From the
organisers of
Hillhead logo

Planning to Reduce

A quarry blast

First published in the April 2024 issue of Quarry Management 

EPC-UK technology helps drive down emissions

With proven capabilities in assuring ‘planning to comply’ regulations for their customers, drilling, blasting and commercial explosives specialists EPC-UK are now ‘planning to reduce’ by using advanced technology to lower the carbon emissions produced through their operations.

VERTEX capabilities

The EPC-UK and EPC Metrics teams have already improved efficiencies in customers’ quarrying environments by using the VERTEX software solution. The technology combines the applications of EXPERTIR, EXPERTAB and EXPLORE, allowing users to store digital information on a cloud-based platform and perform in-depth analysis of key blasting data in conjunction with the KPIs that are measured downstream of the drill and blast process. VERTEX allows blast engineers to accurately review, quantify, and now reduce the impact of the blasting process, helping to make a quarry more efficient.


Carbon quantification

Key to this is VERTEX’s recently updated capacity to include carbon emission quantification, a capability that has been added by EPC 2i, the specialist innovation division of the international EPC Groupe. Using data taken from the quantity of product used, the site location, and the level of drilling performed, this addition to VERTEX can ascertain a blast’s overall carbon output and the EPC-UK engineers can use that information to continuously drive waste reduction, decrease energy demands, and reduce emissions of a site and primary crusher, whilst delivering a true ‘mine-to-mill’ understanding.

VERTEX has recently been updated to include a carbon emission quantification capability
VERTEX has recently been updated to include a carbon emission quantification capability

Mine-to-mill optimization

‘By getting it right at the face, overall efficiencies for our customers are improved,’ explained EPC-UK’s commercial manager, Ryan Ward. ‘That’s why we are working together with those customers, using VERTEX and its capabilities as a tech-driven Net-Zero solution, to baseline their operations and implement data-driven optimization changes to reduce the carbon output of the entire quarry.

‘We’re analysing customers’ loading, hauling, and crushing KPIs within the EXPLORE application of VERTEX’s online dashboard, which enables us to track overall optimization of their quarry and mining processes. This is helping us to reduce the quantities of explosive required, and the fuel used for equipment, drilling, machining, loading, and hauling. Each reduction improves a site’s operational efficiency, lowers costs and, critically, reduces carbon footprints.’

Customers’ loading, hauling, and crushing KPIs are analysed within the EXPLORE application of VERTEX’s online dashboard
Customers’ loading, hauling, and crushing KPIs are analysed within the EXPLORE application of VERTEX’s online dashboard

Rock-on-ground efficiencies

Effective drilling and blasting is a critical enabler in helping the extractives industry to perform more sustainably. It is the most cost-effective method of crushing rock and EPC-UK and EPC Metrics’ full rock-on-ground services to customers have proven to evolve both commercial relationships and streamlined operations.

By harnessing technologies including drone surveying, SmartROC drilling rigs, GPS, real-time kinematics surveys, and remote detonation, in addition to utilizing the VERTEX software, EPC-UK’s customers’ blast performances and parameters have been optimized and the overall impact of their quarrying operations improved. This, in turn, has improved site KPI data and load and haul plant information streams.

SmartROC drill rig
SmartROC drill rig

Holistic approach

‘By using technical capabilities to better prepare the blasting process, EPC-UK engineers can safely create and enable larger, more efficient blast designs, reduce equipment and plant movements, and deliver a level of blast performance that can positively impact on the downstream cycle,’ added Mr Ward. ‘Analysed together, the data we’re utilizing is providing us with a wider picture of the quarry operation and a frame from which EPC-UK can design better, more efficient blasts for the future; holistically, entirely, and from mine-to-mill.’


Latest Jobs

Divisional Managing Director

Hills Quarry Products have an opportunity for an experienced Divisional Managing Director to join and lead their existing company based in Swindon