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Firm to streamline blasting for mines

24th February 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer

     

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Despite the steady decline in production from the South African mining sector, there have been some recent mine expansions for minerals in high demand.

Wherever possible, blasting and explosives solutions provider BME is pursuing these opportunities as part of the company’s growth strategy, which includes a strong global expansion.

“At the level of the Omnia Group, our holding company, there is also appetite to strategically invest in mining-related businesses that are complementary to the group’s existing investment base. With the aim of strengthening the business, Omnia is always looking to add value to its portfolio when the right opportunity presents itself,” states BME MD Ralf Hennecke.

To overcome challenges related to reliable infrastructure to serve the local mining market, the company has invested strategically in building a capable and resilient manufacturing base and logistics network while being true to its environmental and social responsibility, with Hennecke emphasising the resilience of BME’s supply chain across Africa.

“The strength of our supply chain is based on having local production facilities, as well as a wide global network of suppliers to draw from. We are proud of the fact that – even during the Covid-19 lockdowns and border restrictions – our customers experienced no stockouts of our emulsion explosives and other blasting requirements.”

He adds that BME’s raw material supply is, therefore, always adequate for the company’s needs and, consequently, ensures that customers never experience stockouts.

Further, the company’s manufacturing and logistics success is built on safety, reliability and matching the stringent standards of mining customers.

Hennecke states that the unreliability and rising cost of South Africa’s national power supply is possibly the largest threat to the local mining sector, and makes expansion operations at mines difficult.

“Like our customers, BME has responded proactively to the country’s energy supply issues, installing solar power at our manufacturing facilities to ensure continuous production capacity. This strategy is also in line with the Omnia Group’s focus on sustainability.”

Supporting Local Mining

Hennecke explains that, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and its disruptive impact on the global economy, South Africa’s mining industry has demonstrated its importance to the country’s economic wellbeing.

“The positive demand trend for minerals indicates that the immediate outlook remains positive. However, the environment for success is not as conducive as it could be, and we see this in the low levels of local exploration activity. This needs to be turned around urgently to maintain South Africa’s mining sector into the future.”

He enthuses that there is value in how BME serves local mining, as the company is focused on security of supply and delivering technology-driven efficiencies to mining customers.

With the growing demand for battery minerals, miners are looking for ways of enhancing production levels from the same infrastructural base.

These miners must, however, simultaneously contain cost inflation to remain competitive, which BME’s offerings can help them achieve through quality blasting that streamlines mine efficiency down the value chain.

“BME has grown locally in opencast and underground applications, and has seen considerable growth opportunity in future-facing mining operations that are harnessing technology for greater productivity. Our innovation ethic means that we are continuously leveraging the power of electronic and digital technology – from blast planning and implementation to monitoring and assessment.”

Combined with its decades of experience and response capabilities, BME has built a strong technology infrastructure to capitalise on mining opportunities.

In addition to its well-known emulsion products, BME is also serving mines with its leading AXXIS electronic detonation system.

Hennecke remarks that this system is augmented by BME’s Blast Alliance suite of digital blasting tools for mines to plan, execute and monitor their blasting for continuous improvement. These solutions can be integrated with on-mine information systems for seamless data management and control.

“We will continue to build on our strong relationships with mining customers, developing and applying our blasting solutions to each operation’s specific requirements.

“Our approach is to ensure that safety and productivity are paramount on every work site, and that we support customers’ efforts to improve energy efficiency and production levels while meeting their sustainability goals,” he concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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