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In line with its renewed vision of embracing the technological revolution in the explosives and mining industry, AEL Mining Services (AEL), a member of the JSE-listed AECI Group in South Africa, has announced its official rebrand to AEL Intelligent Blasting.

The rebranding is aligned with the company’s mission to keep its global operations on the frontier of technology through the delivery of ground-breaking innovations; to offer state-of- the-art technological solutions to clients and to operate sustainably, without harm to people, the environment and the communities in which AEL operates.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2019

AEL through its offering aims to demonstrate the intelligence and thought leadership that goes into the execution of the ‘perfect blast outcome.

“Our new branding seeks to capitalise on our successful growth and expansion, and supports our strategy to position the Group as the most intelligent choice in the market when it comes to blasting services and products,” says AEL MD, Edwin Ludick.

Through AEL's IntelliBlast total value proposition, this holistic and flexible approach deploys blasting services that extract optimum value from any blasting operation, with its combination of products, services and solutions.

Each component of the value proposition is backed by an inherent intelligence that helps achieve efficiency, safety and reduced total cost of ownership through blasting outcomes.

AEL’s newly launched Blast Consult team offers expert technical services across a wide range of related disciplines – from blast monitoring, design, timing, fragmentation analysis, technology conversion, i-Mining productivity programmes and blasting consulting services to providing
training in basic blasting principles.

Customer centric

In addition to providing expert technical services, to meet the changing needs and challenges of the mining industry, AEL operates on the ideal of partnering with its stakeholders and customers to bring into realisation the products and services they require to take the mining industry into the era
of digitalisation and smart mining.

“By partnering with our customers on their unique journey, we are able to ensure efficient and sustainable blasting practices by focusing on optimal blast outcomes, optimising blasting processes and solving blasting problems,” notes Ludick.

To this end, AEL Intelligent Blasting enables the strategic combination of
a comprehensive range of services and product offerings, tailored to proactively develop smart blasting solutions for optimal mining outcomes.

In addition, the exclusive contribution that AEL’s IntelliBlast value proposition offers the market is a fundamental component in the business’s global expansion strategy.

AEL’s market leading technology is already being used in Indonesia, Australia, South America and various locations in Africa.

This in itself has enabled various benefits to customers such as reductions in blasting delays and improved uniformity of fragmentation – while ensuring uncompromised safety at all times.

“We are continuously evolving and developing and the rebrand supports
this. All these efforts are underpinned by engaging with our customers to
really understand their needs and to develop a solution central to those
needs. Once we agree on the solution it’s a very good example of creating
good chemistry and great energy,” concludes Ludick.

AEL’s optimisation has a three-pronged approach to satisfy customer needs:

Blast optimisation specifically focuses on customers’ requirements and the impact blasting would have on the environment. Safety, as always, is the company’s primary objective.

In order to optimise blasting outcomes, AEL has a number of tools and methodologies specifically designed to make scientific and informed decisions around blast performance assessment:

  • Data collection and benchmarking
  • Rock characterisation
  • Blast and timing design
  • Blast hole assessment
  • Vibration and air blast monitoring
  • Velocity of detonation measurement

Mining productivity looks at the mining operation holistically to ensure that the benefits are derived from improved effciency in equipment, plant and benefication.

AEL will conduct various checks to ensure that blasted rock suits and complements the design of equipment and plant.

This process is supported by AEL’s sophisticated blasting software known
as IntelliHub, a suite of software that enables the design, predictive modelling and post blast assessment.

Expert training for blasters and supervisors is offered by AEL’s Blast Consult team:

  • The blasting competency programme is offered for surface as well as underground operations
  • The explosive handler, blast assistant and rock breaking courses are the basis for certification through the MQA to become a licensed blaster and meet statutory laws.
  • The explosive engineer’s course is a graduate level course given to train technical blasting and field staff. It focuses on advanced blasting applications and productivity improvement; and equips AEL staffwith the relevant knowledge to provide customers with value adding recommendations.

This holistic and sustainable approach enables efficiency and best practice through the application of experience and intelligent blasting technology.

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