Orica’s flexible global supply chain of manufacturing plants and supply alliances allows it to deliver in full, on time, no matter where its customers are in Africa, and at competitive prices.

It was a successful 2019 for Orica as it won new business in the far reaches of West Africa and have already been able to demonstrate a reliable supply chain through challenging borders and terrain.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020

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And now, the company is set to build on that success in 2020. “We are well set up, we choose our stocking points carefully and optimise our in-land logistics to keep the cost as low as possible to the customer,” states Emma Axelsson, Orica’s Marketing Communications Specialist, EMEA.

Orica’s leading technology products are also supported by competent local technical services who are trained and supported from Australia, Europe and Johannesburg.

“We’re serious about our value added and have concluded several contracts with our value delivery programme, guaranteeing the customer a reduction in the total cost of mining over the contract period,” adds Axelsson.

Driving blasting in the digital era

Over past few years, Orica has been at the helm of next-generation blasting technology. The company has developed and introduced the world’s first wireless initiating system to the market, WebGen.

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WebGen communicates through rock, air and water to initiate blasts reliably and safely, removing people from harm’s way. “This industry-changing technology enables new mining methods and blasting techniques to increase productivity and reduce operating costs,” explains Axelsson.

During the same time, Orica has also developed the next generation BlastIQ, a cloud-based digital platform designed specifically to enable continuous improvement of blasting outcomes by integrating data and insights from digitally connected technologies across the drill and blast process.

From pre-blast modelling through to post-blast measurement and analysis, the BlastIQ platform delivers the data, benchmarks and insights needed to ensure sustainable, cost-effective improvements in blast performance at our customers operations. 

Long-term view needed

Reflecting on the African mining sector in the age of Industry 4.0, Axelsson believes that the needs to commit to a long-term view. “The longer the agreements with African governments, the better for the sector. Mining is a long-term game with a high capital requirement that requires a discipline that is different from other industries.

That discipline starts with safety and continues through every process of every cent spent on every ton mined. The last decade improved our sensitivity in managing the cost of mining these bulk products, and we as miners were happier than we were previously.

“In the new age of digital mining platforms, we can go beyond that with products such as WebGen, BlastIQ and FRAGTrac, backed by our world-class materials management systems, Orica is now capable of mining to a granular level of optimisation.

“We have partnered with world class miners who have committed their time and energy to customise these applications for their mines and the results are a ‘step change’ in safety, costs and optimisation.

“So, commitment to digital platforms over a longer period reduces the total cost of mining and improves safety and efficiency – we have demonstrated it and want to share these learnings all over Africa more broadly in 2020,” she concludes.

Continent ripe with opportunity

Orica is keenly focused on the African market to expand its operations. Speaking about its plans on the continent, Axelsson explains that the company plans to bring on more resources in the underground mining sector and to roll out its WebGen and BlastIQ products.

“Our underground software support package upgrade is also on the way and we are proud to say that several of these products are ‘world firsts’ and cannot be matched in the market;” she adds.

“Our other focus is on optimising our logistics routes as we win new business. We have just committed our supply chain team to big targets in 2020 to reduce the cost to all our customers throughout Africa. It’s a big ask, but we are confident that the tools we deploy to optimise our business are cutting edge and deliver real value, as we have done in 2019,” concludes Axelsson.

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