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AEL Mining Services prides itself on pushing the frontiers of explosive technology and has subsequently ensured its resilience into the next decade.

It has achieved this with an offering that bridges the detonator divide. Unprecedented in the detonator market, AEL will soon be launching its DigiDet ST detonator which exemplifies intelligent blasting by achieving precise initiation, says AEL product manager Ashlin Pillay.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 9 2018

“AEL identified a gap in the market between shock tube and electronic detonator offerings. It is to this end that DigiDet ST has been developed to address the market need and as such, elevates initiation systems to new technological levels,” says Pillay.

He notes that AEL provides surface and underground bulk emulsion with initiation systems to cater for the entire mining landscape.

“The company prides itself in delivering superior initiation systems as well as tools to manage the blasting data during pre and post blasting stages.”

Used in conjunction with the DigiDet ST is IntelliShotTM, a system which features a fast and simple deployment method, autonomous detection and testing of detonators, and energy monitoring right up to the point of blasting.

The system has the capability to fire up to 16 000 detonators in a single blast with ease.

Equipped with multifunctional capabilities, the IntelliShotTM Commander can be used as a bench commander, base commander or a repeater as and when the function is required.

The system has a long-range (line of site up to 3 km) communication capability, which is further enhanced by a repeater functionality giving the user a defined 6 km communication range.

The IntelliShot Detonator is a fully programmable electronic detonator that has 15 times more memory than its predecessors.

Industry trends

“Blasting remains the most cost effective form of rock breaking, with the risk of safety to the user being of critical importance,” notes Pillay.

He explains that it is this initiative that drives all involved to look at better ways of mining, adding that this is where remote-operator explosive technology is taking center stage in the quest towards autonomous, safe mining.

All operations are under immense pressure to deliver optimal blasting that enhances the efficacy of the downstream process.

This means that blasting has to be accurate to achieve improved fragmentation which directly affects load and haul, the dilution or loss of quality grade material which needs to be managed to improve handling and processing time.

Pillay explains that moving forward customers can expect continuous optimisation and improvement in its differentiated product offering which aims to cater for all mining conditions.

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