August 26, 2020

Incitec Pivot: Improving Efficiency & Reducing GHG Emissions

Matching the density of explosives loaded into a borehole to the geological characteristics present in the ground reduces the total amount of explosive energy required for an optimal blast, in turn reducing GHG emissions from explosives use by 10-25% while improving blasting results and safety.


  • 10-25% reduction in overall GHG emissions from commercial blasting

Case Study Type

  • Value chain partnership
  • Product technology to reduce supplier and customer GHG
Case Study Image

Problem Being Solved

Commercial mining explosives are made from a mixture of ammonium nitrate (AN) and fuel oil (FO). To allow for uncertainty in geology and conditions, mining engineers typically design blasts with 10% or more extra explosives to ensure an effective blast. After the blast pattern is drilled, rain or groundwater present in the hole may require the use of AN-dense emulsions which further increase the quantity of explosives consumed. Explosives use produces GHG emissions from:

  1. Blasting: Emissions from the oxidation of the fuel oil component (typically diesel) during the blast produces ~0.2 tonnes of CO2e for each tonne of ANFO used. These are Scope 1 emissions for mining customers.

  2. Manufacture of AN: AN manufacture is energy intensive and results in emissions of up to 1.6 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of ANFO used. These emissions are Scope 1 for the explosives manufacturer and Scope 3 (upstream) for mining customers.

  3. Transportation: The delivery of explosives to the blast hole in diesel powered trucks creates Scope 3 (manufacture to mine-site) and Scope 1 (mine-site depot to blast hole) emissions for mining customers. These are typically <0.1 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of ANFO used.

Matching the amount of explosive power with the ground conditions can significantly reduce explosives use and emissions


Differential Energy ™ (ΔE ®) is a proprietary explosives technology which allows blasters to accurately vary the density of AN emulsion as it is being loaded into the blast hole, allowing the operator to load multiple densities of gassed emulsion into the same hole in order to match the unique geological characteristics present in the ground.

Because the explosives energy is precisely targeted to match the rock properties and amount of water in each borehole, the amount of energy loaded into the blast hole will match only what is required for an optimal blast, reducing total energy and therefore GHG. In addition, reductions in vertical movement and air overpressure at the surface reduce flyrock, noise and dust, improving safety and reducing other social impacts.


ΔE® technology enables mining customers to reduce the overall GHG emissions from their explosives use by 10-25%, depending on application and the product being substituted:

GHG reductions across all areas;

  1. Blasting: >30% reduction in GHG emissions
  2. AN Manufacture: 8% to 25% reduction in AN used (powder factor*)
  3. Transportation: >35% reduction in explosives transport

GHG Emisssion Impact

In addition, use of ΔE® improves fragmentation which reduces crushed mineral cost-per-tonne, while also reducing flyrock, noise, dust and NOx emissions.

Initially developed to resolve highly technical blasting challenges, this technology provides a win-win-win opportunity for customers to reduce overall mining costs while lowering GHG emissions and maintaining supplier profitability and viability.

∗ Powder Factor is the relationship between how much rock is broken & how much explosive is used to break it.

This case study is provided for informational purposes only. No representation or warranty is made or intended by INCITEC PIVOT LIMITED, DYNO NOBEL INC. / DYNO NOBEL ASIA PACIFIC PTY LIMITED or its affiliates as to the applicability of any technology to any particular situation or circumstance or as to the completeness or accuracy of any information contained herein.

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