Drilling and blasting in our country – past, present and development with many questions
The purpose of this article is to provide the reader with an overview of the current state of drilling operations in the Czech Republic, to understand the gradual development to the present and to try to estimate the future.
The turbulent 1990s
In such a highly specialised field as drilling for the stone industry and construction, the Velvet Revolution changes of 1989 took place both in terms of the business strategy of individual companies and in terms of major technological advances in drilling. Some companies continued to develop their drilling centres, which had a decades-long tradition, and where the profession of driller or gunner was handed down from father to son, which had its undeniable advantages. Some new quarry owners proceeded to carry out drilling work on their own, purchased rigs and followed the path of self-sufficiency, including blasting.
Open market transparency
The accompanying and ultimately final result of this period is the unification of a large part of the market, which has affected the whole issue of raw material extraction and drilling and blasting in the construction industry. As a result of these processes, accompanied by the entry of large foreign construction and mining companies as well as suppliers of quarrying technology, the market is now more transparent.
Explosives Producers Initiative
Until recently, several companies offered drilling and blasting services. However, this state of affairs is now a thing of the past. Over the past 15 years, explosives manufacturers have begun to take the initiative, incorporating explosives supply into a single package of services, including shot design and drilling. The acquisitions have reduced the number of drilling rig suppliers to just two.
Ignoring the small number of quarries held by individuals who can afford to maintain their drilling and blasting capacity, the number of truly significant players who can provide the scale of drilling required to meet the needs of the major mining companies is down to five. Soon, this figure is likely to decrease even further. It should be noted here that in many cases large aggregate producers have decided to close their long-established drilling capacities and switch to a system of comprehensive drilling and blasting supply, including the supply of explosives.
Source: Lomy a těžba