Advanced Initiating Systems (AIS) has announced the largest electronic detonator blast at the Daunia open cut coal mine in the north-eastern state of Queensland, Australia.

The mine is owned by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), a 50:50 joint venture between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi.

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A total of 5,665 detonators were fired in 2,683 blast holes, each of them having a depth of 19m, using BME’s AXXIS digital detonation system.

Daunia is situated in Australia’s Bowen Basin coalfield, and has selected the technology in response to its faulty ground conditions.

Faults tend to slide over each other during a blast in case they are not well controlled.

AIS managing director Trevor Grant said: "These misfires are eliminated with electronics, as the detonator operates as a stand-alone entity the instant you push the ‘fire’ button."

"The use of the AXXIS system and electronic detonators allowed the mine to better control and manage the shock waves and rock movement arising from the faulty ground conditions.

"The size and success of the blast demonstrates both the ease of use and the confidence that the client has in the system."

"The size and success of the blast demonstrates both the ease of use and the confidence that the client has in the system."

Staff at the Daunia mine performed the blast using a single initiation point and one master control box.

BME technical director Tony Rorke said: "The improved control of the blast helps keep vibration levels down.

"This in turn improves safety in the opencast mining environment, as high vibration levels can undermine the integrity of the pit-wall."

BME’s blast design software BlastMap III was developed as an integral part of the AXXIS system and has been used to design the blast.

Image: Multiple vector initiation points. Photo: courtesy of SBPR Communications.