During the IAAP convention in March, the Illinois Department of Natural resources presented the 2019 Blasting Excellence Award to Melvin Johnson of Dyno Nobel, Inc. This award, often referred to as the “Blaster of the Year” award, recognizes Illinois licensed blasters who have achieved a tremendous amount of respect in the mining industry and among their peers in the explosives industry through their professionalism, knowledge and experience in blasting and hard work.
Johnson began his career in the explosives industry in 1983 with Evenson Explosives, working in the manufacturing side of the company. Through dedication and hard work, Mr. Johnson was given the opportunity to advance, becoming a CDL driver and member of a blast crew. Johnson received his first Illinois Surface Aggregate Blasting License in 1997, the first year that such a license was required in Illinois.
In 2008, Evenson Explosives was purchased by Dyno Nobel and Johnson continued his employment with Dyno Nobel, becoming one of the most valued blasters at the site. Over the course of the following eight years, he earned the reputation of the “go to guy” to ask when issues arose and never stopped expanding his knowledge base. Johnson continually strives to expand his knowledge of blasting, transitioning from basic initiation systems to the most recent technology as it was introduced. No challenge was too large.
Johnson has continually shown the character and fortitude required to put safety first in order to avoid any situations which may have resulted in harm to the community, mine employees, as well as damage to mine equipment. When encouraged to rush or ignore issues that could result in injury or damage, and he has always remained steadfast in his values.