BHP Mitsui Coal’s Poitrel mine has claimed the title of world’s largest blast using wireless technology, after successfully completing the third blast in a trial series to test Orica WebGen technology.
The latest blast on Sunday, October 13, saw 1.3 million cubic metres of overburden shifted in a strata blast fired with 1920 WebGen 100 units across 534 holes.
Poitrel mine production manager Jayson Smeeton said the technology offered significant safety and efficiency improvements.
It features wireless in-hole primers that are initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air.
“Wireless blasting means we are able to really reduce our people’s exposure to dust in the pit, and eliminates the potential for misfires because they do not need to physically tie each hole in to the blast pattern,’’ he said.
“Eliminating the need to tie in each hole also makes the process for loading explosives far more efficient, and less susceptible to wet weather delays, as the pit does not need to be shut down because of the potential risk of accidental ignition during thunderstorms.”
The first trials conducted in May and June were small shots to test the technology.
BMA said the latest trial involved a more complicated strata blast, with the top and bottom decks of the shot fired at different times to maximise fragmentation, and preserve the coal below.
Further production blasts, including through-seam blasts are planned for the next 12 months.
Watch footage of the blast HERE