Newcrest seeks safe blasting solutions

The Lihir operation. Image: Newcrest Mining

Newcrest Mining is welcoming novel approaches to improve safety during blasting operations at the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea.

The challenge is open for submissions through crowdsourcing platform Unearthed and welcomes solutions that will allow continued safe blasting operations in elevated temperatures.

The Lihir mine site experiences ground temperatures of up to 190 Celsius degrees and has chemically reactive geology.

Conventional ammonium nitrate-based explosives become less controllable and reliable for use in such environment.

Unearthed stated that to effectively mine in these conditions, the operation required a fit for purpose bulk blasting agent that was capable of functioning safely and effectively in these conditions.

Other alternate solutions may target an improvement in the blasting performance and rock fragmentation.

Newcrest currently drills blast holes on the mine bench into the ground and places explosives that will be activated remotely.

Newcrest is open to supporting the development of solutions via access and/or funding to further research, or validating pilot or trial commercially ready solutions.

Winning teams or individuals will also receive prize money, and promising solutions will be invited into the second stage of the competition.

The challenge will close on July 31.