"Plasma 4th has a vision to become the leading rock fracture company in the world using non-explosive technologies. We have a unique solution for mining and it should be implemented around the world. Our technology is an important part of a mining future that is more socially and environmentally sustainable."

Francisco Portilla

GENERAL MANAGER, PLASMA 4TH

January 22, 2020

What is the science behind Plasma 4th’s cutting edge technology?

Our product is made up of a mix of metallic salts and the rock fracturing process is initiated by equipment that accumulates 4,000 volts of electricity. That electricity goes into cartridges wherein each cartridge has an initiator that creates a spark, and that spark creates a reaction. This process is called ionization and it produces a very high temperature. Then, because of the high temperature and the expansion of the gases, we are able to break the rock.

In terms of environmental impact, how is Plasma 4th’s non-explosive technique an improvement over traditional blasting methods?

Gas emissions are far less than with normal explosives. Also, Plasma 4th technology produces close to zero waste. Lastly, our technology is 80% quieter than traditional blasting methods. Often mines are located very close to communities, so we offer a solution that can improve community relations by lessening the environmental impact of mining.

To develop a project near a community you need to use technologies that are minimally invasive. If you are blasting near a community it creates a lot of pollution, a lot of noise and a lot of vibration. Often this can lead to resistance from communities and the risk of a project being blocked. With Plasma 4th, anyone more that 200 meters away will not even hear a blast go off.

How reliable and cost effective is Plasma 4th’s product?

So far, we have three million cubic meters of experience with no accidents and zero misfires. We have consistently executed at a very high standard, so Plasma 4th is proving to be extremely reliable.

In terms of cost effectiveness, a kg of plasma is more expensive than a kg of explosives. However, companies that use our technology don’t just focus on the cost per kg. There are other costs to consider in the equation. These include community resistance due to the negative effects of blasting, and the high cost of evacuating the mining site when blasts occur. With Plasma 4th you only evacuate 150 meters. This guarantees operational continuity and limits downtime, which leads to cost savings in the long term.  We are undoubtedly the cheaper option when you take into consideration the side effects of blasting.

What is Plasma 4th’s growth strategy?

Currently we are certified as a non-explosive product in seven countries: Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and most recently India and South Africa. The next three countries that we initiated the permitting process in are Mexico, Australia and France. We are prioritizing countries where ENAEX is already present so we can leverage that position in order to grow faster and on a bigger scale.

How receptive has the Chilean market been to Plasma 4th’s product?

In the beginning, it was very difficult, but because strong community relations are so important to the success of mining projects, slowly we have been penetrating the market. Now we are working with Inco, which has one of the biggest mine expansion projects in Chile, and also with Amsa, which is another large project where our product is being used. They chose Plasma 4th specifically because they had concerns over their projects being blocked and they knew our product would improve their chances of getting approval.

What is Plasma 2.0? How will this phase in your development help Plasma 4th achieve its long-term goals?

Plasma 2.0 is the next phase in our development and it means that we need to develop our technology so that we can be helpful in a broader range of scenarios. Plasma 2.0 is about proving that plasma is a better choice for most of the mining tasks that in the past required blasting. We want to be involved in full production, and for that we need to be more cost effective. Plasma 4th has a vision to become the leading rock fracture company in the world using non-explosive technologies. We have a unique solution for mining and it should be implemented around the world. Our technology is an important part of a mining future that is more socially and environmentally sustainable. We can achieve this while still remaining cost effective and productive.

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