Construction of a second-generation pilot plant for the manufacturing of blasting agents

The project and its challenges

Nexco has developed, through laboratory testing, an ammonium nitrate powder for the manufacturing of blasting agents for use in the mining industry. This water-resistant product sets itself apart from the competition because it is dense, sensitive, energy-producing and stable. Working from the patent held by the company, Seneca helped Nexco build their pilot plant and produce samples that demonstrate the competitive advantage of the new product. Seneca’s services included process development, and the construction and dismantling of the pilot plant. After only two weeks of production, the company was able to visit the world’s largest quarries to deploy their product and sell their technology. Among Seneca’s challenges were a tight budget and the handling of highly dangerous and controlled substances. Services included:

  • Process development (the Seneca process package)
  • EPCM project management
  • Plant design
  • Basis of safety.







$1 million






The proposed solution

Manufacturing and reusing equipment

The company’s technology relied on a spray dryer to produce very fine particles. To save time and reduce the budget, our team utilized used equipment, including dust extractors, pumps and tanks. Our process specialists also designed and built certain parts of the pilot equipment, including a dryer.

An optimal construction site

Our team helped search for a new location by finding an old warehouse. The temporary facilities were able to operate without contaminating the site, leaving it unaffected after successfully producing several tons of product.

The results

  • Delivery on time, on budget and in compliance with specifications
  • No incidents or spills
  • Permits easily obtained thanks to Seneca’s support
  • Reduction in total capital investment vs. initial assessments
  • Rapid manufacturing to specs of quality commercial samples for presentation to prospective clients.

In business, things must be done quickly. Seneca understands this. Their efficient project management structure helps to swiftly move things along. The technical skills of the work teams ensured technical success.

Rob Squirrell

President, Nexco

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