Hexagon recently acquired Blast Movement Technologies, the latest in a string of acquisitions by the company but potentially the most significant for the industry in years. The implications are profound with parallels to the 2018 acquisition of Guardvant, which paired leading systems for collision avoidance and fatigue and driver distraction monitoring. That acquisition saw peanut butter meet jelly for mobile mining equipment safety. The BMT acquisition could be bigger. Let me explain.
Mine operational costs all start with the blast. A correct blast not only optimizes the cost of your blast, it improves the total cost profile of the entire mine. Correct fragmentation means easier digging, reduced rework, lower cost crushing, and improved tons per hour through your processing plant.
Improved dilution tracking elevates this by ensuring the right material is sent to the plant versus the waste dump. Not only does this improve your ore recovery, it has downstream impact on your processing plants where vital blending can be required to ensure your plant operates efficiently. Add to that the high accuracy machine guidance drills and shovels, powered by Hexagon’s state-of-the-art positioning capabilities, and now you wield a formidable trifecta; yield, fragmentation, and dilution.
From a cost perspective, this trinity improves the entire cost profile of the mine. Reduced blasting costs, reduced rework, improved diggability, increased ore recovery, less crushing, higher TPH through the plant, and improved efficiency for your ore processing.
A uniquely holistic approach
No one can touch Hexagon’s portfolio. MinePlan Blast designs the pattern, MineOperate High-Precision Drills accurately execute that plan, MineOperate QA/QC allows holes to be inspected and tracks blasting material used.
MineOperate Split tracks post-blast fragmentation, BMT minimizes loss and dilution, MineOperate HP Shovels utilizes the improved polygons from the BMT data to better track ore, and MineOperate Fleet Management tracks total yield. All of this combines back into the next design in MinePlan Blast as a continuous process to optimize the next round. No other technology provider offers this holistic approach.
Of course, just like OEMs offering fleet management, the explosive supply companies are innovating in a near space. This is strategic for their business, but maybe not the mine’s. Explosives are a commodity, and mines buy a lot of them. By offering technology, explosive suppliers are hoping to avoid that commodity pricing challenge they face by differentiating over the whole blast activity.
Why let them?
Improve D&B while controlling explosives costs
The technology is not the most expensive part of your drill and blast program; the bulk commodity explosives are. By standardizing on technology from one of the explosive manufacturers, you are taking away your purchasing power to get the best rates on the commodity explosive material.
Hexagon’s comprehensive offering gives you that power. You can improve the most vital part of your mine, where everything starts with the drill and blast, without losing your purchasing power over the bulk commodity blasting material. All from a single technology vendor!
This is more than peanut butter and jelly. This is surf and turf paired with a good wine on a five-course meal that pays for itself. I can only wonder what Hexagon will do next?
Vice President – Autonomous
Hexagon’s Mining Division
Andrew is a miner at heart and has participated in digital strategy, IoT, big data, and other technology initiatives with some of the world’s top mining houses. He is a Six Sigma Black Belt trained in process improvement on projects in the mining industry. Andrew brings more than 15 years’ experience in sales management and operations, with the last 10 years in the mining industry. He is responsible for Hexagon’s mining business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.