7th Aug 2014

Source: Kaieteur News

Over 80 operators from mining agencies across the country completed a two-day training course in Selective Explosive Blasting at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) Multi Complex Building at Kingston, Georgetown.

The initiative which began on Tuesday, is a collaborative effort of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and Orica Mining Services.

Some 18 blasters are likely to become certified following a special third day assessment of their competence.

Local representative of Orica Mining Services, Devindra Kissoon noted that the event was the first public/private partnership venture in that sector where a private mining company is able to work with government in providing training.

He told this publication that, “within the last 50 years, many of the blasters in the field have matured.” He noted that new mining companies have entered the sector which is continuously growing.

“We recognize as part of our forward planning, that we did not want to be in a position where there was a demand for this expertise and it was not available. Currently, we have sufficient expertise in blasting, but that can quickly change,” he emphasized.

When asked the time span that could possibly see a deficiency in qualified blasters, Kissoon explained that a depletion of blasters could relate to life expectancy. Kissoon noted that localized training has been continuous.

Kissoon said the exercise is an anticipatory move by the government and Orica to ensure that the future of blasting in the mining sector is secured. The course dealt with mining aspects that relate to new techniques and technology, cost efficiency, safety and new products.

Kissoon said that the mining company which has been operating in Guyana for the last 46 years, is bent on providing training in safe blast operations in an environmentally friendly manner. The Latin American programme instructors, who have been practicing mining for some 15 to 20 years, are key employees of the mining company.

Kissoon said it was discovered that many persons were interested in this aspect of the mining process, especially since there was a 100 percent attendance, with over eight Guyana Defence Force (GDF) officers, police ranks, Guyana Geology and Mines staffers and several mining company representatives among others.

Orica is the largest established explosives company in the world and is based in some 50 countries, while they support over 100. The company is a multi-national corporation that provides commercial blasting, mining and tunneling support systems and various chemical products.

To be certified blasters, they must be deemed competent with no less than 80 to 120 blasts under their belt. With that requirement, Kissoon said the poll is very small, but is optimistic that, that will soon change with more training sessions for new blasters.

Selective Explosive Blasting uses the element of power and physics. Energy is put into a hole and is released through an explosive. The by-product of that energy will either be hard rock, which will be used for roads or ore which is used for gold mining.

That product is then processed to arrive at the end product.

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