During September, 2006 a trial was conducted at Bendigo Gold Mine in Bendigo, Victoria to compare ANFO and emulsion for their application in underground hardrock development. This was an ideal place for the trial as they were in the process of phasing out ANFO as the primary explosive used for rock breakage in underground hardrock development, to make way for emulsion as the primary means of rock breakage.
ANFO blasting technology has been used in the Australian mining industry for over 40 years. It's extensive use in the mining stems from it's traditional involvement in the industry and the lack of a real alternative of explosive product. ANFO exhibits poor resistance to water, produces copious amounts of toxic gasses upon detonation, is classed as an explosive from the time it is manufactured which creates safety issues and detonation is hard to control to a finite degree. Emulsions have emerged as a strong competitor for ANFO in the mining field. They exhibit high resistance to water, longer sleep times, less gas emission and more controlled velocity of detonation and energy output.
This trial shows that emulsion is far safer to handle, more reliable and has a more predictable energy output than ANFO. It is highly resistant to water damage, it consistently gasses to the specified density and less product is wasted at each face. Emulsions produce far smaller concentrations of toxic gas which allows more available time for productive work.