When it comes to bulk explosives trucks the most important thing to consider for any site is safety, so the equipment and operator must meet or exceed all necessary standards as well as having a strong safety record. Then, we can start thinking about the technical and commercial issues.
In most cases, bulk explosive trucks mix raw materials (sometimes called pre-cursors) to deliver ANFO, Heavy ANFO and Emulsion/AN mixtures which may be sensitized chemically or mechanically, or unsensitized.
There are several types of trucks available that are built specifically for the environments they need to be used in, including open cut metal, iron ore and coal mines, underground applications and quarry and construction markets. Many names get used for these trucks, depending upon application, which country the truck is being used in and the explosives supplier operating the truck. For ease, we will simply refer to them as bulk trucks.
First, the site needs to study their specific requirements to select the optimum bulk truck to use. The system consists of both the truck mounted storage and processing equipment (for carrying ingredients from the base plant and mixing the ingredients at the site in required proportion), and the cab and chassis unit which is usually procured separately and incorporated into the build process later. Both are important for different reasons.
To correctly specify the bulk truck to be used for your operation, you need to understand a number of things, including:
• bulk products required and volumes (splits of AN v Emulsion required);
• loading speeds required, hole diameters, hole depths, presence of water and blast patterns;
• distance to reload facility, storage limits for raw materials and the conditions on the bench that the bulk truck is going to be used in;
• potential changes to the types of explosive to be used during the useful life of the truck;
• any requirement to go on public roads or ability to remain on site;
• the likely utilization of the bulk trucks on site.
Consideration also needs to be given to the maintenance support available from the manufacturer in any given country or region, both for the storage/processing unit as well as the cab and chassis.
As an added layer of complexity, bulk trucks are increasingly available with potentially value adding technology. As an example, this can include varying levels of automation as well as integration with drill and blast software. Be sure to consider what aspects might be needed by the site in the medium term in addition to what is needed now.
All of these aspects need to be considered to ensure the most efficient and productive choice is made and that the price being paid for it is not only justified but also competitive. Accurately assessing your needs and converting those into a clear specification that ties into your current and future operating plans will inevitably reduce costs – not just for the truck but also for the explosives operations at the mine.
As is so often the case, poor planning or a lack of understanding of the factors at play can easily lead to reduced flexibility, reduced efficiency and increased costs which can become a burden for the useful life of the truck.
Consideration should be given to discussing your specific requirements as there may be the opportunity to work with your supplier to purpose build the bulk trucks for your site rather than defaulting to the use of existing standard units. In particular, storing the correct proportions of raw materials on board to suit the products being loaded and ensuring appropriate delivery rates into the blasthole can be achieved are important considerations.
For example, if you have very large diameter holes which are deep, they will require a lot of bulk explosives per hole. So, consider a larger capacity truck with faster discharge rates. If you have clarity regarding the explosives products to be used then consider the relative sizes of the storage bins on the trucks to maximise capacity.
Moncourt Group’s independence enables us to help our customers select the best options for bulk explosives trucks for their particular site. We have a wealth of experience understanding and managing the broad range of issues relevant to loading bulk explosives into blastholes and applying this knowledge so that our customers can obtain the best outcome for their operation.