MAXAM has worked on the expansion of the Panama Canal for over seven years. This period is divided into three phases, in which around 15,000 tons of explosives have been used in the more than 3000 blasting operations required to achieve the success of an operation that has exceeded the standards of the global industry.
The excavation of the southern access via the Pacific Ocean began in 2009. The use of our own RIOFLEX explosives that are waterproof and able to withstand high pressures, has enabled the levels of vibration and fragmentation proposed in the objectives to be attained.
For the design and construction of the third set of locks in the Pacific, underwater and dry blasting was used. The complexity of this part of the process was double both for the required fragmentation of P95% <300mm (11.8 in.) and because excavation levels had to be achieved with a single blast. The proximity of other structures, offices and locks required an exhaustive analysis of the potential impact of hydrodynamic shock waves and vibrations with our own RIOBLAST development software.
During the construction of access to Pacific channel number 4, more than 26 million m3 of unclassified material had to be removed in order to build a 3.5 km navigation channel and the 2.3 km Borinquen dam. Guaranteeing the success of this phase, in which numerous and different explosives were used, was possible through the correct design of the blasting together with our 150 years plus of experience and knowledge.
The drilling and blasting operations under this contract were executed two months earlier than expected to the satisfaction of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), and without any disturbance to neighboring communities
- Roderick Lee
- Project Manager for the Panama Canal project
In the first phase of the process, we managed to reduce the 18 months estimated by the customer to 5, with the corresponding reduction of the project’s total budget.
Facts & figures