What Are Chemical Explosives Used in Mining

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chemical explosives used in mining

Explosives used in mining are not the same as those used in battlefields or military operations. Instead, they are designed to be safe, cost-effective, and highly efficient for the mining industry. This article explores some commonly used chemical explosives in mining operations today.

Explosives Used in Mining

Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO) Blasting Agents

Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO) blasting agents are the most widely used. They offer low cost and high energy output, making them a great option for many surface mining operations.
ANFO blasts consist mainly of 94% solid ammonium nitrate mixed with 6% fuel oil. When ignited, it can fracture and break apart rocks in mines in a controlled way. This mix of ingredients is effective because the ammonium nitrate helps to increase the energy output of the blast, while the fuel oil stabilizes it and provides more consistent results.

Using ANFO blasting agents is also one of the safest methods for mining explosives. The mixture does not create large quantities of toxic fumes or gases like other explosives, making it an effective and safe choice for underground miners.


Dynamite is one of the oldest and most well-known types of explosives used in mining. It is stable and relatively inexpensive, convenient for miners working on a tight budget.
When mining, dynamite is typically packed into drill holes for blasting or used to break up large pieces of ore before transportation or processing. The primary components of dynamite are nitroglycerin and a porous absorbent, which reduces its sensitivity to shock, heat, and light. Nitroglycerin is combined with other components, such as ammonium nitrate, sawdust, wood pulp, or charcoal, to increase the blast’s power.

Emulsion Explosives

These are relatively new explosives on the scene and offer some great benefits when it comes to blasting in wet conditions. The unique combination of water and fuel och makes them effective for blasting in wet conditions, as the water doesn’t affect them.

These explosives can be stored for a long time without deteriorating. That means you don’t have to worry about them going off accidentally and causing an explosion.

Here’s how emulsion explosives work:

  • A mixture of fuel oil and water is combined with special additives that give it extra strength and durability.
  • The mixture is fed into a detonator and detonated by an electric charge or other triggering device.
  • The resulting explosion releases huge amounts of energy, which is used to break up rocks and other materials quickly and effectively.
  • After the blast is complete, the remaining material can be safely disposed of.

Slurry Explosive Mixtures

The explosive slurry mixture is a chemical explosive commonly used in mining. It’s made by mixing water, ammonium nitrate, and other chemicals to create a thick, slurry-like substance. This type of explosive is useful in open-pit and underground mining because it can help break up rock or ore quickly and easily.

The mixture used in a slurry explosive is highly specific depending on the environment they’re being used in and what it’ll be used for. Generally, they contain ammonium nitrate, an oxidizer; fuel oil; emulsifiers; bursting agents; surfactants; protective coatings; water gels; initiators or detonators; and other additives as needed for its use case.

Chemicals Used to Make Explosives Effective

Using chemical explosives in mining can be complex, so you need to know what chemicals are used to make them effective. Some of these chemicals include:

  • Aluminum Sulfate
  • Calcium Ammonium Nitrate
  • Bisley Promoter 510
  • Cellulose Ethers
  • Xanthan gum
  • Naphthalene sulfonate

Shop Quality Materials for Your Next Mining Project from Bisley International

Bisley International offers a wide range of chemical explosives to suit any job, from bulk-manufactured and packaged explosive materials to custom-tailored solutions. Check out our collection of mining and explosives chemicals, and place an order today.