The worldwide launch of Master Drilling’s Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB) machine (pictured) is moving closer, with unveiling and commissioning set to take place next month, the company said in its latest financial results.
On top of this, the company’s Blind Shaft Boring (BSB) technology is expected to be launched in the March quarter of 2019.
This news comes amid a “satisfactory” set of financial results for the company in the six months to the end of June, where revenue increased 11.3% year-on-year to $67.4 million, operating profit rose 6% to $12.9 million and headline earnings per share decreased 10.6% to $0.059.
“The macroeconomic environment remained challenging across a number of markets during the first half of the year but our ability to report stable profitability amid tough conditions suggests that Master Drilling’s strategy does not only position the business for future growth but also supports the business throughout the economic cycle,” Danie Pretorius, CEO of Master Drilling, said.
Master Drilling said the addition of a new machine and the acquisition of the remaining shareholding in Sweden-based Bergteamet Raiseboring Europe AB drove the increase in revenue, but the strength in emerging market currencies proved challenging, with the South Africa rand accounting for a large portion of the company’s costs.
The company, however, thinks the latter will be short lived.
“Given the recent weakening of emerging market currencies, we anticipate that the adverse effect of the stronger South African rand on our business in H1 2018 will reverse in H2 2018 which, given the strength of the pipeline and new enquiries, should bode well for Master Drilling,” Master Drilling said.
Master Drilling also has some interesting technology launches on the horizon, which could provide further sales opportunities.
In February, Master Drilling announced the launch of the MTB machine for continuous mining without blasting.
The MTB can bore out an excavation of 4.5 m and/or 5.5 m in diameter at a rate that far exceeds conventional tunnel construction methods, delivering various infrastructure solutions such as for declines, ramps, haulages and contact tunnels in hard rock with compressive strengths in excess of 300 MPa (more information can be found in IM‘s May issue).
Its modular construction makes it also possible to retrofit to existing operations and major mining companies have expressed interest in deploying Master Drilling’s first MTB once commissioned.
In addition to this, the company said progress continued on the BSB technology, with a launch date of the March quarter planned.
The BSB is a mechanised system for boring a vertical shaft to a depth of 2,000 m with finished diameters ranging from 10 m to 13 m. No underground access is required for the BSB to start boring operations as a shaft sinking method.