Selwyn Pearton, BME senior operations manager

Explosives specialist BME, a company recognised for its opencast blasting technological innovation, is quickly gaining recognition for its underground product portfolio as well. The company has introduced a host of new products designed to reduce costs, save time and enhance blasting performance – particularly for South Africa’s deep-level mines. Laura Cornish reports.

In the 90s, emulsions moved from surface to underground. The technology however has only evolved recently to a level suitable for use in deep-level mines, says BME senior operations manager Selwyn Pearton. BME has been supplying emulsion to the mining industry since it was conceptualised and while it has an established footprint fi tting its systems to large mechanised vehicles (as has been standard practice for the past 15 years), this has become a slow, expensive, power intensive, tedious and inefficient system for transporting emulsions underground.

The company however has invested extensively in developing modern systems which address these challenges and improve on them. “The foundation of our new technology systems’ successes is our emulsion product,” Pearton notes. “It is extremely stable and high quality – BME’s emulsion can be pumped numerous times without causing product degradation; it can also be stored for extended periods with no reduction in quality.

All these factors have enabled us to deploy systems which overcome logistical challenges associated with transporting emulsion vast distances underground.”

The result of seven years’ worth of research and development has seen BME ‘blast’ its way into the underground market – trialling its new systems and technology at a number of underground mines in South Africa.

Modernised narrow-reef blasting at Tumela

As part of its modernisation strategy, Amplats’ Tumela mine has partnered with BME to introduce emulsion explosives underground at its 16 West shaft on Tumela mine near Thabazimbi in…

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