

The application of the device in underground mines is also a natural fit, given the complex and intricate nature of blasting beneath the surface.

BME technical services manager Tom Dermody describes the challenges faced by blasting in underground mines.

“They are complicated environments,” he says. “You require systems to safely blast from the surface by communicating underground through the rock, tunnels and passes after the workers have cleared the area.”

BME’s AXXIS centralised blasting system (CBS) enables mining companies to blast safely from the surface.

The AXXIS CBS product can be flexibly linked with the mine’s fibre optic, copper wire or wireless communication system, according to Dermody.

“It allows for safe and efficient management of the blast and also gives real time feedback,” he says.

While the process has already been in use within BME’s South African operations, increased demand within the Australian market led to its launch in 2019.

As BME looks for further Australian growth, Bulow says BME is ready to provide the safety- and technically-focused market with proven and successful blasting methods.

Bulow says, “the timing is perfect for BME to now build further on the base we started to build here five years ago with the innovative AXXIS electronic detonator range leveraging our significant research and development program.”

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