To increase safety during the application of underground bulk emulsions, commercial explosives manufacturer AEL Mining Services developed the PCU010 Portable Charging Unit (PCU) for use in narrow reef mining environ- ments, with the electric and hydropower versions of the unit expected to be launched next year.
An emulsion and sensitiser, produced by AEL, are loaded into separate tanks in the pump, after which they are combined using a fixed ratio at the blast site. This eliminates the risk of transporting explosives down a mine shaft, which, in turn, also improves safety and mine logistics, says AEL underground bulk systems product manager Mark Cross, who adds that the product was launched at the 2012 Electra Mining Africa expo in September.
“The explosive is only manufactured at the outlet of the pump and is immediately delivered into the blast hole. A static mixer at the end of the charging hose and lance ensures the final product is well mixed to produce a consistent and quality explosive, which improves blast performance.
“No spillage of the explosive is experienced after charging, provided that the blast hole is not overcharged. However, should spillage take place, the explosive can be easily destroyed using an emulsion breaker,” says Cross.
“Before launching the pump, the company conducted two-and-a-half years of continuous blasting at a mine in Welkom, which provided the company with a wealth of knowledge,” says Cross.