"While there remains a place for the more traditional blasting methods – with their characteristic limitations – the Global trend is very much towards advanced blasting solutions."
What have been the recent developments at BME?
BME’s continued technological progress and the internationalisation of our brand has steered us to be a Global leader in blasting solutions. This is being driven by the powerful combination of our service excellence, our high-performance bulk emulsions, drive for innovation and our advanced electronic detonation systems. These are now encapsulated to provide a complementary system of offerings which has transformed BME from an explosives company to an integrated blasting solutions provider.
We are seeing increased demand for our bulk emulsions in various segments, based on the markets recognition of the performance of our Innovex™ products. This is driven by the ESG imperatives mining customers are continuing to apply, and therefore acknowledge our incorporation of used oil as a fuel agent in our emulsions.
With our recent launch of AXXIS Titanium™ and AXXIS Silver™ we are exceeding market expectations in terms of safety, precision, and reliability. The momentum of our technology offering, including our Blast Alliance suite of digital solutions, is certainly a key factor behind our successful growth trajectory and forecast.
What are the key demand trends in SADC?
The fortunes of mining have been rising in several SADC countries, as they have around the world. The difference in this cycle is the central theme of sustainability and ESG that accompanies capital investment. Those companies driving investment in SADC are approaching their projects in an increasingly responsible manner. This includes a shift towards decarbonisation and greener technologies, as evident by the growth of the electric vehicle market in some parts of the world. This in turn is driving demand for greater volumes of battery minerals, which need to be responsibly mined.
Please describe BME’s latest products launched and their uptake in the market?
A foundation of our capability to provide custom-designed blasting solutions is our Blast Alliance suite of digital tools. This gives customers real-time insight into the performance gains being achieved, while integrating with mine-site platforms for easier planning, control, and reporting. Elements like BLASTMAP™ planning software, AXXIS™ electronic detonation systems and XPLOLOG™ cloud data management all work seamlessly to provide sustainable blasting solutions for the mine of the future. The enthusiastic uptake of these innovations in our key markets has proven their efficacy and relevance.
What are the key features of your flagship AXXIS™ Titanium electronic detonation system?
As the latest generation of our world-class electronic initiation system, AXXIS Titanium™ allows even larger blasts – raising mine efficiency by reducing mine-stoppages. It can now initiate 1,000 detonators per blasting box, allowing up to 20 blasting boxes to be synchronised to initiate up to 20,000 electronic detonators in a single blast. The ultra-low energy micro-chip extends the firing time to a maximum of 35 seconds. Safety is also further enhanced, with the upgraded chip in our detonators facilitating inherently safe logging and testing before blasts. By adding memory and processing speed, the ASIC chip allows easier timing and centralised programming – if the timing needs to be changed after being conducted on the bench.
What is BME’s mineral & geographical diversification strategy?
Our internationalisation strategy has been underway for many years, and we are reaping the fruits of this approach. We are well established throughout Africa, with a significant presence in Australia and South-East Asia. More recently, our venture into North America is progressing well, with a regional modular AXXIS™ assembly line already shipped to Canada – to be followed soon by a regional Innovex ™ emulsion bulk plant. Our products have already been stress-tested to operate in these often demanding environments, and we are excited to see expansion into these territories.
BME’s tailored suite of products delivers improved results for varied geologies, so we are not limited to any mineral or ore.
What are your objectives for 2023 and final message?
BME is at an exciting point in our technological progression, with our cutting edge, integrated offering that opens the door for mines to pursue their productivity and sustainability ambitions. While there remains a place for the more traditional blasting methods – with their characteristic limitations – the Global trend is very much towards advanced blasting solutions. These will deliver not only immediate and tangible benefits to mining operations, but create a path towards continuous improvement based on technologies that drive mines of the future.