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Orica continues efforts to make mining more sustainable

Orica's lead-free electronic blasting system range in EMEA. (Image source: EMEA)

Orica, a leading mining and infrastructure solutions provider, has taken another step forward in its ambition to make mining more sustainable by announcing that it will manufacture the world’s first lead-free electronic blasting system range

Following the successful introduction of the world’s first fully lead-free non-electric detonator range last year (the Exel NEO), the company has announced that it will expand its lead-free Non Primary Explosives Detonator NPED technology to manufacture the electronic blastin system at its plant in Sweden.

“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,” commented Orica chief technology officer Angus Melbourne. “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. I would like to thank our teams around the world for their outstanding commitment to delivering innovative solutions to our customers and the industry.”

Reducing mining environmental footprint

To new lead-free variant will integrate Orica’s NPED technology and will be made available across the full range of electronic blasting systems including the eDEV II Neo, uni tronic 600 Neo and ikon III Neo. Benefits include all lead removed from the production process and from being released into the environment during application and the company is also investigating options for the reduction of plastics in the development of the new systems to further limit the environmental footprint.

Orica’s group executive and EMEA president James Bonnor, remarked, “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. 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. Trials with our customers will get underway in July – August 2024 and we look forward to continuing to explore how Orica can use innovative technologies to assist our customers achieve their environmental, social and governance goals.”

Field trials and testing will be conducted in the coming months following several years of development and it is expected that the new lead-free electronic blasting systems range will be available for shipment in Europe by early 2025.

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