Sepon Mine Introduces Remote Blast Monitors

March 11, 2022

Article by: George Kabaso, Senior Geologist – TA – Production

At Sepon, part of the grade control process involves the monitoring and movement of ore blocks after blasts to minimize ore loss (ore sent to waste), misclassification (ore sent to the wrong destination), and dilution (waste sent to the mill).

Since November 2020, Sepon has used Blast Movement Monitor sensors (BMMs) to monitor blast movement—a process of measuring material movement after blasting.

To date, this process has saved at least US$165,077 in ore loss related costs while US$188,168 has been saved in dilution related costs through the blast movement monitoring system.

How does it work? BMMs are installed in specially designed and drilled holes so operators can understand blast movement dynamics in three dimensions. Blast Movement Technology (BMT) software is applied to monitor post blast movement and processing of blasts before setting out ore blocks in the pit for mining.

This ensures that quality primary ore is delivered to the ROM and fed to the crusher so the planned grade is met and we can achieve our production targets.

Are there are any challenges?  Yes, there are, COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions for Hexagon staff at the time of implementation were overcome with Sepon mine being the first mine in Southeast Asia and amongst the first in the world to remotely implement BMT. The MTS Grade Control Team at Sepon were able to fully implement the system with online support of Hexagon Australia team, Sepon Management, MTS, and Mining Teams. Congratulations!

Next steps? With an expected increase in Primary ore mine production in 2022, we will see an increase in the number of blasts monitored across different pits. Sepon employees recently completed the second phase of BMT training with the final phase scheduled for early April, with two weeks of practical and software training. After the training, 13 employees at Sepon, including a female graduate geologist, will be fully qualified to operate the BMT software.

Hexagon is a global leader in digital reality solutions and has been engaged by LXML Sepon for nearly two years. The company combines sensors, software and autonomous technologies by integrating critical workflows.