Steady technological advancements improve opportunities for the South African mining explosives market
Steady technological advancements within the mining industry are reducing mining costs, improving blasting efficiencies, and driving explosives sales; thereby boosting growth of the South African mining explosives market.
Weak global demand for commodities, combined with low commodity prices; however, have forced mining companies to take a closer look at reducing variable costs in order to ensure the viability of mining operations.
"The need for cost containment is driving explosives innovation such as the use of bulk emulsions in massive underground and narrow-reef underground mining activities. There is opportunity to produce products that will enable deeper mining efforts and further improve precision blasting, while facilitating cost containment strategies," said Visionary Science Senior Industry Analyst Carolyn Krynauw. "Several explosives products currently available to mining companies have made use of the Innovation to Zero Mega Trend, as identified by Frost & Sullivan. These include water-resistant bulk emulsions which release negligible levels (0.7%) of nitrates and no oil into underground waterways when blasting in mines; and the use of recycled fuel oil in manufacturing ANFO. Helping mining companies improve environmental sustainability can reduce overall rehabilitation costs once mines have closed."
The Mining Explosives Market in South Africa for Coal, Iron Ore, Gold and PGMs, Forecast to 2020 is a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan's Future of Chemicals & Materials in Infrastructure & Mobility Growth Partnership Service program.
The study finds that the mining explosives market for coal, platinum group metals (PGMs), gold and iron ore, which stood at $530.7 million in 2015, will see limited growth to reach $564.4 million by 2020. The market will regain momentum beyond 2020 as global demand and prices of mining commodities slowly recover.
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"In the short term, ageing mines, limited greenfield developments and decreasing ore grades of commodities like gold imply that more rock needs to be processed to sustain or increase commodity production," observed Krynauw. "This will benefit the explosives market and raise volume sales."
Joint ventures among explosives and initiating systems producers/distributors, such as the ones between AEL and DetNet as well as Sasol and Dyno Nobel, have enabled these companies to remain attractive to mining customers.
Ongoing R&D and providing a full service of packaged explosives and bulk emulsions supplemented by initiating systems are key strategies adopted by major suppliers.
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