Orica delivers avant-garde blast and explosives solutions to the Brazilian market, mainly benefitting the mining industry by increasing its productivity and delivering higher safety standards
Orica is the worldwide leader in production and distribution of blasting and initiation systems, besides providing other solutions, from cyanide production for gold extraction to cutting-edge technology in digital solutions and other blasting services, contributing to a safe, efficient and responsible resource extraction and monitoring.
The company dates back to 1874, as a supplier for Australian goldfields. After more than 146 years in business, Orica has presence in more than 100 countries, providing jobs for more than 13,000 employees, of which more than 200 are tech specialists, making Orica the number one commercial explosive supplier worldwide.
“We are a community of engineers, scientists, technicians, operators, business specialists and on-site personnel working together to support our clients day in and day out,” commented Diego Vallim, Country Manager for Orica Brazil.
Leadership experience in Brazil and abroad
Diego Vallim has been in charge of Orica Brazil since 2021, after joining the company in 2016 as Senior Sourcing Manager for Latin America, being based in Chile. Vallim took part in a Management Leadership Program and was selected for this position afterwards. The acquisition of Peruvian company Exsa by Orica, a $200 million operation, is listed among his recent accomplishments.
His education includes an MBA, among other courses in Brazil and abroad. Before joining Orica, Vallim also held leadership positions for companies in the automotive and mining industries.
Wide variety of products and solutions in Brazil
Orica’s presence in Brazil dates back to the 1980s. In Brazil, the company currently offers its entire solutions and product portfolio for blasting, from initiation systems and emulsions to high-end technology to design safe blasts. Other services such as risk-reducing geotechnical monitoring are provided by the GroundProbe™ division.
Orica serves the mining industry in Brazil, mainly for iron and gold extraction, as well as for other basic metals and quarries, besides offering solutions to construction and oil & gas industries.
The company relies on its production plants within the country, where initiation systems and emulsions are produced, and it’s also supported by a wide supply network covering clients in all of the Brazilian territory.
“We are known for our safety culture and for our skills to create value through products and technology, but mainly for our staff’s capabilities,” Vallim pointed out.
Innovation on every front
Being the global leader in blasting and explosives for the mining and construction sectors implies that every new product made available by Orica does not follow any path previously travelled, but rather becomes a trendsetting innovation in the industry, capable of disrupting the way any specialized task has been performed.
The most outstanding solutions among the company’s latest development are:
• WebGen™: This wireless initiation system avoids the use of down-lines and connecting wires. Its reach gets the signal through rocks, air and water, resulting in safe, reliable blasts without risking any injury to staff, increasing productivity and reducing costs. WebGen™ is SIL3-certified (Safety Integrity Level), and is the only commercial explosive with the highest security grade.
• Avatel™: A digitized underground charging system designed to initiate blasts from a safe cabin, reducing exposure to any harm. Avatel™ was created in collaboration with Epiroc, another leading company in mining machinery.
• GroundProbe: This division recently developed RAR (real aperture radar) and SAR (synthetic aperture radar) devices, able to monitor slope stability, the GMS robotic station for prism monitoring, the GML for convergence monitoring in underground mining, and the RGR-Velox (reactive geohazard radar) for reactive monitoring and alarming for tailings dam breaches.
Disrupting mining with Design For Outcome
The Design For Outcome system offers a comprehensive digital solution to gather and manage data, previous blast results as well as rock and ore properties to use with predictive algorithms, delivering possible outcomes and determining the quantity of explosives to use in each procedure depending on expected results.
Design For Outcome is enhanced when paired with the BlastIQ™ cloud-based platform, which manages the stored data from blasts and perforation, easing integration with electronic initiation systems such as I-kon III, the most advanced in its kind, able to optimize small and large scale blast times, automatically generating blast sequence reprogramming, increasing reliability under severe weather conditions and able to reduce blast delays.
An industry giant within the South American giant
One of the most important aspects for Orica, globally, is its R&D department, which receives annual investments for more than $50 million, where more than 60 data analysts come up with the newest solutions with latest-generation technology, setting goals such as reducing personnel exposure to any risk during blasts, operational excellence as well as maintaining and improving global sustainability standards.
Orica has factories and development centers worldwide, which brings flexibility and other advantages to its supply chain and logistics, which benefit also from partnerships with clients and suppliers.
All of these factors enable the company to guarantee the availability of the most advanced solutions in Brazil, delivering the best execution and safety in blasting, globally, after more than 100 year-experience in different kinds of mining operations worldwide.
“The latest solutions in blasting and slope monitoring are within our reach, thrusting Brazil into the forefront of the world’s mining industry,” declared the executive.
The restrictions and consequences derived from the COVID19 pandemic resulted in a testing time for Orica Brazil’s resilience and adaptability.
Many of the duties required to complete essential activities supplied by the company must be carried on site, and these are performed by more than half of the staff. In the same way, such unusual conditions allowed for a complete overview of company procedures, thus accelerating the automation and digitization strategy, thrusting new practices such as remote assistance through AR (augmented reality).
Efforts toward inclusion
Orica focuses on inclusion and diversity strategies, a subject in which there have been tangible results, but still with so much to accomplish. 33% of leadership positions for Orica in Latin America are held by women, while in graduate programs this grows to 50%. Also, 35% of positions in charge of different squads are held by women. There’s still room to grow in field positions, though Orica Brazil proudly hired the first MMU female driver.
The future: placing a bet on value
For the foreseeable future, Orica plans to get into a certain scenario whose path to reach it requires effort through resources in the company’s hands.
Orica’s purpose is to generate value and allow its disruptive solutions to evolve, such as WebGen™ technology, GroundProbe™ radars, and the BlastIQ™ digital platform, delivering increased safety and productivity through these solutions.
Also, strengthening its industrial presence in Brazil and the rest of Latin America to optimize its supply chain in the territory, and capitalizing on what this represents regarding raw material and finished products management, contributing to make Orica become a strategic partner for its clients.