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Readying our resources to realise more underground blasting capabilities

Oct 24, 2023

EPC-UK is gearing up resources, knowledge and competencies ready to deliver future sustainability projects that require specialist underground blasting support and explosive supply. With activity revived in the critical mineral mining industry and multiple renewable energy developments in the pipeline, including hydro storage schemes, our team has been building upon its current core knowledge from the international EPC Groupe divisions so we are primed and ready to deliver specialist products, equipment and competency back home. 

Building corporate knowledge

This month, EPC-UK Senior Explosive Engineer, Dan Richards, has been gaining corporate knowledge from colleagues with specialist underground blasting capabilities at our sister company, EPC Sweden. The team has a wealth of experience in this area: As the hard bedrock in Sweden mainly comprises proterozoic magmatic and metamorphic rocks, the use of explosives is routine in progressing civil engineering projects.

In the UK, similar blasting methods to those used by the Swedish team are needed to enable critical mineral mining and create tunnels and underground storage for hydroelectric schemes, as well as to install wind turbine foundations within rocky ground. By learning from the experts in Sweden, Dan and his team are able to expand their already impressive underground blasting knowledge further and find out more about techniques and equipment EPC-UK can harness to support future renewable projects here. 

 “It was great to see the tools used by the Swedish team in application rather than just theory,” Dan says.  “Having first-hand experience of the underground explosive pumping systems, processes and technologies that are successfully being used in Sweden’s underground mining and tunnelling projects offers tremendous worth with relevance to our own expanding capabilities.”

Adding further comment, EPC-UK’s Managing Director and Directeur de la zone Europe Nord

EPC Groupe, Ben Williams said: “Increasing EPC-UK’s abilities in supporting customers’ underground blasting projects through team collaboration will prove essential to developing renewable energy infrastructure here in the UK. Success will be dependent on using and understanding the most effective equipment and innovations. We’re delighted to have the shared passion, connection and opportunity to learn not only from our field specialist associates at EPC Sweden, but also our international Groupe’s technological experts at EPC 2i in France, whose advancing knowledge is enabling an exciting level of industry progression.”

Ben refers to EPC Groupe’s global technology development company, EPC 2i, a specialist innovation department that has experienced significant expansion during 2023. Together with members of EPC-UK’s operational and commercial team, Ben visited EPC 2i this month to widen our own horizons and forge closer links with our international technology, equipment and software division. “Sharing knowledge and enhancing our learning will serve as groundwork to advance the renewable energy and increasingly sustainable civil engineering projects we’re preparing to progress,” Ben continues. “We’re not only drawing on the expertise of our international teams in Sweden and at EPC 2i, but are also working with shared mindsets. This reinforces our collective value of the EPC SPIRIT ethos, where Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork support our Groupe as it evolves for the future.”

Technologies and products 

By working more closely with EPC 2i, our UK team can have knowledge of and access to effective technologies and products which are key to realising more sustainable practice across both quarrying and civil engineering operations, as Commercial Manager, Ryan Ward, further details: 

“Working as an international collaboration EPC Groupe, supported by EPC 2i, is developing highly enabling suites of underground explosive products, specifically produced for facilitating underground and civil engineering projects. “We produce non-electric two-length tunnel detonators, LP (Long Period) tunnel detonators and underground emulsions for tunnelling and shaft development as well as up hole formulations. To work more efficiently, our emulsion products can be delivered in smaller, deeper holes through EPC Groupe’s ‘SPUR’ pumping systems, a small MEMU that requires less space and has been designed to navigate tunnels more easily.

“We’re also developing the technology to support physical processes through our underground version of EXPERTIR© software, Expertir-UG. Utilising data and KPIs, the Expertir-UG software assists engineers in designing optimal tunnelling blasts, shaft developments and caverns while making rock extraction safer and more efficient. Performing in collaboration, EPC has the equipment, the technology, the products, and the learning & development capabilities to position our team as the leading expert in providing underground blasting support to enable progress for the future.”

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