PUSH START: Industry Minister Kate Jones has launched the new electronic blasting system assembly line by Orica's factory in Helidon, represented by Australia and Asia-Pacific president Darryl Cuzzubbo.
PUSH START: Industry Minister Kate Jones has launched the new electronic blasting system assembly line by Orica's factory in Helidon, represented by Australia and Asia-Pacific president Darryl Cuzzubbo. Tom Gillespie

$6m detonator assembly line launched in Lockyer Valley

THE world's most advanced electronic explosives system will be produced just 30km from Toowoomba, after a $6 million partially-public funded assembly line was launched this week.

Innovation Minister Kate Jones pushed the button to kick-start the operation by international commercial explosives provider Orica Group at its Helidon site today.

Along with creating an extra 18 jobs at the work site, the assembly line would produce two million units every year to cater for the growing Australian and Asian markets.

Industry Minister Kate Jones has launched the new electronic blasting system assembly line by Orica's factory in Helidon.
Industry Minister Kate Jones has launched the new electronic blasting system assembly line by Orica's factory in Helidon. Tom Gillespie

The Department of State Development contributed $1 million of the funds through its Advance Queensland fund.

Orica Group Australia and Asia-Pacific president Darryl Cuzzubbo said the company was trying to cater for a 30 per cent increase in demand for the product, particularly from countries like China and India.

"We are making the most advanced detonator available today in the world here in Helidon," he said.

"It's also a big day for our customers because by having manufacturing here in Australia, we can better meet their demands.

"At the moment, these detonators have been coming from Canada, whereas now they will be built here in Helidon and sent over to Asia as well as Australia."

Kate Jones inspects explosives assembly line: Kate Jones inspects explosives assembly line at the Orica site in Helidon, Lockyer Valley, just east of Toowoomba.
Kate Jones inspects explosives assembly line: Kate Jones inspects explosives assembly line at the Orica site in Helidon, Lockyer Valley, just east of Toowoomba.

Mining, quarries and civil construction are the main industries for the new detonator, which allows the customer to time the explosion down to the millisecond.

Orica will also spend an extra $10 million a year on Queensland suppliers, including contractors and companies based in Toowoomba.

Ms Jones said she was excited to see jobs remain in the Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba region.

"What this means is an explosion in jobs for this local part of Queensland, with 130 staff working here," she said.

"It's a real boom for this advanced manufacturing industry."