Rock Products

SEP 2017

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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24 • ROCK products • September 2017 USED OIL AND EXPLOSIVES T oday's aggregates industry seeks cost-reducing technol- ogies to enable more efficient operations. In addition to worrying about costs, mines must balance environmen- tal considerations, quality of product, health and safety of workers, and strict government regulations on many facets of their operation. A mine that does not meet these stringent criteria will either be forced to close with the loss of their social license to operate, or will be pushed out by other competition that can produce at lower cost. Two factors used at nearly every mine that affect all of these situations is oil and explosives, and with proper management mines can realize cost-reduction and a viable solution to reduce waste. Mines and construction projects alike use massive machines that expend sizeable amounts of oil in daily operations. This oil is then changed on a regular basis during preventative maintenance procedures and is then sent away for recycling or waste. This typically is an added expense, as the mine will pay a company to handle these used oil products in an envi- ronmentally friendly manner. At the same time, mines use ammonium nitrate-based explo- sives such as ANFO or Emulsions to fragment and move rock in the blasting processes. These explosives combine oil and ammonium nitrate (and some other chemicals in minor amount) to achieve oxygen balance for minimal production of toxic gasses when blasting. Most mines will fuel their ANFO with diesel oil which is either purchased and provided by the mine or brought in by the explosive supplier. When this process is analyzed one can observe that the mine will pay to have used oil removed from their site and at the same time purchase another oil (or other petroleum product) to sensitize the explosives. Not only is cost associated with the purchase of new oil and recycling of used oil, but major shipment costs can be incurred where oil is shipped away and new oil is shipped in. The integration of these two processes can lead to sizeable cost savings as well as a diminishing environmental impact. However, the combination of these processes can involve some basic understanding of explosives, MSHA safety con- cerns, and government regulations. This article will detail and provide information that will be needed for a mine pur- suing this effective cost-reduction technique. Risks of Used Oil in Explosives As previously mentioned, explosives that are ammonium nitrate-based typically use petroleum products (oils) to pro- vide proper oxygen balance. This ensures good velocity of detonation, proper combustion, minimal gasses, and good performance. Oils that have then been previously used around the site, par- ticularly in equipment can then be used in these explosive products. This combines good recycling and environmental habits with cost-reduction in the price of explosive products. The Utilization of Used Oil and Explosives The Integration of These Two Processes Can Lead to Sizeable Cost Savings as Well as a Diminishing Environmental Impact. By Anthony Konya and Dr. Calvin J. Konya Used oil in ammonium nitrate explosives (ANFOs and Emulsions) can provide an environmental friendly remedy for disposing of used oils and cut costs at most operations that use heavy equipment.

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