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Hard task

Thursday, 27th October, 2011

By Erica Visser

 Working out how to best break 3000 cubic metres of rock on the new multi-million dollar shopping centre site could result in the project failing to meet next year’s deadline.

The developer for the project, Leasecorp’s Steve Palyga, said that the company was still investigating using NoneX, a non-explosive chemical substance. 

“We actually started looking at that a couple of months ago,” Mr Palyga said yesterday.

“Cost is one aspect we need to look at; you’d have to use sub-contractors.

“We’d have to do on-site trials. Obviously the site would have to be covered off by Council,” he said.

Mr Palyga said that there had not been any consultation with Council over that option at this stage.

“In the meantime we will look at more traditional methods,” he said.

City Council’s Building and Environmental Health Manager, Geoff Laan, said that NoneX was the best option.

“This product is traditionally used in areas such as capital cities and busy CBDs,” Mr Laan said.

“Perhaps one of the best examples of NoneX’s effectiveness is that they used it to remove rock and burrow a tunnel at Beaconfield.

“They could not have used traditional explosive methods because these would’ve had fatal effects on the trapped miners.”

Mr Laan said that traditional methods such as using a rock-breaker were out of the question because they were likely to be expensive and laborious.

He said that should NoneX be approved, the work would be finished by early next year at the latest.

“We will conduct off-site testing at another mine which will include mine developers who are keen to see the product used,” Mr Laan said.

“We’ll have to wait until we hear from the shotfirer to assess and place conditions for the rock to be broken.”

Mr Laan said that he would be in contact with the developers and partly blamed the delay on a “few things going on in the shopping centre in general.” 

Deon Becker, from RockBreaking Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, said that the company had been approached by local contractors.

“We spoke to contractors and we’ve been waiting on developers for over six weeks,” said Mr Becker.

He said that NoneX was the best option for breaking the rock.

“I believe it is the safest, most cost-effective, quickest way to break through the rock. It’s much quicker than traditional ways. 

“The contractor estimated four to six weeks to get the project done and provided site measurements are in place this is achievable.

“You couldn’t do that with a rock breaker.”

Mr Becker said that any fear over the use of the chemical was unwarranted.

“It does not do what explosives do; with explosives the exclusion zone is around 300 metres at most places.

“Our exclusion zone reaches from fifteen to thirty metres once the provided measures are in place.

“We use a 250 gram cartridge to do it, the size of a cup, which is small compared to what explosives use.” 

Mr Becker admitted that one disadvantage was that you cannot set the time for detonation, as you can with explosives.

“When we fire there’s no delay, it’s all instantaneous.

“We’re willing to come and do a demonstration to put anyone’s mind at ease.” 

But Mr Becker had reservations about the project being completed by the end of next year.

“In order to achieve the target we need to get the project underway promptly.”

 

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