Tag Archives: Boart Longyear

Boart Longyear drills deeper with new underground diamond coring rig offering

Boart Longyear has announced the launch of a new LM Deephole underground drilling rig that, it says, builds off the LM110 and Nitro-Chuck™ platforms with the addition of a new PQ drill head.

The drill will allow for a 50% increase in drilling depth for NQ size.

As with all LM drills, the rig can be operated with remote control through the DCi™ (Drill Control Interface) and supplied with a rod handler for enhanced safety. This, Boart Longyear says, drastically reduces the driller’s exposure to potential hand injuries, one of the biggest risks for a drilling operator.

When paired together, drillers can use semi-autonomous drill routines over breaks and shift changes which have been found to increase productivity of up to 14%, according to the company.

Erik Gaugh, Product Manager at Boart Longyear, said: “I’m very excited about this rig. It combines established product platforms with several of our new technologies to deliver our customers what they want.”

Boart Longyear helps drillers recover more core with LF 160 drill rig updates

Boart Longyear is updating its LF™160 surface coring drill rig with, among other things, an inner tube that will allow drillers to retrieve a full 6-m inner tube out of the rod string using the wireline winch.

In addition, Boart is adding foldable walkways and Cummins Tier 3 engines to add efficiency and safety to its LF 160. When paired with the FL262 FREEDOM™ Loader, the LF 160 combination is, the company says, ideal for contractors who want to target sophisticated surface drilling exploration contracts that stipulate some of the highest safety standards, without compromising on productivity. The FL262 Freedom Loader is an innovative rod loading system that requires no intervention from the driller’s assistant to trip and align rods or connect to the top drive head.

The company introduced its LF 160 and FREEDOM™ Loader during MINExpo 2016.

The 6-m inner tube, coupled with the capability of handling full PQ inner tubes, means the LF 160 delivers more operating efficiency, reducing the frequency of retrieving the inner tube, which in turn decreases downtime, the company said.

Erik Gaugh, Product Manager – Capital Equipment, said: “Compared to a standard 3-m system, the 6-m inner tube system can deliver efficiencies of up to 50% for deeper holes. We anticipate the 6-m system to be a game changer for many of our customers.”

Foldable walkways are available on the LF 160T (truck) and are integrated on both sides of the rig with railings and kick plates, the company explained. The walkways provide safe access to the elevated rig platform on the truck chassis and eliminates the need for fall arrest protection. The walkways hydraulically fold in and out without the need for manual manipulation to further reduce the potential for hand injuries, Boart explained.

The company concluded: “Boart Longyear is committed to providing the safest, most productive, and most reliable rigs in the industry. The foldable platforms, 6-m inner tube system and Cummins Tier 3 engines are continued proof of that commitment.”

Mitchell Services bolsters drilling fleet as it senses market opportunities

Mitchell Services, noting the strongest demand for drilling services since 2008, is raising funds to take advantage of opportunities in its native Australian market.

The company is undertaking a fully underwritten accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer to raise around A$10.5 million ($7.7 million) to support funding of a sizeable organic growth opportunity, it said.

The ASX-listed company expects to generate revenue of A$200-$220 million and EBITDA of A$40-44 million in its 2022 financial year to June 30, 2022.

Mitchell has a material capital investment program underway, which includes the purchase of nine Boart Longyear LF™ 160 drill rigs with a staggered delivery through until December 31, 2021, and includes an option for an additional three rigs.

Boart’s LF 160 coring rigs come with a depth capacity of 1,800 m (NRQ™ V-Wall), according to Boart (photo supplied by Boart).

Based on the anticipated size of the fleet, post-implementation of the growth strategy, the business would have the capacity to generate A$50-$60 million EBITDA and to deliver material earnings per share growth, it said.

These rigs were pre-ordered and will be delivered during a period of significant and increasing lead times for rig supply, Mitchell added.

“Other barriers to entry for mining services providers are high and growing, including challenging access to funding with limited lender appetite in the sector, a tightening labour market and a highly complex regulatory environment,” Mitchell Services said. “The company is expecting business conditions to continue improving in the near term with productivity increases (utilised rigs working more shifts), price increases due to the evolving supply and demand landscape, and improvements in general contract terms (for example, larger mobilisation and demobilisation charges, take or pay contracts and pricing flexibility).”

Ausdrill gets hands on with hands-off-steel diamond drilling tech

With Ausdrill having recently added a Boart Longyear LF160 drill rig and FL262 FREEDOM™ LOADER combination to its diamond drilling fleet in Australia, IM caught up with Eric Gobbert, Senior Operations Manager, Exploration, to find out more about the company’s ‘hands-off-steel’ initiatives.

The newest coring rig – capable of pulling a 4.5 m sample – comes with a tilting top drive head to simplify rod handling, a foot clamp and braking device, and visible wireline. This is the second LF160 in Ausdrill’s portfolio, and a third rig is on the way. Meanwhile, the company is actively exploring a similar system capable of offering 6 m samples.

One rig is currently active at a Queensland coal operation, with the second at a nickel operation in the Goldfields of Western Australia. The third is expected to go to the Pilbara iron ore sector.

It is the combination of the LF160 with the FL262 FREEDOM LOADER that is bringing safety benefits to Ausdrill and its customers.

With totally hands-free rod handling, the combined rig and loader require no intervention from the driller’s assistant to trip in and align the rods or connect to the top drive head – thus offering greater freedom to drill by reducing the risk of hand and back injuries while handling rods. This freedom of movement comes as a result of the FREEDOM LOADER’s remote-control panel, which allows drillers to move to – and work from – a safer location away from the risks of moving rods.

“It’s a good innovation and has enabled us to provide a much-needed solution,” Gobbert said.

Ausdrill, a Perenti company, was encouraged to adopt this new diamond drilling technology as part of its own commitment to developing the mines of the future in partnership with clients. “Most companies have technology roadmaps with a strong safety vision. These roadmaps outline the future expectations for increased safety of exploration drill rigs,” Gobbert told IM.

Exploration drilling is an obvious place for Tier 1 miners to look to for safety improvements. A manual and repetitive job, traditional diamond drilling comes with many injuries as a result of drillers and offsiders removing and inserting heavy drill rods into the rigs. While automating part of the exploration drilling process may not provide the same financial payback as automating haul trucks or blasthole rigs, it does significantly reduce risk to personnel.

Gobbert agrees: “If you look at the drill inserts and the ongoing safety risks associated with being a driller’s offsider, or drilling in general, reducing the whole hands-on steel process and going down the automated or autonomous path makes sense.”

It is improving safety that is the real aim of leveraging such technology, according to Gobbert.

“De-risking the manual handling component is the real winning aspect of this,” he said. “We all want to achieve our business aims, but more importantly ensure our staff and our client’s staff are safe in the process.”

And, by reducing these risks, companies are ensuring continuity of operations, with personnel less likely to obtain the injuries that so often come with diamond drilling.

“Safety has always been at the centre of our technological drive – we understand that a safe project is a successful project,” Gobbert said.

This is not Ausdrill’s first foray into hands-off-steel diamond drilling. Drill Rigs Australia, an Ausdrill subsidiary up until July, previously engineered a similar style rod presenting system on one of its rigs at a Tier 1 client’s operation. Gobbert says the rig is still successfully operating – a full five years on.

“Ausdrill has a 30+ year history of designing and customising fleet to suit the needs of our clients and the swiftly-evolving market,” Gobbert says. “Today, we work in partnership with our clients, OEMs and third-party tech service providers to bring a bespoke combination of fleet and equipment, geared specifically to the needs of each project. Our project success and notable safety records showcase just how well we are delivering on our intentions, and tracking along our roadmap.”

Barminco, Ausdrill transport Rhino 100 raise borer to Regis’ Rosemont gold mine

Having become the first company globally to have taken delivery of a mobile raiseboring machine with uphole, downhole, and back reaming capability, Barminco is transporting a Rhino 100 Raise Borer to another client site in Australia.

With the help of its Perenti surface mining partner, Ausdrill, the newest addition was recently transported to Regis Resources’ Rosemont gold mine in Western Australia.

Just last year, Barminco sealed a three-year underground mining services contract with Regis at Rosemont, which has been transitioning from open-pit to underground mining at the operation.

Barminco said: “Through safe and rapid mobilisation, we are able to meet our clients’ needs and transport our equipment across multiple sites to complete a range of drilling campaigns.”

Since April 2019, Barminco’s first Rhino has travelled a combined 15,000 km between four client sites in the Goldfields of Western Australia, drilling a total of 3,843 m.

The Rhino is manufactured by TRB-Raise Borers in Finland but is equipped with Sandvik tools and is distributed by Sandvik. It is a fully mechanised and self-contained electro-hydraulic mobile raiseborer designed for slot raising in underground mining. The latest models also have an optional back reaming module.

In addition to helping transport Barminco’s latest Rhino to Regis’ site, Ausdrill has recently added a new Boart Longyear LF™160 drill rig and FREEDOM™ Loader combination to its diamond drilling fleet.

This rig reduces the crew’s “Hands On Steel” interaction, while improving overall safety standards, Ausdrill said.

When paired with the FL262 FREEDOM Loader, the LF160 combination is ideal for contractors who want to target sophisticated surface drilling exploration contracts that stipulate some of the highest safety standards, without compromising on productivity, Boart Longyear says.

Titeline mining its underground diamond drilling niche

In looking to retain the mantle of Australia’s safest drilling company while expanding into the underground mining sector, Titeline Drilling has found support from some of the biggest miners in the world.

The company has long been viewed as a leading surface mineral exploration drilling contractor but, as David D’Astoli, CEO of Titeline, explained, this type of work is subject to cyclical exploration budgets.

“The rationale for moving into the underground market was to try to get some ‘lumpiness’ out of our income stream,” he told IM. “As you know, with exploration, it can be pretty up and down. With the underground side, our work is a lot closer to the production side of the business; we’re doing grade control and resource development work in long dated (four to five years) contracts.”

Titeline was looking for consistency and resilience even in market downturns.

To enact this change, the company employed a new General Manager of Underground, Greg Wythes.

Wythes, who had a background in underground drilling in Australia having worked at the likes of Newcrest Mining’s Cadia and Rio Tinto’s (now CMOC’s) majority-owned Northparkes mine, was aware of the pain points the industry was feeling and sought about creating a unique value proposition for the new underground contracting division.

The contract the company bid on – and consequently won – for MMG’s Rosebery mine in Tasmania, Australia, provided just that.

MMG, in a blog post, explained that brief.

“When Rosebery was looking to award the contract for underground drilling services in 2017, all tendering companies were asked to supply a hands-free solution for drill rod handling, in-line with our vision for an injury-free workplace,” the company said.

“The successful company, Titeline, was the only tender that presented a viable solution to hands-free drill rod loading and unloading.”

Titeline – having fitted Boart Longyear rod handlers to their drills that “present the rod in an ergonomic position so the drill assistant can get it and stack it away”, D’Astoli says – knew such a solution could be developed, in theory, but had to search for the right suppliers and solutions to prove it could work in a real-world underground environment.

The Boart Longyear rod handler, along with a rig able to move and set up quickly, drill from +90 to -90 degrees and to depths of 1,500 m, immediately proved productive at Rosebery.

“The brief was to ensure the drills on site were performing before starting their hand-free proposal, and, within six months of commencing their contract, Titeline’s in-house designed drill rigs outperformed the previous contractor,” MMG said.

Yet, the company needed to automate the rod handling process further to fulfil the brief.

This is where the potential of robots came into view.

“These robots were already in the manufacturing industry – which aren’t exactly pristine environments – and were able to operate without an issue,” D’Astoli said. “They were also being employed on sea walls where they were constantly doused with sea water and continued to operate.”

Robot technicians were happy to provide conservative estimates of only having to service these robots every six months in the underground environment, according to D’Astoli. This provided the peace of mind that maintenance issues were not going to knock productivity off-line.

It cemented a relationship with a robotics company in Melbourne, Victoria, not too far away from its Ballarat base, and gave the company the robot drilling brief.

Boart Longyear provided access to the drill rig interface, the DCI control panel.

This year-and-a-half long process led to the development of a world first for underground diamond drilling: a drill and ancillary rod buggy carrier able to drill unattended and perform an autonomous rod trip (pulling the drill string out of the drill holes and then running it back in).

Able to work in confined environments, and drill 360° on azimuth and from -90 degrees to + 90 degrees in dip, the solution was presented to a global audience at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual exploration event earlier this year.

Meanwhile, MMG and Titeline had started commissioning the first rig at Rosebery, and one of the world’s biggest gold miners was putting the rigs through their paces.

Titeline, which already has an existing grade control and resource definition contract at Newmont’s Tanami gold mine, in the Northern Territory, has provided six rigs to the miner, two of which are equipped with the new drill and ancillary rod buggy carrier. More of these robotic rigs will be arriving at the operation by the end of the year.

Modifications to these rigs continue to take place, but the three currently in place at Rosebery and Tanami are very much “producing”, D’Astoli explained.

“We have been making some changes to the programming, to the safety circuit, the laser circuit, etc, but they’ve been performing well,” he said. “We’ve even drilled a few hundred metre shifts with one of the robot rigs.”

He provided some colour to this performance: “The rod pulling process is at least as quick as it is with the Boart Longyear rod handler and is a lot more consistent as you are taking the human element out of it.

“The existing rigs across the underground industry, whether they have total manual handling or are using the Boart Longyear rod handler, still need a drill assistant or driller in there plucking the rod out of the rod handler and putting it away. That can get tiring.”

Accidents can happen when this tiredness occurs.

“The robot will, in the end, always be that bit quicker, as it is consistent over a longer period of time and never gets tired,” D’Astoli added.

Shift change opportunities

The automation elements on these drill rigs are not only removing personnel from the danger zones, they are also providing a productivity boost.

D’Astoli feels the value driver comes with being able to drill throughout shift changes and other times where manual drilling would normally have stopped.

“One of the biggest impediments to production in the underground environment is how many hours you can drill in a 12-hour day,” he said. “Quite often it is a lot less than you think. That can be due to ventilation issues, water issues, dewatering issues, heat, etc.

“The biggest improvement from a productivity point of view available to us is being able to drill and pull rods between shift changes, crib breaks and those types of things. Or, if the ventilation system goes down, personnel will move away from the area, and allow the drill to drill autonomously. That is where the productivity gains are going to come from.

“All of this leads to being able to drill more hours over a shift.”

The company is not finished automating, though, with D’Astoli saying it intends to further leverage this robotised drilling and rod pulling ability.

“With Wi-Fi in the mines, it is at the point where you could be able to take that to the next level and have someone sitting on the surface controlling the rig,” D’Astoli said.

“Or, you might have a similar application to the way semi-autonomous underground boggers (LHDs) work in a block cave mine, where the operators are in a controlled environment and one operator might be operating three boggers at a time.”

That is some way ahead.

For the time being, the company is focused on switching out all of the manual rigs it has delivered to Rosebery and Tanami with the semi-autonomous ones.

Each new rig is a large undertaking for the company, with the learnings from Rosebery to Tanami – and vice versa – reflected in every build.

This is where being aligned with major companies such as Newmont and MMG comes in handy.

“MMG have been very understanding of the process we are going through,” D’Astoli said. “They came and visited us in Ballarat, pre-COVID-19, to see how we were getting along. Newmont have been exactly the same; very supportive giving us the time and space to deliver.”

Major attraction

While the PDAC debut excited lots of attention, D’Astoli is keen to foster the relationship with these two companies further, in addition to aligning with other major companies – and major mines – in the future.

“They’re the ones that probably own the bigger, lower-cost mines, which is where we want to be,” he said. “It is those orebodies that demand the amount of drilling where it makes sense to automate as much of the process as possible,” D’Astoli said.

“When you set up these long-term contracts to deploy such technology, you want to make sure the mine has a long life ahead of it and the owner is not going to be chopping and changing the budget from year to year.”

Asked whether the wider industry is willing to pay for such innovation, D’Astoli was resolute in his answer.

“For a company really focused on safety, they are not going to be knocked out by the price of this solution,” he said.

Surface safety

This is not all Titeline is interested in at the moment.

Titeline has to this point in its underground automation journey been helped along the way by Chile-based Exploration Drill Masters (EDM).

EDM, which Titeline owns 50% of, has been fabricating the frames and other components for these new rigs before they head to Australia for final assembly.

But the Santiago-based company is working on a new development of its own.

Its patent-pending EDM rod-feeder system for handling drill pipe has been used across the globe as an add-on to existing fleets, many of them being used on Titeline rigs.

D’Astoli says operators can park this solution up behind any top drive drill rig in Australia and remove 90% of the manual handling risks that come with the handling of diamond drill pipe to and from the drill string.

The EDM Mark I has already achieved this, but Mark II will further improve this solution, providing a bridge between manual handling and full hands-free solutions, he says.

“The national fleet in Australia mainly consists of top drive drill rigs and there is no real hands-free solution on the market that does not currently affect the productivity of these rigs in the majority of applications,” he said.

“The EDM Mark II rod feeder fills the gap while a new, hands-free solution is being developed.”

Boart Longyear achieves B-BBEE status in South Africa

Boart Longyear says it has received certification of compliance to the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) initiatives established by the South African Department of Trade and Industry.

The official B-BBEE verification certificate was presented to local Boart Longyear management on June 27 by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), with independent auditing and full verification completed by Moore Stephens, Boart says. This means Boart Longyear, under the legal entity Longyear South Africa Pty Ltd, has achieved a B-BBEE Level 4 contributor status through June 26, 2020.

Based on the B-BBEE contribution levels used to score companies on specific empowerment criteria, Boart Longyear’s Level 4 status was achieved through its ratings on ownership, management, skills development, enterprise, supplier and socio-economic development, according to the company.

Jeff Olsen, President and CEO of Boart Longyear, said: “We are proud of our South African employees and their earnest efforts to gain this important recognition. We believe in the development of our people and the community. We are dedicated to providing equal employment opportunities and increasing the diversity of our workforce.”

B-BBEE certification establishes codes of fair practice in South Africa and provides an added value to accredited companies in building relationships with the community, suppliers, and customers, according to the company.

Andre Van Heerden, South African General Sales Manager, said: “The B-BBEE certification is about recognising where we are now and our continued commitment to transforming our organisation to grow our team and benefit our employees and the communities in which we operate.”

As well as incorporating B-BBEE initiatives, Boart is involved in employee training programs, supplier development programs to bring previously disadvantaged people into the workplace, and supports the local Bethany House Trust, a charity for the children and youth of South Africa, the company said.

Boart Longyear hits record drill depth at Ghana gold project

Boart Longyear’s drilling crews have drilled the deepest hole ever drilled in Ghana, according to the Salt Lake City-headquartered company.

They drilled a hole 2,083.4 m (6,835 ft) deep, having installing a wedge and navi to drill the hole on track at 600 m and keeping it on track to the end of the hole. The directional drilling project for one of Golden Star Resources’ gold projects was completed safely and ahead of schedule, the company said.

Division Manager, West Africa, Jonathan Madigan, said: “Our drilling crew in Ghana on this project worked safely and diligently in directionally drilling the hole to the target depth. I couldn’t be more proud of the team that completed the project.

“Boart Longyear’s consistent hazard and risk-focused safety culture is embraced by the crews here in Ghana and they appreciate that the field level risk assessments, pre-shift meetings and other safety programs are designed to get them home safe to their families.”

Boart said: “The company has received client recognition for their safe, on-target, and ahead of schedule completion of the deep coring exploration drilling project. Boart Longyear acknowledges the participation, collaboration, and contributions from every employee within Ghana and especially the drilling crew that worked directly on this record-depth hole.”

Paradigm Shifters qualify for round two of Canada’s Crush It! Challenge

A group of companies called ‘The Paradigm Shifters’ has made it to the next round of a challenge aimed at reducing the amount of energy that crushers and grinders use in the mining process.

The Crush It! Challenge is spearheaded by the federal government (Impact Canada), in cooperation with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), and Goldcorp.

Crushing and grinding account for upwards of 50% of mine site energy consumption and up to 3% of all the electric power generated in the world.

iRing Inc is the lead partner within The Paradigm Shifters and has coordinated the effort with proposal partners to respond to the challenge, it said.

The company explained: “Essentially the team proposes to bring together the processes and technology that could reduce or even eliminate the need for expensive primary crushers, and reduce the energy required by secondary crushing (potentially eliminating it as well) and grinders in both mines and quarries globally.”

The Crush It! Challenge has several qualifying rounds and, if successful in getting to Round 3, then the team will be eligible to receive C$800,000 ($605,397) in seed funding to further prove the concept over a one-and-a-half-year period. At the end of that period, if the team wins the chance to move forward, the project would be eligible to receive an additional C$5 million in funding to commercialise the products and concepts.

The Paradigm Shifters team consists of:

  • iRing Inc (North Bay) Challenge Project Lead – Drill and blasting software;
  • Nexco Inc (North Bay) – Producer of the energy-variable explosive product;
  • Boart Longyear (North Bay and global) – Global supplier of market leading drilling products and services;
  • Paige Engineering Ltd (PEL) (North Bay) – Design and fabrication of explosive manufacturing and loading equipment;
  • Seneca (Montreal) – Explosive plant engineering, design and build;
  • Maptek (Denver and Global) – 3D laser scanner/fragmentation measurement capabilities, and;
  • Bomon Capital (Toronto) – Long term financing should the team succeed.

The savings that could accrue to mines and quarries annually is C$12.8 billion (25% reduction) to C$25.6 billion (50% reduction), according to iRing.

“If all mines in the world adopted this solution, it would represent a reduction equivalent to 7-13% of all the carbon released in Canada, and 20-41% of Canada’s contribution to meeting the Paris Accord agreement.”

iRing will use its software, Aegis, to design the blasting patterns based on the fragmentation requirements. Boart Longyear will deploy recently developed high speed diamond drilling technologies and instrumentation solutions to quickly and accurately drill and validate high-quality blast holes, while using significantly less energy. iRing said: “Boart Longyear’s drills utilise drilling data logging to interpret rock density and strength etc, while drilling.”

The company continued: “With Seneca’s help, Nexco will build a demonstration plant that will produce an energy-variable explosive mixture that can be fuelled while being loaded into the blastholes, and the blast energy would be based on the ore strength information provided by Boart Longyear’s drills and iRing’s software.”

Troy Williams, Vice President of Development of iRing, said: “The challenge will provide a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to reach the mining industry and demonstrate that it is possible to produce consistent results from the blasting operations.”

PEL will design and fabricate the explosive manufacturing and loading equipment required to change the explosive’s energy during loading, according to iRing. Energy reduction is done by adding additional water content into the explosive formulation during loading. Maptek’s laser scanner, meanwhile, will be used to verify fragmentation results by scanning the muck pile and producing a 3D point cloud which can be analysed for a measured fragmentation distribution. Those results will be used by Aegis to further calibrate the fragmentation models.

Mark Sherry, President of iRing, said: “We are really excited by this opportunity as it is directly in iRing’s wheelhouse. The Paradigm Shifters bring together the best in the industry when it comes to drilling and blasting. By working together, we will create a paradigm that is more efficient, effective, cleaner, and safer”.

Boart Longyear’s TruScan receives plaudits at South Australia awards ceremony

Boart Longyear says its onsite core and chip scanning technology, TruScan™, recently received the Premier’s Award in the Mining Equipment, Technology, and Services sector for Excellence in Innovation: Productivity Improvement at a ceremony in Adelaide, Australia.

The awards, presented during the Premier’s Awards ceremony on November 30, are organised by the Government of South Australia’s Department for Energy and Mining, and recognise areas of excellence by leading resources and energy sector companies and organisations in the areas of diversity, working with communities, and innovation, Boart says.

Peter Kanck, Senior Manager of Technology Development & Integration, who accepted the award on behalf of Boart Longyear, said: “It’s an honour to be part of this exciting technology and to see TruScan recognised for the positive impact it is making on the mining community.”

TruScan is able to scan and photograph a full tray of core and provide geochemical data within 25 minutes of the core being brought out of the ground, Boart says. Normally, analysis involves collecting core on pallets, transporting it to the laboratory, and then the laboratory schedules the core for analysis. Once core analysis is complete, the results are returned back to the geologist, which can take days to months.

“Because TruScan delivers geological data results onsite the same day, the turnaround is dramatically shortened and substantial cost savings are realised for both exploration and mining companies,” Boart says.

TruScan is already being used in exploration activities in Australia and Canada with plans to roll out in other parts of the world.

Boart offers TruScan as an independent service to mining clients or the technology can be bundled as a part of a drilling services agreement.