Learning and developing competencies for the future

Nov 29, 2023

EPC-UK underground blasting courses 

Part of the UK’s route to Net Zero and greater sustainability centres around improving supply security of critical minerals as well as development of renewable energy infrastructure, including hydro storage schemes and wind turbines with underground structures and foundations.  Drilling & blasting underground requires operators and engineers to have specialist skills and training, which EPC-UK is highly qualified to deliver.

Not only are we supplying both industries with physical drilling & blasting services, but also expert knowledge sharing, as our team once again teaches a 2-day underground blasting course to develop individuals’ skills, safety and competencies. 

Supporting The Critical Minerals Strategy

In July 2022, the Government launched its first UK Critical Minerals Strategy. Designed to develop ‘resilience for the future’, the paper sets out plans to strengthen critical mineral supply chains here in the UK by accelerating growth of domestic capabilities, collaborating with international partners and enhancing global markets to make them more responsive, transparent and responsible.

Supporting green energy schemes

In the UK, safe underground blasting methods are also used to create tunnels, caverns and storage for hydroelectric schemes. EPC-UK’s impressive underground blasting knowledge and skillsets are continuously advancing, placing us in a prime position to educate teams and supply services to support future renewable and other civil engineering projects across the country. 

Growing UK skills

With our renowned drilling & blasting and commercial explosive experience and reputation for providing high quality training, EPC-UK will begin delivering a redeveloped and repurposed 2-day underground blasting course in 2024, expertly devised and delivered by specialists Dr. Rob Farnfield and Dr. Geoff Adderley.

Geoff, whose own PhD was written about underground blasting operations, says: “Sustainable, UK based mining and green energy developments play a vital part in creating an evolving circular economy for the future. The new generation of underground miners and civil engineers coming to the field will need the skills and understanding to perform in our sector safely. Many positive developments in terms of products, international innovations and enabling technologies have been brought to the field since underground mining industries were last prevalent in the UK, and new green energy infrastructure needs specialist drill & blast expertise. This is why EPC-UK has reinvigorated the 2-day underground blasting course, to ensure it is relevant and meets the requirements needed for UK engineers and operators to feel confident in performing blasting processes underground and become familiar with necessary regulations.”

Studying the course will give underground shotfirers the foundations needed to begin their career in underground blasting, whilst those indirectly involved will develop an awareness of the methods and products being used. 

Course content:

  • An introduction to the different types of explosives and initiation systems being used in underground mining including their advantages, disadvantages and prevalent safety features
  • An overview of the different mining methods and how explosives are employed in both development and production
  • The design and charging of different types of underground blasts including development rounds, stoping, and shaft sinking
  • An introduction to the key equipment used in blasting operations
  • Daily shotfiring operations including pre and post blast inspections, charging operations, and dealing with misfires
  • Legislation concerning the use of explosives in mining 
  • Safety during storage and transport of explosives. 

Sustainable developments

“Excitement for ‘an invigorated’ sustainable mineral mining industry in the UK is growing,” Geoff adds. “Participating in the conversation at last year’s ABMEC conference (British Mining Trade Association), Commercial Manager, Ryan Ward and I found the positivity and potential surrounding a revived, more sustainable UK industry was palpable and we look forward to sharing more at the next ABMEC conference on 23rd November.”

Adding comment, Ryan says: “As industry activities underground increase because of mining company and a variety of civil project demands, EPC-UK feels excited for the prospects ahead. Working in partnership, we will be able to provide sectors with essential training, programmes of education and core competencies. By equipping underground operatives and engineers with updated knowledge and skills and supplying relevant projects with equipment, explosive products and expertise, we will provide a valuable and informed service that can support the UK’s revived critical mineral mining industry and much needed civil engineering projects.”

For more information about the underground blasting course, visit the Training page of our website, email: Learning@epc-groupe.co.uk

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