The newly established AEL Mining Services Chair in Innovative Rock-breaking Technology will reside within the Department of Mining Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria (UP). The Department has established a solid reputation in the South African mining industry with its ability to produce high-calibre graduates, supply additional training to meet industry needs, conduct relevant research and be a source of specialist information on all aspects of mining operations. To maintain the capabilities of such a centre of excellence, it is imperative that staff, postgraduate students and co-workers in the industry are continuously involved in practical, relevant and groundbreaking research in the mining field. The Chair's key objective is to increase AEL's exposure within the University, with specific reference to the development of future leaders in the mining industry.
AEL, a proud member of the JSE-listed AECI Group in South Africa, has been a leading developer, producer and supplier of commercial explosives, initiating systems and blasting services for mining, quarrying and construction markets in Africa and select international markets, such as Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. AEL collaborates with customers through its value proposition named IntelliBlast™, which is the culmination of more than 100 years' experience and offers a holistic and flexible approach to help clients on their unique journey to optimal blast outcomes using AEL's suite of differentiated products and services.
In addition to supplying indispensable products, the company has also provided expertise, training and consultation in the complex but crucial process of blasting rock, in both underground mines and surface operations. For the past several decades, AEL has endeavoured to ensure that South African blasting practices have kept pace with new developments internationally. It is within this context that the AEL Chair in Innovative Rock-breaking Technology was established at UP.
The initial pilot project under the auspices of the newly established Chair will focus on determining safe blast clearance radii for blasting. This lead project, which will pave the way for future investigations, will eventually entrench a successful and symbiotic relationship between AEL and UP.