Starts with a bang

Louise Smyth

High-energy bulk explosives deliver mining and milling improvements at Australian hard rock mine

A new range of high-energy bulk explosives has been introduced to the Australian market.

The solutions are designed to deliver considerable financial benefits for customers in hard rock metal mines.

The bulk explosive Vistis from Orica produces over three and a half times the detonation pressure of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO) at triple the relative bulk strength.

The energy levels generated and the speed with which they are released delivers optimal fragmentation that reduces overall operating costs either through pattern expansion, without impacting load and haul rates, or by providing broken stock that increases milling efficiency.

The Vistis range is designed specifically for wet blast hole applications. Alongside this, the Vistan range of bulk explosives is designed for use in dry and dewatered blast holes.

When combined with the precision timing of Orica’s electronic blasting systems and its capabilities in drill and blast design, modelling and operational loading, the Vistis bulk system has the potential to deliver major financial benefits to customers.

Success at Mount Rawdon

Orica has worked with Evolution Mining’s Mount Rawdon, Australia operation since the site’s commencement in 1998. In recent years, both parties have collaborated on a number of blasting-related business improvement initiatives. This has included the introduction of electronic blasting systems, blast characterisation and optimisation projects, and training of site engineers and blast crews.

Following on from this, the mine expressed interest in exploring the potential for increased mill throughput via a high-energy blasting solution.

“Orica worked closely with Mount Rawdon to understand what was important to the mine before proposing changes. The close working relationship, measurement of all the critical metrics around mining and milling, and changing the way we operated the milling processing all contributed to the results. The step change achieved from the Vistis system has been a key enabler of the mine-to-mill success and achieving considerable value for Mount Rawdon,” states Mark Boon, general manager, Mount Rawdon Operations.

Over the course of the trial, the project was able to deliver mill throughput improvements of 6%, a reduction in specific energy of over 7% and dig rate increases of up to 15%. In waste domains, pattern expansion of up to 55% was also achieved resulting in major operational and financial improvements for the mine.

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