Collar Keeper System exceeds expectations in latest Western Australia field trial

Aquirian Limited says its wholly owned subsidiary, TBS Mining Solutions Pty Ltd, has completed the final in-field trials of its Collar Keeper® System.

The field trials were conducted at a gold mine in the Mid-West of Western Australia, on a blasthole track rig in both wet and dry conditions. The trial included full production testing over the course of seven continuous shifts irrespective of ground conditions, it said.

Over the course of the trial, 254 production holes were drilled including 30 wet holes in difficult ground conditions where The Collar Keeper System eliminated the requirement for costly and time-consuming collar piping, according to Aquirian. In addition, the system achieved significantly reduced drilling time for the wet holes, seeing greater than 50% improvement in drill yield in these areas. Importantly, the system maintained full hole depth across all the holes removing the need for any re-drills.

“This post-drill hole quality represents a significant shift in operational benefit for the industry, removing costly rework in redrills and duplication of blasthole dipping throughout the drill and blast cycle,” the company said. “With the improvement in drill cycle times, drill yield and the elimination of re-drills experienced during the trial, it is expected the Collar Keeper System will make a notable impact on reducing CO2 intensity per drill hole produced.”

Just last month, TBS entered into a binding technology Memorandum of Understanding with MACA Mining Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of MACA Ltd, looking at collaborating on the development and commercialisation of the Collar Keeper System.

Greg Patching, Executive Director Business Development & Innovation, said: “We are again thrilled with the performance of our Collar Keeper System in a variety of typical drilling conditions. The system’s ability to improve overall drill time across the holes and, more importantly, deliver repeatable quality blastholes irrespective of conditions was fantastic.”

TBS has entered preliminary discussions with several clients for the Collar Keeper System with commercialisation to begin in the September quarter of 2022. The company is targeting implementation on 12-15 track rig units by June 2022, generating revenue of approximately A$125,000-$200,000/mth ($88,836-142,107) on an ongoing basis. The current commercialisation focus will target approximately 200 blasthole track rigs operating on mines (excluding quarries) in Western Australia alone, noting that thousands of these rigs operate on mines globally.

David Kelly, Managing Director, said: “This is a really exciting time for Aquirian as we work towards realising the commercialisation of the Collar Keeper System. It will not only make a step change impact on cost and quality for our customers, but it will also introduce a new and significant revenue stream for the company into the future.”