A non-explosive rock breaking technology which utilises nitrogen and carbon dioxide has been developed in South Africa, for the region’s increasingly environment-friendly mining industry.

Exploration of South Africa’s underground gold and platinum mines is big business, an industry which is increasingly seeking non-destructive solutions for continuous mining.

According to a recent report by Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly, non-explosive rock breaking technology manufacturer NXCO Mining Technologies has developed automated and advanced explosive technologies, as a result of this drive towards environment-friendly methods.

The company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NXCO International, manufactures NoneX propellant cartridges at its licensed factory in Pelindaba, South Africa.

The NoneX cartridges represent a technique of non-explosive rock breaking technology and ultimately produce gases to achieve productive, continuous mining – a further example of gases in almost every walk of industry and life.

The technology is based on a non-detonating chemical compound enclosed in a cartridge, which reacts quickly when ignited to produce high volumes of harmless gas, mainly consisting of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and steam.

According to the report, NCXO Mining Technologies notes that the successful use of continuous mining in South Africa’s underground narrow-vein gold and platinum mines, offers a significant opportunity to achieve a leap in face productivity.

The company also notes that its NoneX continuous mining system has a range of benefits, which includes improved safety at the stopeface. It also offers a vastly improved face advance and reduced operating costs, and reduced gold mineral losses owing to fines.