Blast Movement Technologies scoops National iAward
A Queensland innovation in electronic blast detection received national recognition for excellence in the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the 2011 Gala Awards Night held in Melbourne on Thursday 4th August.
The iAwards encompassed ICT use across multiple fields including communication, health, education, research and education. The Blast Movement (BMM) system received the Industrial Application award.
Judges sited the BMM system’s use of innovative technology, ease of application and its potential to significantly reduce ore loss and dilution at any open cut mine that uses selective excavation.
With mines routinely recording a 5 to 20% loss of valuable mineral in every blast, BMMs already save mining companies tens of millions of dollars per mine every year.
The inventors of the BMMs formed a company, Blast Movement Technologies (BMT), to commercialise the combined hardware and software grade control solution in 2005 after conducting initial research at the University of Queensland. Since then, the prototype has been transformed into a robust commercial product now used in mines across Australia and in more than 10 countries around the world.
The BMM system works by placing hardened transponders into drill holes in an orebody prior to blasting. After the blast a portable detector is used to locate the new position of the markers, thereby determining the movement vector of the blasted ore. Ore has often moved more than 10 metres.
Once downloaded to BMT’s proprietary software the information is quickly and easily transformed into accurate, three-dimensional movement vectors, redefining ore boundaries, and enabling the most precise identification of ore and waste available to the industry.
From the organisation’s base in Brisbane, Blast Movement Technologies Director and Principal Consultant Darren Thornton said the award was a highly valued recognition of the quality of this advanced system.
“The team at Blast Movement Technologies has worked tirelessly to lead the mining industry into an age where the precise measurement of muck pile movement can now have a significant impact on improving mine reconciliation.
“We are honoured to accept an award like this that recognises not only our leadership in innovation but the potential value Blast Movement Monitors can add to mine operations around the world,” Thornton said.
Thornton said that while Blast Movement Technologies were hands-on in providing training to use the system, it was the system’s practicality and rugged durability that make it popular with both the judges of the iAwards, and a growing number of mine operators.
“I think our success stems from our ability to apply the latest technology into a simple, easy to use system that any site personnel can navigate.
“When we begin working with a mine we perform a comprehensive evaluation of existing blasting practices while training staff on just how easy it is to use the Blast Movement Monitors.
“Most mining engineers and senior managers accept ore loss and dilution as a cost of doing business, however they are always surprised by just how much money they are losing by unintentionally dumping high grade ore as waste, and shipping useless waste to the plant for expensive processing,” Thornton said.
“All of the mines that we work with have recorded significantly decreased loss and dilution, which translates directly to increased profits. Improved reconciliation of planned versus actual ore grades enables more control of the mining process.
“Once the site team is actively using the system as part of its blasting procedures we provide ongoing support and maintenance as required,” Thornton said.
“Thanks to this recent recognition we are hoping to have a bottom line impact on more and more mining operations across the country and around the world.”
The Blast Movement Monitor System is currently being used by leading Australian and international mining companies including Barrick, BHP Billiton, Mt Gibson Iron, Newcrest, Newmont, AngloGold Ashanti, Goldcorp and Rio Tinto.
Mine operators seeking to enquire about the system should contact Blast Movement Technologies on 07 3202 9499 or visit blastmovement.com.