More details have emerged of the results Northern Star Resources achieved by implementing Minnovare’s Production Optimiser technology over a two-month period at one of its Kalgoorlie gold operations.
A newly released case study, co-authored with Northern Star Resources, showed the Production Optimiser technology not only increased drilled metres by 17% at the operation, it also helped deliver the highest average stope recovery in the life of the operation.
If maintained over a full year’s production, that represents an additional 5,000 oz and A$8.4 million ($6.1 million) additional revenue – equivalent to a 3.5% increase in forecast stope turnover, according to Northern Star Mining Services General Manager, Rob Parsons.
The two-month trial saw the Production Optimiser implemented at one of the Kalgoorlie operation in April 2018, with three long-hole production rigs running.
Parsons said: “The collaboration with Minnovare initially stemmed from the observation that too much time was being spent re-drilling holes (due to inaccuracy). The other problem we identified was the difference between the drill rig’s onboard inclinometers, and what was actually being drilled. It was most visible looking at the final stope pick up – the actual shape didn’t line up with what you had designed. So, we were doing extra work just to validate where things really were.”
Minnovare’s Production Optimiser system combines advanced hardware and software that enhances the speed, accuracy and reliability of long-hole production drilling. This leads to improved stope productivity and, ultimately, increased profitability, Minnovare says.
The system can be retrofitted to any make or model of drill rig and works independently of the rig’s onboard systems.
Parsons said: “We achieved, on average, 100 additional drill metres per day in the two months immediately after implementing the new technology, thanks to reduced rig setup time and re-drills. That’s roughly a 17% increase in drilled metres. During the same period, we reduced average blast-hole deviation (from planned toe-point) by 75%.
“In terms of stope ore recovery, those two months combined were the highest average for the life of the operation. The increased drill rate and stope ore-recovery equates to an approximate 3.5% reduction in stope turnover time.”
Minnovare Managing Director, Callum McCracken said: “Minnovare worked closely with Northern Star from day one to successfully implement the Production Optimiser on site. As the drillers and engineers continued to use the system they’ve seen further gains in drilled metres and a continuation of the improved recovery rate. That’s thanks to optimal blasts and a faster stope turnover, which is a direct consequence of greater drilling accuracy, speed and reliability.”
Since the trial has taken place, Minnovare and Northern Star have signed a technology collaboration agreement to develop and implement Minnovare technology across NSR’s Western Australia operations.