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Technical Centre  


Blast Modelling 

Orica’s global team of specialised mining engineers develops blast modelling software to ensure effective blast design, energy assessments, mine productivity, vibration/airblast control and systems to optimise blast performance. 
Blast assessment tools, including high-speed photography, laser profiling, vibration analysis and monitoring, face velocity measurement and continuous velocity of detonation measurement, are routinely used to optimise blast results.

Hazards Research

The Hazards Research Group focuses on quantifying the hazards associated with the manufacturing and handling of Ammonium Nitrate, explosives and initiating systems. 
By understanding the potential hazards, Orica develops appropriate risk mitigation strategies. These strategies are implemented to ensure the ongoing safety of our operations and the communities in which we operate.   
The Hazard Research Group maintains strong links to external experts such as the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratories, as well as maintaining signifcant internal expertise. 

Product and Process Support

The Product and Process Support group represent the operational arm of our Global Explosives Product Research and Development group in Kurri Kurri. 
The role of the team is to implement the latest product technologies and continuously improve existing products and processes.  The team ensures that products deliver improved productivity, safety and sustainability for customers.

This is a predominantly field based group with over 50 product and process specialists strategically located close to customers’ operations around the world.

Local Support

The local support group undertake a number of key functions to support the business operations. This includes raw material testing to ensure product quality and regulatory compliance testing. They also manage reactive ground testing and product selection to allow customers to maintain blasting efficiency and results in reactive ground.

Oil & Gas

Orica is the technology leader in the supply of explosives for use in the Oil & Gas exploration market. Explosives are used at various stages of the Oil & Gas production process, both in the exploration for new resource deposits and in the stimulation of wells, to improve their production rate.

The core research platform in the Oil & Gas area is the application of leading-edge biotechnology to develop enzymes for the breakdown of explosives to safer compounds that are more readily biodegraded. These enzymes form the basis of degradation systems, which are applied through the innovative design of explosive shells, using biodegradable (and sustainable) plastics where practical.

Two examples of existing environmental innovations in Orica’s Oil & Gas explosives are the use of recycled explosives in our Osx™ series products (when available) and the highest content of biodegradable sustainably produced plastics (of any manufacturer) in the degradable Osx™ products.  

Explosives Product Development

The Global Explosives Product Development group operates from a sophisticated laboratory. Pilot and testing facilities are used to develop new bulk and packaged industrial explosives for surface and underground mining, quarrying, construction and other civil applications. Current R&D programs are tailored, to increase the differentiation and value-in-use of products for customers, through increased energy generation, better matching of performance to site geology, integration with advanced blast modelling tools and enhanced rheological and other material properties.

Products are also continually developed to minimise safety and environmental hazards for industrial explosives. 

Ammonium Nitrate

As a global market leading supplier of Ammonium Nitrate (AN) products, the AN R & D team is currently focussed on fundamental and applied projects investigating prilled and solution based AN products. The portfolio includes projects investigating the fundamental properties of AN prills, the efficiency of the AN manufacturing process and the improved environmental performance of our plants. 

Manufacturing Delivery Systems

Orica’s team of specialist engineers provides the crucial link between Research & Development and field operations. The team has a long history of providing in-house engineering support and project execution capabilities to the manufacture and distribution of Orica’s bulk and packaged explosive products.

In addition to our in house expertise, the engineering team provides specialist engineering capabilities, such as Finite Element Analysis, Structural and Civil design, Industrial design and bulk materials handling.  

Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMU™s)

Orica’s highly skilled engineers have been designing and building MMU™s since the mid 1970s. The fl agship of the Orica fl eet is the Bulkmaster™, fi rst designed and launched into operation in 1989.

Today, the engineering team maintains a range of designs, able to be applied to a number of different mining applications.

The team has built over 200 of these units, with Orica still represented as the leading MMU™ manufacturer in the market. 

Underground Bulk Equipment

Orica designs and supplies a wide variety of bulk loading systems, to suit a range of tunnelling, underground production and development loading applications.

These range from the smallest and simplest MiniLoader™ systems, through to most complex MaxiCharger™ units used in large scale underground mining environments.

The engineering team has a proven track record in building, supplying and supporting this type of equipment for Orica customers around the globe. This spans a range of work, from tunnelling projects in Hong Kong, to underground mines in the Arctic. 

Bulk Depots

As long as MMU™s have been deployed at customers’ sites, Orica has been designing and constructing bulk depots that optimise the safety and efficiency of the on-bench team.

Over the past five years, Orica has put significant effort into developing standard bulk depot modules. This standardisation process has significantly reduced deployment times and incorporates safety and efficiency best practice at a number of operations around the world.  Shown left is an image of the Mt Thorley bulk depot, constructed in 2010. This project was recognised at the 2010 Institute of Engineers Australia – Engineering excellence awards. 

Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion (ANE) Manufacture

Orica currently operates over 60 ANE manufacturing sites globally, ranging from 1000 tpa to 250 ktpa production rates.

Our large ANE manufacturing sites (>50 ktpa) around the globe are undertaken as permanent Greenfield type projects. The majority of these ANE manufacturing plants have taken on a standard modular approach. The volume and type of ANE to be manufactured determines the number and type of modules deployed. 

ANE is produced at the Kurri Kurri ANE facility. It is a component of Orica’s bulk products, used in open cut coal mines in the Hunter Valley. 

Quarry Depot

Orica’s quarry services division provides blasting products and services to the quarrying and construction industries across Australia and the globe. The team has the capability to carry out all types of civil blasting work.

The unique blasting requirements of these industries, in part due to their often close proximity to populated areas, requires sophisticated technologies to ensure blasting is undertaken safely and with minimal impact to neighbours.
The quarry team provides services to more than 50 quarry customers across Australia, with three Mobile Manufacturing Units and a team of 20, including engineers, shotfirers, surveyors and operators.