Minimising the Impacts of Blasting

Dyno Nobel’s ethos is to work in partnership with our customers, earning us the enviable reputation of being a trusted global partner. We listen to our customers’ needs and work with them to tailor an approach in delivering ground breaking solutions.

The use of ammonium nitrate based bulk explosives during blasting activities is well known and widely used throughout the world today. A known risk associated with these products is the generation of excessive nitrogen oxides (NOx).  While a number of factors have been identified that can contribute to excessive NOx generation, these contributing factors can change from site to site and blast to blast. As NOx emissions can have significant environmental, health, safety and community impacts, we have been a leader in researching and developing new and improved products and blasting methods to reduce NOx emissions since 2007. In 2014 we launched Titan 9000xero, a new reduced energy, bulk explosive which contains a high performance emulsion, Titan 9000, blended with a specialised bulk additive formulated for reducing NOx fume. During 2018 we continued to work on the development of a high energy form of the product with large scale field trials in 2018. Titan 9000xero has been tested in Eastern Australian mines in soft, wet tertiary material which is frequently associated with excessive NOx generation during blasting. The results continued to impress with no NOx emissions recorded during trials. Read our case study Controlling Fume Generation with TITAN® 9000xero®

The practical innovation of Titan 9000xero is not only reducing NOx fumes, but also making our communities and environments safer. It is specially designed for use in soft, wet/damp ground conditions, frequently associated with excessive NOx generation. The flexibility to deliver Titan 9000xero in changing ground conditions is critical. This product can be delivered into dry or dewatered blast holes using an auger, or pumped into the bottom of wet blast holes. Titan 9000xero is a water resistant, flexible solution for reducing the risk of excessive NOx generation, solving a challenge many of our clients are facing.

Ground vibration and noise are also impacts that our customers are seeking to reduce, both for the community and for health and safety reasons. We are responding by training our customers in the use of electronic initiation system technology. This technology allows the more accurate detonation of a single blast hole, which in turn allows the use of a computer model to reduce the blast-induced shock waves that are transmitted through the ground. The detonations of each blast hole can be programmed to introduce interference between the shock waves, thus reducing the vibration that is felt. Read our Case Study Making Way for Increased Production of Hydroelectric Power in Southern Vermont as one example of the application of this technology.

 

During 2018, we continued to grow the use of Differential Energy to help our customers reduce energy use, blast fumes and nitrate leaching to the environment while providing other safety and production benefits. DeltaE has been in operation across the US over the last three years and is well established in quarry and construction and hard rock mining where customers value its safety, environmental, and efficiency benefits. This technology was introduced to our Asia Pacific customers during 2018 with trials completed in gold, iron ore and coal applications. A proprietary explosives method which allows blasters to accurately vary the density of chemically gassed emulsion as it is being loaded into the blast hole, it allows the operator to load multiple densities of gassed emulsion into the same hole in order to match the unique geological characteristics present in the ground. Because the explosives energy is precisely targeted to match the rock properties, the amount of energy loaded into the blast hole will match what’s needed for an optimal blast. This reduces energy use, the associated GHG and vertical movement at the surface, resulting in less air overpressure and noise from the blast event. It also improves air quality, mine productivity, rock fragmentation and dig-ability. Read our Differential Energy Case Study 'Trial Leads to Continuous Improvements For Mine' below, and others here.


The use of Differential Energy continues to result in reduced NOx emissions, reduced energy use, less noise and ground vibration and increased productivity while reducing overall costs for our mining customers. 

 

 

Case Study: Differential Energy Leads to Continuous Improvements

A surface molybdenum mine in the United States found that by switching to Differential Energy (DeltaE)with TITAN® 1000ΔE, they were able to improve safety, air quality, productivity, fragmentation, and dig-ability. This technology enabled the mine to redistribute the explosive energy in the borehole, putting energy where it was needed by varying the detonation pressure, while using a single truck to load both wet and dry holes. Up to this point, fragmentation, oversize, and hard toes had all been occasional issues for our customer. In addition, some blast events had produced NOx, limiting the size of their blast events.

 

We worked with out customer to organise a formal three month trial of our Differential Energy technology. The primary goals established for the trial were to:

 

• Improve safety with consistent product performance;

• Improve air quality by reducing NOX after blast fumes; and

• Improve productivity of the loading process, i.e. faster turnaround times of bulk truck;

• Improve fragmentation and

dig-ability; and

• Lower the overall costs of operating mine and mill.

 

TITAN 1000ΔE emulsion, together with the Dyno Nobel ΔE bulk truck technology, allows blasters to accurately vary the density and viscosity of chemically gassed emulsion as it is loaded into a borehole. This technology enables multiple densities of gassed emulsion to be loaded into the same hole. This particular surface mine blasts in a variety geologies. As a result, the blast crew pushed TITAN 1000ΔE to density extremes in order to extract the greatest value from the technology and the trial was extended to six months, over which time there were 109 blasts.


Safety
Prior to the trial, the mine had reported incidents of undetonated blasting agent in their muck piles. TITAN 1000ΔE proved to be a reliable and resilient product that provided dependable results. No undetonated blasting agent was found in the muck piles during the trial. 

Air Quality  
Due to the excellent water resistance of TITAN 1000ΔE, the number and severity of NOx incidents was significantly reduced. This has allowed the mine to consider revising their air quality permit to allow for larger blast events. Water resistance also limits the dissolution and run off of nitrates.  


Productivity 
The success and versatility of the Titan ΔE has allowed the mine to go from two bulk trucks to a single truck that can load both wet and dry holes. The Titan ΔE truck not only has a faster turn-around time than the blend truck, but it also has a larger capacity and can load more holes per cycle. 

Fragmentation & Dig Ability 
Oversize and floor grade problems were noticeably reduced during the trial period. There were no physical measurements of fragmentation and dig ability during the trial, but shovel operators and drill and blast management observed a significant improvement in dig times.