Peruvian Interview – Technology in the Drilling and Blasting Areas
We interviewed Walter Javier Ortega, a Peruvian Mining Engineer with over 15 years’ experience across several operations in the Drilling and Blasting areas. Walter provides us insight into the Drilling and Blasting areas, what technologies are being implemented, and suggestions of how foreign providers can ensure they are successful when introducing new technologies.
Ax Legal – Could you tell us about your experience in the mining industry? In what area of the mine do you currently work?
Walter Javier Ortega – I have been working in open pit mining operations for fifteen years; and I currently work as Drilling and Blasting Supervisor at Minera Las Bambas.
Ax Legal – What are the challenges facing the drilling and blasting area? Are there any challenges that are specific to Peru?
Walter Javier Ortega – Drilling and Blasting is a key area within the mining-metallurgical production process, and therefore has permanent challenges. The results of the blasting will have a direct impact on the costs and productivity of the operations that follow (loading, hauling, crushing and grinding). At Minera Las Bambas, our greatest challenge is to optimize the percentage of fines in the ore that we deliver to the plant. In addition, climatic and terrain conditions, such as rainfall, the excessive presence of groundwater and highly fractured terrain, make our operation even more challenging.
Ax Legal – What are the current technologies that are being implemented in the area of drilling and blasting?
Walter Javier Ortega – Various. Mainly, we are implementing automation (remote drilling) of our Pit Viper 351 fleet. We are also testing wireless electronic detonators. We are the pioneers in Peru in the use of this technology.
Ax Legal – What technologies will be implemented in the next 5 years that will improve the drilling and blasting area?
Walter Javier Ortega – In addition to those already mentioned, we are in the process of implementing sensors for the traceability of broken ore, from the pit to the plant. We also implementing sensors and software to better control ore dilution.
Ax Legal – Are there any technologies that you are personally interested in for the mining industry?
Walter Javier Ortega – Of course. Field supervisors are key to the safe and efficient development of the operation. Having key information in real time in the field would allow us to make better decisions. Information such as: drilling times and speeds, geotechnical characteristics of the rock mass to be drilled and blasted, availability and use of our fleet of drills, blast initiation sequences, etc.
Ax Legal – In your opinion, what are the typical problems that foreign companies have when introducing their technology in the mines of Peru?
Walter Javier Ortega – The weather and terrain conditions in Peru are very particular (most of them are located near the Andes mountain range). In addition, permanent in country technical support is necessary.
Ax Legal – What is the process that companies should follow if they have a solution that they would like to introduce in the Peruvian mining industry?
Walter Javier Ortega – First of all, visit the different operations to be very clear about the working conditions. The feedback from field supervision is extremely important so that suppliers can propose solutions that are tailored to each operation.
Ax Legal is an advisory firm that works with foreign companies in Latin America. Our team of legal and commercial advisors have a distinguished track record of helping foreign technology and services companies to grow and operate in Latin America. Over the years, we have worked with starts up, mid-size businesses, and publicly listed companies. The one common factor that connects are clients is that they are leaders in their field, providing innovative technologies and services to the industrial sectors.
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