Tag Archives: drill rigs

Fortescue fast-tracks carbon neutrality aim, sets plan to trial hydrogen-powered drills

Fortescue Metals Group is accelerating its carbon neutrality efforts, with the iron ore miner now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia, however, the company has also identified battery-electric technology as a potential diesel alternative game changer.

Dr Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said: “We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

In line with its 2030 aim, Fortescue, through FFI and its operations team, is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30, 2021. This, the company says, will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include:

  • Developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology, at scale;
  • Testing large battery technology in its haul trucks – a project the company is pursuing with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for its drill rigs;
  • Trialling technology on its locomotives to run on green ammonia; and
  • Conducting trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara of Western Australia to convert iron ore to “green iron” at low temperatures, without coal.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.”

She added: “These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect program.”

Forrest said the company’s commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, means Fortescue will emerge as an “executor” of major green hydrogen projects.

He said the company’s green energy and industry initiatives may one day out-scale its iron ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, but Fortescue’s commitment to iron ore and resources globally “remains indefeasible”.

Fortescue says it is seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel with a current trajectory of more than 1 billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken – to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia, including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels, it says. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

Kumba’s Kolomela, Sishen iron ore mines to deploy Rosond nex-gen exploration drill rigs

Rosond of Midrand, South Africa, is combining automation, software, data analytics and machine learning to create a next-generation drill rig that will help transition the company from contractor to technology provider.

The company dispatched the final batch of 28 state-of-the-art drill rigs to Anglo American’s majority owned Kumba Iron Ore operations in the Northern Cape in December, to be rolled out at Kumba’s Kolomela and Sishen iron ore mines. This forms part of a R2 billion ($134 million), five-year tender clinched by Rosond to supply Anglo American with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations.

“We really believe that this is going to be a future game changer,” Ricardo Ribeiro, Managing Director of Rosond, said.

In the face of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Rosond said it was able to compress a year’s work into six months. It collaborated with a leading Italian manufacturer to develop the advanced drill rigs, which will be deployed for core, percussion and reverse circulation drilling.

“I am happy to report that the last two drill rigs were dispatched in December 2020,” Ribeiro added. “We are excited to see the entire fleet operational early this year. These are some of the most highly-advanced exploration drill rigs in the world.”

The drill rigs feature increased safety with the automation of most of the arduous and dangerous manual labour involved, Rosond says, taking away the need to handle the drill rods, and load and unload heavy equipment from the drill rigs.

The rig operators are housed in a climate-controlled, air-conditioned control room for an improved work environment that, in turn, assists with fatigue management and also boosts productivity and accuracy, Rosond says.

The opportunity to build such rigs also arose with several women being deployed as part of a team at Kumba. Recruiting and training this team formed part of Rosond’s tender with Anglo American, Ribeiro explained.

Rosond took the strategic step in 2012 to begin developing new technology for the drilling and exploration sectors, with the drill rigs leveraging the latest developments in software, telemetry and automation.

“We brought in a lot of technology from the construction and oil and gas industries to develop specific functionalities such as dust suppression and automation, as well as software and telemetry systems,” Ribeiro said.

The 28-strong fleet at Kumba will be deployed in an 80 km radius to optimise exploration drilling by providing critical geological data about the sites under investigation, Rosond says.

Having successfully developed the hardware of the new drill rigs themselves, the future plan is to launch a software division to focus on the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence in optimising the drilling process, as well as promoting machine learning.

“We are optimistic that in the future our drill rigs will be able to identify all the necessary parameters in order to be able to guide the operators seamlessly,” Ribeiro said. “The end goal in our development process is to have a full autonomous drill rig.”

Epiroc ‘new generation’ Boomer drill rig to launch in 2021

Epiroc is planning a “new generation” Boomer face drilling launch in 2021 as it looks to capture more market share in the underground mining contractor market.

Speaking at Epiroc’s Capital Markets Day Fika 2020 event on Monday, Sami Niiranen, President of Epiroc’s Underground division, said the new rigs would be designed for increasing both production and safety.

The company referred to the machine in presentation slides as a “true development rig, fully equipped for multi-task operation and automation”, with Niiranen adding that the Boomer will come with a battery-electric driveline option.

During his presentation, Niiranen also provided investors and interested parties with the latest numbers on Epiroc’s digitalisation and automation solutions.

He confirmed that more than 1,000 machines were now connected to the company’s Certiq telematics system, while there were circa-90 production Simba production drills operating autonomously. This came alongside around 50 automated underground LHDs and some 670 drills with full automation capability.

Epiroc to showcase surface drilling automation expertise at CONEXPO 2020

Jon Torpy, General Manager and President for Epiroc USA, says the company is heading into its first CONEXPO-CON/AGG as “an experienced company committed to driving the future of intelligent infrastructure development, quarrying and mining”.

The company plans to showcase its surface drilling automation expertise at the Las Vegas show, taking place on March 10-14, with several “innovative and productive offerings” set for their North America debut.

The new Epiroc SmartROC D60 down-the-hole (DTH) surface drill rig for quarrying, mining and construction (pictured) will get a showing. This rig has been updated with Epiroc’s innovative automation-ready platform, with the D60 offering the “intelligence and power to consistently and efficiently drill high-quality blast holes with accuracy and precision”, Epiroc says.

It is loaded with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling that increase safety, efficiency and consistency for a lower total cost of ownership, according to the company.

The automation-ready platform also includes the new Auto Feed Fold feature. With a single action, Auto Feed Fold enables the operator to fold the feed for tramming or position it for drilling. This also comes in handy when operating one or more drill rigs remotely with the BenchREMOTE option, Epiroc said.

The D60 can drill holes of 4.6-7 in (11.68-17.78 cm) in diameter and to a maximum depth of 182 ft (55.47 m). “All these features and flexibility are packed in a rig that is economical to run due to the intelligent control of the compressor and engine rpm,” Epiroc said.

The SmartROC D60 also uses 79 gallons (359 litres) less hydraulic oil than previous versions and features fewer hoses and pumps, according to the company. This helps to further reduce costs and makes servicing easier, while increasing sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of the rig.

Alongside the SmartROC D60 rig at the Epiroc CONEXPO-CON/AGG stand will be the PowerROC D60 Tier 4 Final surface drill rig.

This hydraulic DTH surface drill rig for mining and quarrying not only drills the largest holes in the PowerROC family, it is equipped with an engine that meets Tier 4 Final emissions regulations to reduce its environmental footprint, the company says.

The rig can drill large holes ranging from 4.31-7 in. In addition, the 5+1 Rod Handling System makes it possible to drill holes down to a depth of 98.5 ft, according to the company.

“The rig features a pilot hydraulic system and straightforward electronics which make the PowerROC D60 both easy to operate and simple to service,” Epiroc says. “The powerful rotation unit ensures that the rig can operate reliably in all types of rock conditions. In addition, a highly effective dust collection system ensures that the work environment is kept clean and safe, which protects both machine and personnel.”

The last big rig to go on display will be the Epiroc DM30 II.

Built off the same platform as the DM45 and DML blasthole drill rigs, the Epiroc DM30 II is suitable for a variety of multi-pass rotary and DTH drilling applications, Epiroc says. The compact yet heavy-duty design of the DM30 II delivers powerful performance and easy transport between benches or even between properties, according to the company.

A crawler-mounted, hydraulic tophead-drive rig, the DM30 II can achieve a clean hole depth of 28 ft for single-pass applications and up to 148 ft for multi-pass applications with a starter rod under the rotary head. It also features a 30-ft drill pipe change and a four-rod carousel. It is designed to handle 4-6.5 in drill pipes with a pulldown of up to 30,000 lbf (133,446.7 newtons) and a hole diameter of 5.5-7.875 in.

The mainframe and layout of the machine has been updated for 2020 to better assist customers needing a small-profile machine for tight drilling conditions or transit between sites, Epiroc said. Reductions include: working width (to 14.16 ft); transport width with ladders and non-cab side jack removed (12.3 ft); and height, tower down (15.4 ft).

Customers can choose a low- or high-pressure compressor to create the right configuration for their drilling operation. The DM Series drill rig can be equipped with on-board technology capabilities with the optional Epiroc Rig Control System (RCS) Lite for added safety and productivity.

The company will also use the show to talk up its new digital fleet management solution, My Epiroc.

My Epiroc is available on web and mobile devices with features for increasing fleet efficiency and safety. The platform enables mining and infrastructure operations to optimise fleet performance, with the solution to be demonstrated at the Epiroc booth.

“Regardless of role – a fleet manager focusing on uptime, a machine operator getting the job done, or a member of the service team keeping on top of equipment performance, safety and reliability – My Epiroc is built to assist in accomplishing jobs and improving work flow,” the company said.

Epiroc will also exhibit rock drilling tools solutions for integration with the FlexiROC T30 R, PowerROC D60 and SmartROC D60 drilling rigs, while presenting its TCO supervisory agreement to improve fleet maintenance and lower total cost of ownership.

JSW Australia enlists help of BBurg for customised drill rig development

Drill contractor JSW Australia says it has formed a strategic alliance with German drill rig manufacturer BBurg to develop customised drill rigs specifically suited to local conditions.

The partnership with BBurg also supports the ongoing evolution of the JSW fleet, the company said.

The first product of the new alliance is the HD2500RC, a leading technology rig developed to tackle challenging terrain at the Fortescue Metals Group Solomon Hub site in the Pilbara of Western Australia (pictured), JSW said. The first rig is expected to be deployed on site early next year with a second planned for delivery later in the first half of 2020.

JSW CEO, Jeff Branson, said: “The terrain at Solomon makes the preparation of drill pads difficult and expensive, which created an opportunity for a high powered, small footprint drill rig. With many years of experience working at the Solomon site and having experienced the challenges posed by the terrain, we shared ideas and concepts with BBurg, which provided the foundation for the development of the new rig.”

Branson added: “BBurg’s knowledge and experience in the development of top hammer and down-the-hole machines for mining applications has enabled us to custom-build a rig that is ideally suited to the site conditions, and we are excited about putting it to work on site.”

The HD2500RC has the following key features:

  • Low footprint with width of 3.5 m;
  • High power with capacity to push 32.3 cu.m/min of air at 500 psi down the hole;
  • Rod handler to increase productivity and improve safety;
  • 330 m of rod capacity on board; and
  • Full wireless remote control.

The alliance with BBurg is part of a broader JSW strategy to ensure that its fleet is continually upgraded and improved to meet the changing needs of the market, the company said.

“BBurg’s customer-driven engineering approach, which tailors rigs to specific applications, resonated with us as it supports our ability to provide customised drilling services to our clients,” he said.

“The HD2500RC is the first of several new rigs that we will be introducing in the near future.

“Our fleet is reviewed and upgraded regularly, and we are excited about the new rigs that will be added, making the latest technology available to our clients and supporting the achievement of their objectives.”

AZIZE Equipment showcases Sunward drilling rigs, excavators at South Africa event

AZIZE Equipment says it has secured the sole rights to supply, service and support the full line of Sunward drill rigs and excavators to South Africa and surrounding countries.

Listed on the Shenzen Stock Exchange in China, and a top 50 global construction equipment manufacturer that produces over 11 000 excavators and drilling rigs a year, Sunward Equipment Group is a highly reputable and experienced partner for AZIZE, the South Africa based company said. The extensive Sunward offering was unveiled during a launch event in Carolina, Mpumalanga, South Africa on June 7-8, “laying a solid foundation in Southern Africa’s surface drilling industry”, AZIZE said.

Pascal Mbambo, Managing Director of AZIZE Equipment, said: “We are extremely excited about the birth of a 100% black-owned AZIZE, a Level 1 company, and our partnership with the globally renowned Sunward Equipment Group. The name AZIZE is of Afro-Asiatic origin meaning powerful and valuable, which is a perfect representation of our company, products and services as well as how we perceive our customers.”

Mbambo is supported by a team of experts including Company Director Basie Roelofse, who brings a wealth of engineering and drilling expertise to the AZIZE table. The AZIZE team boasts a strong operational background in and deep knowledge of the surface drilling sector and can meet the challenges faced by this complex industry, the company says.

Roelofse said: “Our hands-on experience with a variety of drilling rigs has given us a unique insight into the key success elements enabling us to equip customers with the right tools to manage their drilling operation.”

Sunward is not new to the African continent; outside of South Africa, numerous Sunward machines operate in Namibia, Zimbabwe and the DRC, according to AZIZE. “Having owned, operated and maintained various different brands of drilling rigs, including Sunward machines, and having drilled in all typical geologies, we were highly impressed by Sunward’s holistic capabilities,” Roelofse said.

Sunward machines are significantly less complex than many other options on the market, according to AZIZE. “This straight-forward no-frills package signifies ruggedness, reliability, simple and easy operation and serviceability for improved uptime and enhanced profitability at the lowest total cost of ownership,” the company said. “Through these perfect fit-for-Africa machines, AZIZE has the potential to further grow the Sunward footprint across the continent.”

 AZIZE is targeting surface drilling companies engaged primarily in blasthole drilling in all geological formations across the mining, quarry and construction industries. The Sunward range is ideally suited to mine owners, drilling contractors, and drill and blast contractors looking for modern, safe, efficient and reliable surface drilling rigs that positively impact their bottom line, AZIZE says.

The company offers three distinct Sunward surface drilling machines; two crawler-type top hammer models (from 64 mm up to 115 mm diameter with hole depths up to 25 m) and a range of down the hole drilling rigs (from 90 mm up to 255 mm diameter with hole depths up to 36 m). Rounding off the product portfolio is the Sunward excavator range with 105 mm to 165 mm diameter and up to 36 m hole depths.

“Powered by Tier 111a engines, the fuel efficient, low emission Sunward machines uphold standard ergonomics and safety designs, featuring cab air conditioning, radios as well as LED lights,” AZIZE said.

The AZIZE launch last month showcased several Sunward machines including the SWDE165A drilling rig (pictured above) with fully automatic hands-free carousel, ROPS/FOPS, a cyclonic dust suppression system as well as rod lubrication system, a compliant FOGMAKER automatic fire suppression system and a 20 bar compressor, all fitted as standard. “Also generating a great deal of interest at the launch was the SWDR138H excavator rig, currently the only drilling rig to have a full OEM certification that covers the full rig, from tower to compressor and everything in between,” AZIZE said.

The extensive product suite is supplied from AZIZE’s Carolina head office, which houses a 12-strong sales and service team in a 2,500 sq.m facility for administration, service and parts.

AZIZE says it has invested substantially in training, a key element to ensure the correct and safe operation of Sunward machines for optimal and reliable performance. Three factory-trained engineers have moved to Carolina to train and transfer skills to the service and commissions team. Plans for substantial expansion include a training centre and test site that will offer a turnkey solution for its drilling customers. The training centre will also accommodate trainees during conversion and training on machines.

DDH1 after WA iron ore contract growth with Ranger Drilling acquisition

DDH1 Holdings says it has acquired Ranger Drilling as it looks to grow the Australia iron ore RC drilling specialist’s business.

DDH1 Holdings now consists of three drilling businesses, namely DDH1 Drilling, Strike Drilling and Ranger Drilling.

Ranger was established in 2005 by Matt and Julie Izett and specialises in providing reverse Circulation (RC) drilling services to customers operating in the Western Australian iron ore market.

DDH1 Chief Executive Officer, Sy van Dyk, said: “Ranger will continue operating as a separate company, under the same management from the same premises. DDH1’s intention is to continue to grow the Ranger brand, while preserving their culture of leadership, productivity, innovation and safety. These are the qualities that attracted our investment in Ranger and we want to ensure it is protected and fostered going forward.”

Ranger’s Managing Director, Matt Izett, said: “DDH1 is a natural partner for Ranger to further our growth ambitions by providing additional capital to the business in a cost-effective and disciplined manner. I look forward to continue leading and growing the business Julie and I founded in 2005 and to deliver superior drilling solutions to our loyal customer base, whilst contributing at a senior level to the wider group’s operations”.

DDH1 Drilling, Strike Drilling and Ranger’s capabilities are highly complementary, DDH1 said, and the combination of the businesses provides the opportunity to offer clients the full suite of drilling services required across the resource life cycle, from discovering new deposits to extending existing mine lives. “The group’s drill rig fleet is modern, standardised and highly productive,” the company said.

DDH1 Managing Director, Murray Pollock, said: “DDH1 and Ranger have worked together on a shared contract basis, during which time we have observed Ranger’s premium customer service offering, the productivity gains delivered by their modern fleet and quality management team led by Matt Izett. Together, we are committed to being the drilling contractor and employer of choice in the Australian drilling industry.

“The group now has 84 Tier One drill rigs and employs over 700 staff to provide our customers with end-to-end drilling solutions. I am also pleased that as part of the transaction Matt and Julie Izett will become significant shareholders in DDH1 Holdings and we look forward to working with them.”

Epiroc wins order for copper-zinc underground mine in Dominican Republic

Epiroc is to supply Corporación Minera Dominicana’s (Cormidom) Cerro de Maimon copper-zinc mine in the Dominican Republic with a new mining fleet as it transitions to an underground operation over the next few years.

The machines will allow the company, owned by Australia’s Perilya, to operate the new underground mine with “significantly increased productivity as well as enhanced safety and improved cost efficiency”, Epiroc said.

The order totals more than $24 million and was received in the June quarter 2018. It includes a Boomer M2 face drill rig (pictured), a Simba E7 hydraulic long-hole production rig, a Scooptram ST18 18 t LHD and Minetruck MT65, among other machines and rock drilling tools. The equipment will be delivered over the next two years in time for the mining transition.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said: “We are proud to be a key partner of Cormidom as they develop the Cerro de Maimon mine for significantly higher production.

“We are committed to delivering more productivity and safety to our customers at a lower total cost of operation.”

Perilya has been mining oxide and sulphide ore at Cerro de Maimon since October 2008 and flagged up the possibility of going underground in various studies around five years ago.

Paul Arndt, Managing Director of Perilya, said: “Perilya has a long and successful operating history with Epiroc in Australia. We see this as a chance to build on this relationship and develop further a strong partnership utilising Epiroc equipment throughout all the key phases of the mining cycle.”