Master Drilling might have faced a tough macroeconomic operating environment than previously expected in 2018, but the company was able to make progress on several fronts.
The company’s revenues increased 14.2% year-on-year to $138.7 million in 2018, while its headline earnings per share decreased 7.8% to $0.107.
Master Drilling CEO, Danie Pretorius, said notwithstanding the difficult trading conditions, the company “remained steadfast in the pursuit and implementation” of its strategy, “laying the foundation for future growth through the continued development of new, ground-breaking technologies, the expansion of our global footprint and by nurturing our client and business relationships”.
The company exited the year with an order book of $203.6 million and a pipeline of $578.6 million.
In terms of the company’s “ground-breaking technologies”, the company said it made progress on three fronts:
- Unveiling and subsequently launching the Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB) and announcing the Tunnel Pro Srl joint venture;
- Developing the Blind Shaft Boring system technology, and;
- Introducing remote drilling operations.
On the former, Master Drilling said, following testing at a quarry in Italy, the MTB was being shipped back to South Africa to take part in a pilot project.
It said testing of the Blind Shaft Boring system technology was also underway.
And, on the remote drilling applications, it had this to say:
“Recently, Master Drilling introduced Remote Drilling, which has been successfully commissioned at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine, considered the world’s deepest mine.
“Remote drilling enables operation of an automated drill rig from a remote location. Master Drilling’s remote raise bore machine is currently working 3 km underground at Mponeng mine which is being operated from the contractor’s site office on surface.”
The Master Drilling remote system is a proprietary ‘plug and play’ control and display module that connects to the drill rig’s local control module through the mine’s underground and shaft communication network, it said.
“By removing all personnel from the dangerous underground environment, this self-driven mechanism has proven to improve production time and confirms that autonomous drilling technology is at the core of safer mining operations,” it said.