BME’s blast blows up world record at Zambian mine

Block preparation for the AXXIS record blast
Image credit: BME

Blasting and explosives company BME, in conjunction with its client Kansanshi Mining, has broken the world record for the most electronic detonators fired in a single blast at the Kansanshi copper mine in North-Western Zambia. The Kansanshi mine, which is 80% owned by First Quantum Minerals, is the largest copper mine in Africa by production.

The blast was conducted in the Kansanshi Mine main pit on 29 September 2017 and involved 6 690 electronic delay detonators (EDDs) – successfully initiated using BME’s AXXIS digital initiation system. A seven-member crew logged and tested the blocks over a period of two days, pre-charging the shots on 20 September and completing on 28 September.

According to Wayde De Bruin, area manager for BME Zambia, all the holes were single-primed with a set-up that included nine different shots, 18 slave blasting boxes and one master box.

AXXIS Record blast for most electronic detonators fired in a single blast in conjunction with its client Kansanshi Mining PLC
Image credit: BME

“The blast moved approximately 455 000 bank cubic metres (BCMs) and consumed a total of 400t of emulsion explosives – yielding an overall average powder factor of 0.9kg per cubic metre,” says De Bruin. “The blasts were offset to keep the mass charge per delay to a minimum; the highest timing recorded on this blast was 6.520 milliseconds.”

“This blast follows previous records that BME has achieved in the past with our electronic delay detonators (EDDs),” says BME’s AXXIS global product manager, Tinus Brits. “Just two years ago at Kansanshi, we set an in-house record with 4 141 EDDs in a single blast.”

Electronic initiation is increasingly popular due to the reliability, accuracy and timing-flexibility of these devices, making blasting practice more predictable and allowing for larger and more cost-effective blasts.

12 Oct 2017

By Robyn Grimsley
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