Aquirian Limited’s TBS Mining Solutions Pty Ltd (TBS) has commenced commercialisation of its revolutionary Collar Keeper® System, with a fully commercialised, extended trial underway in Western Australia’s Northern Goldfields.
TBS is on-site with 60% of the mine site’s Epiroc T45 drill rigs converted for an extended commercial trial, it said.
This milestone follows the completion of its final in-field trials at the end of 2021, where 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.
While the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Western Australia delayed access to site, Greg Patching, Executive Director Business Development and Innovation, said: “We are thrilled to be finally in the field commencing the transition for our customers onto the Collar Keeper System. This marks a major milestone for the development and commercialisation of the system.”
TBS has also received strong interest from several overseas mining companies and received its first orders for a commercial trial to commence in Zambia in mid-late May, it said.
The company continues to work on the development of the Collar Keeper System, including expanding the range of drill rig applications and mechanisation of the system which will, in time, provide a pathway towards full automation for clients worldwide, it said.
The Collar Keeper System is a combination of Aquirian-developed, retrofittable drilling apparatus combined with its existing Collar Keeper. The technology represents a step change in managing blasthole quality and is targeted to provide a unique solution to a range of different blasting environments with global applications, the company said.
The initial focus for the technology is on mines operating in Western Australia with smaller-diameter holes in challenging ground conditions, where high-cost collar piping is traditionally used.
“The traditional method of collar piping has not changed in over 40 years and introduces significant hazards as well as cost, time and quality issues, and poor blast outcomes for clients,” the company said. “In addition, the poor blasting outcomes lead to further downstream costs in load and haul, and the processing of mined material.”