HomeGoldBlasting commences at Egypt's Sukari Gold Project

Blasting commences at Egypt’s Sukari Gold Project

AEL emulsion

The AEL emulsion plant during
construction at Sukari.

Explosives group AEL recently installed its emulsion plant at the Sukari gold project in Egypt and commenced blasting operations at the mine.

Sukari gold mine, which saw Bateman Engineering as engineering contractor, is situated in the eastern desert, approximately 28 km west of Marsa Alam on the Red Sea, and located 800 km south of Alexandria and 300 km north of the Sudan border. The mine is jointly owned by Pharaoh Gold Mines (PGM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Centamin Egypt, and the Egyptian Mineral Resource Authority (EMRA).

AEL was awarded the Sukari contract by PGM to supply bulk emulsion technology and downthe- hole services during mid-2007. After receiving the permit in August 2008, AEL commenced fabrication of a US$3 million emulsion plant and ancillary equipment in Johannesburg, which was shipped to Alexandria, Egypt at the end of November, arriving on site during January this year.

The modular emulsion plant was erected in 20 days and produced the first emulsion in time for the first blast on the 1st February 2009.

Part of the AEL’s contract is to supply three Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMUs) to the Sukari Gold Mine. The MMUs are 14 tonne on/off road trucks with fully automated, PLC control systems that carry the raw materials, including emulsion and ammonium nitrate, from the plant to the bench, where a variety of emulsion blends can be produced to suit the different blasting patterns.

The first MMU was shipped to site in September 2008, the second during April 2009, with the third unit due early 2010, targeting approximately 4,600 tonnes of explosives during 2009, increasing to 13,000 tonnes in 2011.