Marvellous mines: all you need to know about these powerful pyrotechnics

1st Galaxy Fireworks 557

If you like your firework displays loud, one of the most impressive types of pyrotechnics you can choose for your next big celebration is a mine. Mines are among the most powerful and dramatic types of fireworks you can buy, designed for maximum impact and producing a bang that can be as loud as 120 decibels.

How they work

Mines aren’t like other fireworks. They don’t explode in stages – the whole contents of a mine explode all at once. The mine is packaged in a single card tube and when the fuse is lit, the explosion shoots out the end of this tube right into the sky. This sudden effect shoots coloured stars and other effects up from ground level up to several dozens of feet into the air.

Mines are one-hit effects, so it can be expensive to only include mines and no other firework types in a display. In fact, your audience may actually find a mine-heavy display a little dull as when used frequently, the shock factor produced by the sudden, loud explosion will soon wear off. Mines should be used to create sudden drama in a display, to punctuate other effects and the produce a climax to the show.

Types of mine

There are a few different types of mine to choose from – mortar, fountain and double-effect. Let’s look at each of these in turn:

  • Mortar mines. Very short in duration but heavy on impact and drama, mortars are the classic example of a mine in action. The fuse burns down into the mine, producing a stunning and booking – if short-lived at around 5 seconds or so – explosion up into the sky.
  • Fountain start mines. These fireworks start with a reasonably good quality fountain effect which burns down to the mine to produce an unexpected explosion. This injects a fantastic element of surprise into any display.
  • Double-effect mines. These double or even triple effect mines go off in stages, offering excellent value for money and filling up time in a display even if the effects themselves are a little smaller and quieter than a mortar mine.

Can anyone buy and use a mine?

Mine fireworks are Category 3 fireworks, which means that they are intended for displays rather than use in your back garden. However, they are available to the general public and can be used by non-professionals. Due to the way they fire and the explosiveness of the effect, mines require a greater distance to be left between spectators and the firing zone. If using mines:

  • Only fire them in open areas (i.e. school playing fields)
  • Leave a distance of at least 25 metres between the firing zone and spectator areas
  • Always read the instructions thoroughly before the display
  • Consider your neighbours – mines are loud, so make sure you inform people living close to the display site in advance
  • Only ever buy BS7114 certified fireworks
  • Consult a professional such as the 1st Galaxy team if you need tips or advice on using mines.