Sep 28, 2017

Breakthrough for wireless blasting

Breakthrough for wireless blasting Orica blasting research technician Emma Cook during production trials at Ernest Henry mine.

Explosives manufacturer Orica has announced the successful production trials of its WebGen 100 wireless electronic blasting system, in what it describes as a game-changer for the industry.

WebGen 100 allows groups of in-hole primers to be wirelessly initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air. This removes constraints often imposed by the requirement of a physical connection to each primer in a blast.

Orica chief commercial officer Angus Melbourne described the technology as being a game-changer for the industry, saying: “WebGen is a world-first technology, and that is something we are very proud of.

The WebGen 100 wireless electronic blasting system.

“The WebGen 100 wireless blasting system not only improves safety, by removing people from harm’s way; it improves productivity, by removing the constraints imposed by wired connections and importantly, is a critical pre-cursor to automating the charging process.

“The entire industry is moving rapidly towards an automated future and the introduction of WebGen signifies that we, Orica, are serious about being a big part of this automated future.”

The first production trial blast took place at the Ernest Henry Mine near Cloncurry in north-west Queensland.

Thirty rings were pre-charged with WebGen well in advance of the cave and then initiated from mine control on the surface.

WebGen eliminated the need for mine site personnel to work near the brow to hook up the blasts, and also demonstrated that lost brows would not remain a production risk.

Orica said the system was easily integrated into their current method of operation with no misfires or production delays.

In a second production blasting trial took place at Goldcorp’s Musselwhite mine in Northern Ontario, Canada, where five temporary rib pillars were pre-charged using Orica’s WebGen primers.

Orica is now working to produce a wireless primer specifically for surface mining applications.

WebGen will be featured at the AusIMM Underground Operators Conference on the Gold Coast in October. (Details here)