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Blasting sector pursues resilience, integration

The impact of recent ‘global shocks’ has highlighted how resilient the blasting sector – as a key element of the mining industry – needs to become as an uncertain future beckons.

Speaking after the recent International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE) conference on explosives and blasting techniques in the USA city of Denver, BME managing director Joe Keenan said the event showed the value of sharing information between the world’s regions.

Active in the USA for over two years, BME used the ISEE event to showcase the offerings that had given it a leading position in the African mining industry and a growing presence globally. BME staff and distributors from its USA operation manned its exhibition stand, alongside BME colleagues from its offices including Australia, Indonesia and South Africa.

“With the wide international attendance at this show, it was sobering to hear how regional markets were affected by various environmental and health shocks – as well as by trends in the global economy,” said Keenan. “What came home very strongly was how resilient companies in this segment must be to keep delivering optimally to our customers – even in times of disruption.”

He pointed to the spate of disruptive events in just the past few months – including the outbreak of the coronavirus and the raging Australian bush fires, along with drought and floods affecting a number of countries. All this was taking place against the destabilising background of trade talks between the USA and China, and the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

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“The conference was well-represented by delegates bringing their particular experience of trading conditions – demonstrating the importance of applying and improving best practice approaches,” he said. “This means getting the basics right, while sustaining robust supply chains and driving productivity with constant technological innovation.”

There was plenty of interest, therefore, in the launch at the ISEE event of BME’s latest version of its popular AXXIS™ electronic detonation system – AXXIS TITANIUM™. Keenan highlighted that mines continue to adopt new technologies to drive productivity.

“The conference and exhibition showed that service capability, often through digital tools, is being constantly pushed to next level,” he said. “Any technology partner who is not equipped to innovate will soon be left behind.”

He also emphasised a vital element in the new technology race: the ability to integrate with third-party ware.

“As technology applications become more pervasive, it is no longer possible for any industry solution to stand on its own – or for a technology provider to develop everything in-house,” said Keenan. “The key is to ensure that your own solutions will integrate with external technologies – making operations easier and more productive for the customer.”

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