Delivering value to Imerys through our Rock-on-Ground service & true partnership approach

May 22, 2024

EPC-UK’s Commercial Manager, Ryan Ward, explains how our full Rock-on-Ground expertise has enabled industry leader Imerys to extract added value through its Cornish kaolin business.

Imerys is a mainstay of the Cornish economy, employing around 1,110 people at over 20 mining and processing facilities in the county. The company produces approximately one million tonnes of kaolin each year for use in sophisticated engineered minerals, high-end ceramics, paints, adhesives, plastics, rubber, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paper and cardboard. 

Developing the trust

Although the relationship between both companies was already established, Imerys chose to bring EPC-UK’s full Rock-on-Ground service on board in 2018. This soon realised a progressive, technically orientated partnership, achieved through respect, trust and the competencies of our drilling & blasting team and the specialist shotfirers who have been trained at EPC-UK’s renowned learning & development centre.

“The collaboration has considerably increased value and optimisation for Imerys, from both a cost and performance perspective,” Ryan says. “By working together to increase blast sizes on site, we needn’t repeatedly close the mine to blast, saving time and money. By creating fewer blast specifications we’re not having to duplicate our high standards of compliance and regulation adherence; and by limiting the need to continuously move from blasting site to blasting site, Imerys load & haul efficiencies are also improved.” 

Optimising the blast

Illustrating the progress made, Ryan explains that in 2018 the average site blast size was 9,082 tonnes. The latest figures for 2024 show that the average blast now achieves 21,930 tonnes, over a 140% increase.

“The Imerys blasting cost-per-tonne has decreased significantly by using larger, more efficient blasts with fewer overheads,” Ryan adds. “Simultaneously, EPC-UK’s introduction of the EXPLORE™ platform, part of our VERTEX© software solution, measures and quantifies blast performance and uses the Imerys geological data and modelling to further target our optimal blasting techniques relevant to the varying site conditions. It’s a great result that we’re proud to have helped achieve and one we know has even further potential for improvement with our VERTEX ecosystem.”

Wayne Mingo, Mobile Plant Services Manager at Imerys says: “We’ve been delighted to see the continual performance drive and cost improvements generated by working in partnership with EPC-UK. Together, our effective communications, regular meetings and continual feedback loop have enabled us to work towards better blast performance, ‘digability’, fragmentation and blasting parameters, collectively leading to the best achievable results through an effective team mentality.” 

For more information about EPC-UK’s Rock-on-Ground service, email: Ryan.Ward@epc-groupe.co.uk

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