Hotshot in European Limelight
Minexplo expands AEL presence in Europe

AEL Mining Services' participation in the European market was established when the group formed a joint venture company, called Minexplo, with the EPC Groupe of France.

The JV has been in operation for approximately18 months and involves the sale of the 'Euronel' shock tube system, as well as AEL's underground bulk technology (UBS).

Nick Bird, recently appointed as business development manager in AEL's International division, is responsible for the European business, as well as AEL's involvement with Minexplo.

According to Nick, the JV is proceeding well with production volumes rising steadily. "An excellent relationship has formed between the two partners. The technology provided by AEL has produced the 'Euronel' shock tube system and UBS range, both of which are being well received across Europe.”

Nick, who has been with AEL since 1983 and moved to DetNet in 2001, has rejoined the company as part of AEL's International team to assist in the drive for global expansion. He will continue to handle the sales and support of electronic detonators in his core regions to ensure continuity of the business established by DetNet.

“European growth is positive, particularly in Sweden as over 80% of HotShot electronic detonators sold in Europe are sold to there,” he says. “

The reason for this is that certain areas of Sweden insist on the use of electronic detonators on civil and road construction where heavy matts are employed to prevent flyrock. The HotShot cables and connectors are made of tough material, which ensures that the system is extremely reliable even under the heavy matts and in arctic conditions with temperatures reach below -20C.

“The HotShot System has become a 'standard' in these quarrying and construction applications due to the ease with which users can swap from shock tube to an electronic detonator system. They also prefer the connection method which does not involve cumbersome wiring, as well as the blast visualisation, which provides the blaster with the confidence that the blast will fire exactly as required.

"HotShot has also been used in a number of high-profile building demolitions, a ship-wreck break-up and even film-making – all of which demonstrate the flexibility of the system.”

DigiShot introduced

To enhance the choice of products, the DigiShot 2-wire system is being introduced to the European market. Having successfully tested the system in very cold and adverse conditions and having received the CE Mark approval, DigiShot can now offer customers a cost-effective option to compliment the high end, feature rich HotShot system "The uptake of electronic detonators is increasing each year", says Nick, "as more and more customers recognise the benefits of absolute precision, testability and selection of the exact millisecond to optimise blast performance. DigiShot will be a key addition to the range and will ensure that this momentum is maintained”.

HotShot - using electronic detonators in Europe