Orica upgrades electronic blasting technologies for better performance, sustainability

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Orica's fully lead-free electronic blasting system eDev™ II Neo used for underground development and tunnel blasting. Image supplied.

Orica announced an upgrade to its electronic blasting technologies, aiming to improve performance and usability while enhancing environmental sustainability.

In a media release, the ASX-listed company said it will extend its lead-free Non Primary Explosives Detonator (NPED) technology to create the world’s first lead-free electronic blasting system range at its Gyttorp plant in Sweden.

Following the launch of the Exel Neo lead-free non-electric detonator range last year, Orica will now offer a lead-free alternative across its entire electronic blasting system range.

The company said this includes the eDev II Neo, uni tronic 600 Neo, and i-kon III Neo systems.

The new products will maintain the proven performance of the current range while integrating NPED technology, eliminating lead azide from the detonators and ensuring compliance with the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.

Orica’s chief technology officer Angus Melbourne highlighted the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

“With the expansion of our lead-free NPED technology to our market-leading electronic blasting systems range, Orica takes another step towards a more sustainable future for the industry.”

He continued, “It’s a testament to Orica’s 150-year history of innovation and commitment to safer and more responsible solutions that deliver positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.”

The development process for this new technology has been extensive, with years of research and field trials.

Compliance testing with the European Union’s Conformité Européene (CE) marking will occur in the coming months.

Orica said it expects the new lead-free electronic blasting systems to be available for shipment in Europe by early 2025.

Key benefits of the new product range include enhanced safety and environmental advantages, as removing lead from the production process prevents its release into the environment during use.

Additionally, Orica is exploring options to reduce plastics in the new lead-free electronic blasting systems, further minimising the environmental impact.

James Bonnor, Orica’s group executive and EMEA President, underscored the strategic importance of the new manufacturing facility in Sweden.

“This is the first time Orica’s electronic blasting systems are being manufactured at our new state-of-the-art facility in Sweden, close to customers in Europe, ensuring supply security and optimisation,” he noted.

He further explained, “The facility will initially be used to assemble Orica’s standard EBS detonators before it will become the world’s first assembly line for the fully lead-free electronic blasting range based on NPED technology.”