Is the cheap option ever the cheapest?

Published: Thursday, March 09, 2017 6:51pm


Is your cheaper product the most cost effective you can be?

In my previous article, I was challenged on a technical level with respect to the nature of the explosive vs. the effectiveness. There is always a case for explosives to be matched to the duty cycle required and, in Mining’s case, time is money. Undoubtedly the slower explosive has a role to play in the market, but high-speed development requires a synchronised effort when tackling a rock mass. Splitting a rock is very different to breaking it away from its host to clean it up in an efficient manner – hence the reason that ECONOTRIM Buttbuster is used underground. I know what will come back from some detractors but, as was pointed out in the previous article, no one Mine’s rock is the same, and each one will have characteristics that will need attention.

I have lightly touched on the technical reason for our selection of the explosive’s characteristics, but the physical makeup of the ECONOTRIM Buttbuster cannot be mass produced which, in turn, precludes it from being a cheap product to manufacture. We make no excuses for this process in today’s one product suits all application mentality. However, the question posed above is: can the extra cost be justified?

We have enough testimonials, from our customers, to agree that our ECONOTRIM Buttbuster is the best product available to help control overbreak. Looking at drilling patterns will confirm that no one development heading can exist without a degree of overbreak but controlling this overbreak to within acceptable limits is the duty of each person that is employed by the Mine.

Before delving deeper into the cost matrix that is the core of mining, it is worthwhile noting that no matter how good any explosive is, it cannot overcome poor drilling. Too often I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that “my explosive is not up to the job”, with a couple of extra comments added to emphasise the point. Heard this one before? On inspection, it is clear that double recommended burden/spacing, crisscrossed holes and short holes do not help anybody’s cause. Unfortunately for those who believe that any hole in a rock will do, ECONOTRIM Buttbuster will emphasise this poor practice in bucket loads.

Overbreak is the most expensive waste of money in the mining cycle.

Below is a list of areas that this thief of cash flow impacts:

· Trucking of excess waste

· Safety

· Wear & tear on scaling Jumbo

· Wear & tear of mechanical equipment

· Scaling time

· Bogging & re-bogging time

· Meshing difficulties

· Rockbolting

· Ore dilution

Just how much the above list is impacting on your cost of mining, we cannot tell you as we do not know your individual cost drivers. Below is a link to the JOHNEX IPBM to assist you in your calculation.

An example of the results is seen in the graph that will be generated:

From this graph above it can be seen that only a 2.5% improvement in your overbreak control will pay for the “expensive” ECONOTRIM Buttbuster option but don’t take our word for it, please go ahead and use your numbers. We have some Mines reporting that they have achieved an average of 5% overbreak vs. the 15% to 20% previously experienced with the cheaper explosives.