- Augmented reality
- Ammonium nitrate
Augmented reality facilitates continuity of safety procedures during COVID-19
Orica has been working with US company MIRA to develop and deploy Augmented Reality (AR) headsets to our global manufacturing sites. The technology is fitted to hard hats and allows a computer-generated image to be superimposed on a user’s view of the real world. The technology has been called upon during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the continuity of safety procedures during periods of restriction on travel.
By connecting plant operators and frontline supervisors with remote experts AR allows:
- remote verification of our key controls
- contact free support from experts
- remote safety inductions
- faster resolution of plant issues and reduced downtime
Looking forward it is anticipated that the rollout of AR across our geographically dispersed operating sites will enhance our safety performance and reduce costs associated with travel.
Wireless detonators supporting customers safety performance
In 2020, Nexa Resources deployed our WebGen™ 100 wireless detonators at the Vazante zinc and lead mine in Brazil to overcome a common problem. Nexa was using the vertical retreat mining method at Vazante, a method that requires pillars of minable ore to be left in place for the purpose of maintaining the stability of the rock mass. The mining of these pillars at the end of the operation is a challenging aspect of this method as it exposes workers to heavily damaged and backfilled areas of the mine.
Rather than require workers to re-enter the mine to load downholes, program detonators and fire the shot, the final pillar at Vazante was preloaded with 88 WebGen™ 100 wireless units before access to the adjacent areas was lost.
Once the ore from the block had been extracted and the pillar was no longer required to provide stability, the WebGen™ detonators were remotely initiated via ultra-low frequency signal after a 33-day sleep time.
“The blast happened two levels below us, so we are 400m away above the shot. All encoded signals were sent through the rock with the safety protocols to fire the blast being followed.”
Mateus Ribeiro, Chief Mining Engineer, Nexa Resources
Response to tragedy in Beirut
In August 2020, following the tragic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, our Major Hazard Management verification process was rapidly deployed to assess the long-established controls in place to prevent such an event occurring at Orica facilities.
As part of the process, over 400 verifications were completed globally in under a month. These detailed verifications looked at the key controls we require at all our operational sites to safely store ammonium nitrate (AN) including how we segregate incompatible or combustible materials from AN and control potential ignition sources from our product.
While some opportunities for enhancing our safety and risk management controls were identified, robust key controls to manage safe storage of AN are in place. Stakeholders can be assured this risk continues to be well managed by our business.
Read more about AN storage at Kooragang Island, Australia.