Normet pioneers battery-based charging of underground explosives

18 September 2019 (Last Updated November 21st, 2019 10:10)

Danger and safety hazards will always be key issues for the mining industry, as reflected in its ongoing journey in improving underground workers’ health and safety conditions.

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Normet pioneers battery-based charging of underground explosives
The Charmec MC 605 VE SD combines Normet’s battery electric architecture, SmartDrive, with the state-of-the-art emulsion charging technology. Credit: Normet.

Danger and safety hazards will always be key issues for the mining industry, as reflected in its ongoing journey in improving underground workers’ health and safety conditions.

The current increase in the number of mines choosing to blast rock with emulsion explosives has been one such step along this journey.

For the majority of the twentieth century, nitro-glycerine (NG) and ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) explosives were the chosen chemical compounds for blasting processes. In the following century, they were almost entirely replaced by modern alternatives such as pumpable emulsions.

The benefits of emulsions are unrivalled. They have made blasting a far safer practice due to their status as a 5.1 oxidiser until sensitised in the drill-hole and charged, making them safe to transport and handle underground.

But developments in the mining industry have not stopped there. This summer, Normet made history by being the first to pioneer a groundbreaking battery-based explosives charging process.

Battery-based charging for emulsion explosives

The new technology was tested and demonstrated underground at First Quantum Minerals’ Pyhäsalmi mine in Finland this June.

Underground mining and tunnelling company Normet deployed the Charmec MC 605 VE SD machine for the demonstration. The Charmec MC 605 VE SD leverages the company’s well-known Charmec charging technology, which has proven highly efficient for miners operating in even the toughest underground conditions.

The battery-based technology was integrated into the company’s SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle (BEV) range. The BEV range represents yet another positive development in the modern-day mining industry, as more and more companies have turned away from diesel vehicles towards those with zero-emissions to achieve higher productivity, safety and sustainability.

To be powered, charging equipment is traditionally hooked up to the mine’s electric grid. However, Normet’s latest battery-based explosives charging development has shown that there is a safer, easier and more efficient way to charge emulsions without relying on the grid.

Charmec MC 605 VE SD presents the future of explosives charging in underground mines. Integrated with the new battery-based emulsions charging technology, the SmartDrive electric vehicle offers Normet’s customers the highest value in terms of health and safety, ergonomics and productivity, with zero local emissions.

It comes with a full range of accessories that can be added on to fulfil a variety of customer needs.

This new battery-based charging technology complements Normet’s range of underground charging machines. Each piece of equipment has been designed and developed with the ever-pressing issue of safety in mind, and the Charmec MC 605 VE SD represents the latest step Normet has taken towards meeting the industry’s common goal of safety while satisfying even the most demanding of customer needs all over the world.

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