/
Analysis

Return to Industrial Blasting for the Mining Industry

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 13:27

With over 30 years of experience in the business of earthworks for the construction of underground and open pit mines, quarries and roads, Isdamar started operations with a small mill, which later became a grinding plant where metals were crushed before being sent abroad to be smelted. The company later started working on mining projects for different Mexican companies constructing tunnels and shafts, among other activities. At the beginning of the 1990s, the company identified a new business opportunity in the development of Mexican highway infrastructure, and Isdamar acquired many drilling and blasting contracts. Though mining work continued, 80% of its activities were focused on road construction because of the depression in the metal market during that decade. “We participated in construction projects in Mexico and Central America, including a project for the Panama Canal,” recalls Hugo Meave Flores, President at Compañía Isdamar. “In 2003, when metal prices started to look promising again, we considered going back to our roots. It was in 2004, once metal prices turned around, that we eventually created a new team and acquired the equipment to perform drilling and blasting work for mining companies.” Isdamar has worked in some of the main mining sites in Mexico, such as Cananea in Sonora, Mezcala in Guerrero, Moris, Ocampo, Dolores and Palmarejo in Chihuahua, El Coronel in Zacatecas, and El Porvenir in Aguascalientes. “Our clients are satisfied with our operations and we have been able to position our group as one of the most reliable “The company is completely responsible for blasting, taking into consideration all of the elements that form part of the operation, with the goal of reducing cost and maximizing safety,” says Meave Flores. “Our experience and knowledge of different materials are essential in guaranteeing the proper use of explosives and avoiding the loss of human life, which is our ultimate goal.” Blasting is defined by the use of high explosives and explosive agents. The high explosives provide the required power and the explosive agent delivers the energy to fragment the rock. “The success for a good load and carry operation depends on both elements,” explains Meave Flores. The selection of explosives is geared towards the drilling templates, which  in turn are defined by the mining and construction sector, allowing the size of rock that has to be obtained for the carry equipment and crusher to be determined.

As Meave Flores highlights, safety is a necessary priority in all of Isdamar’s operations. Defining the perimeter of the area where the blasting will take place plays a central role in the safety procedures. “We put up signs and posters to let the community know about our activities, and we have our personnel close the roads that lead to the area. Afterwards, a siren rings for 10 minutes before the blasting begins. When the siren ends the area is inspected, and if there are no further complications the job is allowed to continue,” he explains. Another important aspect of blasting activities is environmental preservation. Isdamar trains its employees to respect and preserve local vegetation. “In the past no precautions were taken, but most importantly there was no ecological conscience,” Meave Flores highlights. However, times have changed and companies are now obligated to protect the environment. Isdamar has developed solutions to avoid impacting local flora and fauna, and is proactive about conservation and protection, while following the environmental regulation that is currently in place. The company’s goal is to obtain the ISO 14000 certification and be recognized as an environmentally responsible company.

Isdamar has received many international awards for its commitment to quality, such as the International Star for Leadership in Quality and the International Quality Crown, both from the Business Initiative Direction, and The Bizz from the World Confederation of Business, as well as domestic recognition from the Mexican Association of Mining Engineers Metallurgists and Geologists (AIMMGM), and the Mexican Company of the Year award from the Latin American Quality Institute. Meave Flores recognizes that a critical success factor has been the company’s recruitment system, which has improved over the years: “Our team is formed by young and experienced, talented people. This solid and disciplined team, combined with the passion for our vocation, has made us one of the most trusted companies in the market.”