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Quality of Aggregates

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Quality and value are possibly two of the most ‘over traded’ words in the marketing realm.
Quality of Aggregates

Quality and value are possibly two of the most ‘over traded’ words in the marketing realm. When not linked to any reference or qualifier they become phrases that have no real commercial relativity and can become meaningless in the purchasing decision.

The quarrying industry relies on various inputs and efficiencies based on an accurate budgeted cost per ton for aggregate and acceptable margin from a typically fixed sales price. Costs need to be managed stringently and throughput increased to achieve higher returns. As explosives form a large cost of quarrying operations, one needs to understand what defines quality, and the impact of that quality, on quarry profitability.

Using known values of new and qualified raw materials, in the manufacturing process of explosives, gives theoretical blasting equations real value for powder factors. This equates to measurable results (all other factors being equal).

There is consistent quality in the final product, because of the procurement of vetted raw materials in the manufacturing process for emulsions. This means that consumers can have confidence in the explosives products as they will deliver energy reliably and consistently. This allows operations to form a departure point or baseline to measure improvements and concentrate on other areas of their quarries that can be improved.

In explosives, this could relate to consistency of viscosity, chemical stability of emulsions and predictable VOD’s. If these parameters are all in ‘check’ and the final sensitising of the product done correctly, the explosives will perform work down the borehole predictably.

Of course, the real measurement of a good or brilliant blast can be complicated to assess, given all variables. Typically, the blame game of poor explosives quality, poor drilling control and or poor blasting timing designs to name a few are often used when the outcome is not as planned. Is this not the dilemma that often leads to doubt and friction between internal and external parties on where the problem can be in an operation. Unless there is obvious evidence, there is always the question as to which party should bear the responsibility?

Part of this solution lies in ensuring the quality and reliability of the explosive used, as this can rule out a potential issue attributed to explosives performance.

Manufactured quality is of paramount importance as this can affect energy values, reliability, consistency and fragmentation results of the product used. One could apply a similar logic to drilling operations too e.g. was the drilling done according to planned spacing and depth?

Companies in the automotive industry take uncompromising positions on stipulating what fuels, coolants, oils and even tyres are used with their vehicles to ensure their marketed performance and reliability meets customer expectations.

Explosives should be no different.

Solar Mining Services, a new dynamic entrant to the explosives and explosive related services for the Mining and Quarry Sectors in South Africa, can offer a tailor-made approach to assist their customers in understanding the price curve.

We price for ‘’fit for purpose” where we don’t use a generic pricing model as prescribed by an ammonia index but use an Ammonium Nitrate indexed formula that reflects our business model, to keep the input costs for our customers as competitive and transparent as possible.

By Charles Hurly, Marketing Lead for Solar Mining Services.

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