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Southwest Energy

2021 Industry Partnership Award

Southwest Energy was founded in May 1973 by James D. Toole in Tucson, Arizona. Soon thereafter, Southwest Energy purchased the Arizona manufacturing operations of Hercules, Inc. and immediately expanded throughout the Southwest. This was followed by taking an equity position in Apache Powder Company, now known as Apache Nitrogen Products Inc. in Benson, Arizona in the early 1980’s.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Southwest Energy continued to expand its explosive manufacturing and distribution footprint.  The company further expanded into blast hole drilling and in the year 2000, Southwest Energy formed a joint venture with SASOL, a South African chemical and energy company. As a result of this joint venture, Southwest Energy gained access to explosive technologies, electronic detonators, and a unique form of ammonium nitrate prill called EXPAN. After three years, the joint venture dissolved when SASOL exited the global explosives market.

In 2008 Southwest Energy created a new joint venture with Orica, the largest explosives company in the world based in Melbourne, Australia. With the innovative explosive’s technologies and strong manufacturing base of Orica, Southwest Energy continues to provide even greater value to its mining customers. Today, Southwest Energy has multiple facilities, distribution sites, and blasting operations across the western United States.

Southwest Energy safely manufactures and loads hundreds of millions of pounds of blasting agents every year, working closely with their customers to optimize the explosive products, equipment and services to their specific applications. Southwest Energy’s mission has always been and continues to be the creation of opportunity for its employees by bringing ever increasing value to its customers.


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