AECI Mining Explosives Continues To Make A Significant Impact On The Environment By Assisting Its Customers To Dispose Of Used Oils.

By Radja Nove Putra

Sample of S320 Eco product on the bench.

PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) is a major open pit coal mining company operating in the regions of Sangatta and Bengalon, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The combined mining concession area is 61,543 Ha with KPC managing one of the largest open-pit mines in the world which produces approximately 60 million tonnes of Run of Mine (ROM) coal per year.

The mining method utilised is truck and excavator within multiple pits which are managed by two mining divisions: Mining Operation Division (MOD) and Contract Mining Division (CMD). AECI Mining Explosives operates within the CMD area of the KPC operations.


KPC coal production began in 1992 and mines more than 450 million Bank Cubic Metre (BCM) of overburden material per year. In 2021 KPC mined 453 million BCM of overburden by consuming 85,000 tonnes of bulk explosives to produce 56.4 million tonnes of coal. Approximately 83% of the overburden requires drilling and blasting to enable efficient excavation.

KPC’s mining activity generates over 8 million litres of used oil per annum (2010-2021). Prior to 2011, used oil in explosives was only used for ANFO whilst the remaining oil was shipped to a local licensed waste processor.

Business Challenges

The required volume of bulk explosives at KPC is in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes per year and 65% of that requirement is supplied by AECI Mining Explosives at the CMD Operations.

KPC has identified that fuel and explosives consumption represent two of the main operating costs for the mine. Consequently, KPC is actively and constantly identifying and implementing more efficient and safe blasting processes to reduce consumables costs including the saving on diesel for emulsion manufacturing. To support this, in 2016 KPC obtained a permit to introduce and utilise used oil to replace diesel up to 80% in the emulsion formulation and in conformance to the local standard SNI 7642:2010 (SNI, Standard Nasional Indonesia) followed by an upgrade to 100% replacement in 2017.

KPC overburden removal and used oil production 2010-2021.

Diesel versus used oil utilisation 2010-2021.

Used oil is known to contain elements, which are harmful to the environment and handling this waste stream in a cost effective and environmentally responsible way is challenging. In order to categorize the used oil as a reusable resource and not as a hazardous waste material, a strict specification for the quality of the used oil is necessary.

The recovered used oil from a given workshop facility or source is delivered to a specific settling tank where the used oil is allowed to settle for a number of days. Water, solids, and oil sludge are drained off the bottom of the tanks at regular intervals until the stored used oil is approved for use in the fuel blend component of the emulsion for the manufacture of the final S300 Eco emulsion.


In order to fulfill KPC’s expectations in the introduction of used oil to manufacture emulsion, AECI Mining Explosives introduced the S300 Eco Series product, a bulk emulsion product that is suitable for reactive ground environments with high energy and stability. AECI Mining Explosives Eco Series is designed to incorporate used oil with the aim to protect the environment and reducing the carbon footprint. AECI Mining Explosives is one of the pioneers in the utilisation and application of used oil as a replacement for diesel in emulsion manufacturing.

Used oil storage in emulsion plant at KPC Sangatta.

Advanced emulsifier technology combined with high quality used oil has allowed for the successful replacement of diesel in the manufacture of bulk emulsion explosives. The development of suitable emulsifiers has enabled AECI Mining Explosives to replace diesel up to 100% without reducing the bulk explosive performance.

Energy and performance have in fact increased through the combination of these technologies. Back in January 2011, AECI Mining Explosives commenced trials at KPC with 10% replacement of virgin oil, ramping up to 100% in 2017. This is testament to continuous improvement.


The performance of the S300 Eco Series bulk explosive products has been consistent with all levels of used oil replacement and monitored regularly on the bench by conducting regular Velocity of Detonation (VOD) tests. The product has proved to be stable and performed within its specification with excellent blast results achieved.

Since the time of introducing used oil for emulsion manufacturing, the saving in diesel consumption for the period of 2011-2021 has been approximately 25.5 million litres or annual average saving of 2.3 million litres per year.

“The KPC Drill and Blast department is committed to adhering to the country’s stringent environmental regulations,” said Sasongko Nurwendo, acting KPC drill and blast manager. “In realizing this with our commitment to greener operations, the team understands that there is an opportunity to reduce the proliferation of used oils, which are categorized as a hazardous pollutant. Part of the synergies explored with AECI Mining Explosives is to ensure that used oils from the mine’s production processes will be absorbed as part of AECI’s explosive formulations.

“This opportunity for improvement will not only significantly reduce the blasting cost, but also assist KPC with managing the used oil produced from its operations. The group expects that AECI Mining Explosives Indonesia will maintain, and where possible, improve on the current excellent emulsion technology and also to continue bringing new improvement ideas to KPC,” Nurwendo said.

Radja Nove Putra is technical services manager – AECI Mining Explosives Indonesia. This article first appeared on

 AECI and Sustainability

sidebar artThe AECI Sustainability Framework was developed in 2020 and published in the company’s inaugural Sustainability Report.

The framework, now amended to include Climate Action and Commitment to Net Zero emissions by 2050, as a new dimension, focuses its collective capability and capacity on shaping a better world. It has 10 goals, each numbered in the framework.

One AECI, for a better world focuses on the significant opportunity to deliver Better Mining, Better Water, Better Food Systems and Better Chemistry in collaboration with its customers and other partners. Supported by AECI.GO, the group-wide innovation drive, its teams explore new products, processes and technologies that can be scaled to deliver its purpose.

Responsible Operations focuses on aligning every operational decision and action with #ABetterWorld in pursuit of Zero Harm to people and the environment. Supported by the group SHEQ function and SHEQ personnel across its businesses in 23 countries, its commitments inform the efforts of our over 7000 employees.

Passionate People focuses on high performance and inclusion, making it easier for AECI teams to contribute, in partnership, to #ABetterWorld. Supported by the group Human Capital function and Human Capital Business Partners in the businesses, this goal area recognises the value, rights and responsibilities of every employee and all its stakeholders.