Alejandro Mantecón González
Director General
View from the Top

Exploding Onto the Mining Scene

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:54

Q: What have been the main developments in the pyrotechnics industry since Pyrosmart was founded?

A: In the 1960s the perception of the pyrotechnics industry was mostly negative. Since then the industry has constantly been growing and making technological advances. For example, automotive airbags are gas-generating pyrotechnic devices which significantly improve safety in motor vehicles. Another example is the Airbus aircraft, which has more than 170 pyrotechnic components. We have decided to focus our business on the more reliable and commercial side of pyrotechnics, such as electric igniters, which we manufacture and export to more than a dozen countries from our manufacturing locations in Zacatecas, Brazil and Panama. Manufacturing and selling electric igniters was an essential part of PyroBlast’s product development process, a patented rock-breaking system with a series of features that respond to the requirements of the global mining and construction industries. Cementos Mexicanos (Cemex) was the first company to use our technology, but companies such as Peñoles, Grupo Mexico, Goldcorp and Capstone Mining have also benefited from PyroBlast’s various applications.

Q: What are the most interesting features of PyroBlast that benefit the mining industry?

A: We make products that are mainly used in overflows, pre-cuts, roads, ditches and slope stabilization and precision work in mines. Conventional explosives have high detonation velocities (Dv) ranging from 3,500 to 5,500m/s for commercial explosives, and from 6,000 to 8,500+m/s for military explosives. PyroBlast is a pyrotechnic composition capable of producing a very low detonation order (Dv approximately 1,200 to 1,400m/s) generating a minor amount of fly rock, minimal vibration and shock wave expansion. Thanks to the product’s low speed, it does not rely on the rock’s compression, but rather on the rock’s strain (shear effects), making PyroBlast perfect for precuts and overflows and ensuring safety and efficiency. In addition, PyroBlast does not generate toxic nitrogen oxides or carbon monoxide gases, which can be problematic in poorly ventilated areas. To complement our product range we have developed and manufactured a series of high precision and reliable safety ignition devices, which have helped us to overcome obstacles and transform PyroSmart from a pyrotechnics manufacturing company to a leader in technological development.

Q: Which role do innovation and technology development play in the evolution of your value proposition?

A: We have dedicated ourselves to developing excellent and reliable products, but what sets us apart is that we do not limit ourselves to just selling products, we also provide integral solutions for our clients. Today we are perceived as providing a global and comprehensive solution to the industry’s needs. We have the right software, equipment, products and engineering for developing the best solutions for each specific case. PyroSmart carries out drilling works along with design and measurement, so that the company not only has a product but a range of solutions, too. Zacatecas is a pro-mining state, and our plants are located in an area with high potential for our product. We are also working with government departments such as Fomix and Conacyt, and we also have ties with the Technological University of Zacatecas, to continuosly improve our products and solutions.

Q: In which ways does PyroSmart technology contribute to safeguarding the environment?

A: Compared to a number of explosives and pyrotechnic products, PyroSmart is environmentally friendly. PyroBlast can be broken down by water saturation within 24 hours, and the product residue is environmentally clean. 70% of the gas that is generated is oxygen, and all of the gases released during the product’s activation are non-toxic. Q: What will be PyroSmart’s strategy to consolidate its position in the Latin American mining market? A: PyroSmart is a Mexican technology-based company with partners in other countries, and thanks to its 50 years of experience, as well as its PyroBlast technology, the company has won Conacyt’s national science and technology prize for two consecutive years. We were selected to participate in a business development program for elite technology-based companies, which is designed to accelerate international business developement, and and has enabled us to expand to different Latin American countries.