Tag Archives: drilling

Rosond tests new portable diamond drill rig to get around potholes in platinum mining

Drilling technology solutions provider Rosond is looking to address the problem of avoiding potholes in platinum reef mining, researching the potential development of a smaller, lightweight portable diamond drill rig that can be deployed conveniently on the reef horizon.

A comparative study between the traditional drill unit available for this application and the latest innovation by Rosond is currently underway to assess its performance efficiency and safety aspects for the mining industry, according to Rosond Director, Carlos Da Silva (pictured). The new drill rig’s business case is strengthened by the fact it should allow for informed decision making to eliminate costly, unnecessary prospecting with re-development and a reduction in the creation of abandoned ends.

In addition to using less compressed air to power the new drill units, drilling ahead of faces in high-risk gas pocket areas can confirm potential gas-associated structures, notes Da Silva.

“Our equipment is significantly lighter, portable and easily moved onto the reef horizon, meaning a reduced chance of injuries and less delays and dependency on mine personnel for transport,” he said. “This is critical, because a quicker set-up means more face drilling time.”

The new unit allows for smaller drill sites to be deployed, which reduces the costs associated with larger drill crews. In terms of efficiency performance, the benefits are more metres drilled per shift and more core transported daily to the surface due to the reduced weight.

Potholes are slump structures characterised by hanging wall rock units and reef horizons occurring at a lower elevation than normal. Roughly circular in shape and varying in size and depth, potholes tend to occur randomly, according to Rosond.

“It is suggested that potholes originated from density-unstable conditions combined with disequilibrium and vortex or strong eddying currents and the scouring action of pyroxene crystals eroding floor rocks,” Da Silva says.

Potholes can obliterate highly mineralised economic reef horizon, leading to a potential loss in mineral reserves. In addition, stope and development faces tend to go off-reef with potholes, thus, additional costly development is required to re-establish faces back on reef in order to resume mining operations.

Structured main grid on/off reef development is also negatively impacted, which could lead to sterilisation of the mineral resource.

Lastly, from a safety perspective, the intensity of joints and fractures increases around pothole edges. Natural potential parting planes in deep hanging wall rocks may be exposed, resulting in fall of ground incidents.

The beauty of the new Rosond drill units is that no additional training is required because the drilling practice remains the same, so it falls under the same standard operating procedure, the company says.

While the concept is still in the testing phase, this purpose-built technology is aimed squarely at the entire platinum mining industry, Da Silva concludes.

Iluka Cataby contract pushes Pentium Hydro drilling capacity over the line

Vysarn Limited subsidiary, Pentium Hydro, is to carry out drilling of dewatering wells at Iluka’s Cataby mine site in Western Australia following the award of a contract with Iluka Resources.

The Goods and Services contract is a variation to the original award of drilling services by Iluka back in January 2020.

The contract has an estimated value of A$1.74 million ($1.31 million) and, based on the current scope, is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Pentium plans to mobilise to site next month.

Vysarn Managing Director, James Clement, said: “Of note, this work now provides a contract pipeline exceeding the capacity of Pentium’s current fleet of 12 rigs in the first half of the 2022 financial year. Management intend to lease or enter into hire purchase arrangements to execute the work in hand with additional drill rigs.”

Epiroc to supply drill rigs, bolters, loaders and trucks to Mexico’s CoMinVi

Epiroc says it has won a large order for underground mining equipment from Mexican contractor CoMinVi for use at several mines throughout the country.

CoMinVi SA de CV, headquartered in Guanajuato, Mexico, has ordered a variety of Epiroc machines, including face drilling rigs, production drilling rigs, rock reinforcement rigs, loaders and mine trucks. The equipment will ensure the mines are operated with strengthened productivity, safety and cost efficiency, the OEM said.

The machines will be used at several mines in Mexico where CoMinVi serves as mining contractor. Aftermarket services such as on-site maintenance supervisor and spare parts consignment will be provided by Epiroc.

The total order value of the equipment exceeds $45 million, of which the majority was booked in the June quarter of 2021. The remaining part is expected to be booked in the second half of 2021.

“We are proud to partner with CoMinVi to enhance safety, productivity and sustainability in their operations,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “The equipment and services will support CoMinVi to successfully execute on their mining projects.”

Rafael Villagómez Contreras, CoMinVi’s CEO, said: “The acquisition of this new equipment is a historical part of CoMinVi’s growth in recent years and represents a competitive advantage for us. It will ensure our ability to respond immediately to our potential customers by having the necessary resources that allow us to be one step ahead of our competition. We are very satisfied with the commercial partnership with Epiroc as this is a long-term relationship that will be supported with a high-level technical backup and a reliable supply.”

The equipment includes Boomer face drilling rigs, Simba production drilling rigs, Boltec rock reinforcement rigs, Scooptram loaders and Minetruck haulers. The machines will be equipped with Epiroc’s Certiq system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time, and some of the units will have Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, installed. This system makes them ready for automation and remote control.

The equipment is to be delivered in 2021 and 2022.

Drill rig utilisation nears capacity in key mining hubs, IMDEX survey reveals

A snapshot of mineral exploration drill rig use in major mining regions globally has revealed Australia, USA and parts of South America are nearing capacity, as the surge in exploration continues unabated, IMDEX reports.

In a market update ahead of a presentation to the Macquarie Emerging Leaders Conference, IMDEX said rig utilisation in Australia was “nearing capacity” at 79%, and 72% in North America.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer Paul House said the company was able to produce the snapshot because of its global presence in major mining regions, adding that global rig utilisation had only just returned to or exceeded pre-COVID 19 levels.

The March snapshot showed rig utilisation was at 37% in Europe, 38% in South America, 30% in Africa, and 55% in Canada.

Activity in Canada would be significantly higher in the northern summer drilling season, House explained, while certain parts of South America were at high capacity percentages.

In regions nearing capacity, delivery times for new rigs had increased and labour shortages were adding to the pressure, according to the survey.

“We believe the industry is willing to invest and spend but may not be able to move as fast as it would like,” House said. “The industry drivers of depleted reserves, strong commodity pricing and the trend towards decarbonisation, are driving substantially increased industry exploration budgets.

“However, delivery against these targets will require time and investment in labour, drilling rigs, and other supply chain pressures that are a current constraint.”

He added: “When S+P says exploration will grow by 15-20% in a year and we see that the areas that are most active are running at maximum rig utilisation, and we know the lead time for new rig orders has blown out to nine or 10 months, we believe that increase won’t happen in that timeframe.

“A lack of rigs places even more importance on using the best technology to drill more metres with the rigs that are available.”

House said the long-term outlook for mining technology was strong.

IMDEX was positioned to benefit from increasing demand for digital operations and real-time orebody knowledge, with a strong core business and strategy to outperform industry growth, he said.

Vast Resources to leverage new equipment and XRT ore sorting at Baita Plai

Vast Resources has devised a new mechanised mine plan for its Baita Plai polymetallic mine in Romania that will see mining capacity increase by 65% and ore sorting employed to increase mill feed grades.

The new mine plan includes the acquisition of three LHDs (including at least one narrow-vein electric LHD), an Aramine face jumbo drill rig, two Resemin Muki 22 long hole drilling rigs and a TOMRA X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorter.

Execution risk is expected to be significantly reduced compared with the old labour-intensive plan through the employment of senior international staff; the use of increased mechanisation; and the fact that shortly, with the expediated development plan now possible through the new equipment, the mining areas will be in areas newly drilled by the company and not in less stable old mining areas, the company said.

The company, in co-operation with TOMRA Mining, has concluded an initial investigation on ore from Baita Plai as part of the development of the new mining and processing plan. The objective of the work was to determine the amenability of ore from Baita Plai to be pre-concentrated using TOMRA sensor-based sorting technologies to produce a high-grade pre-concentrate, pre-milling feed.

“The study showed a clear amenability for the ore to be separated using TOMRA’s advanced XRT technology to identify both massive mineralisations, as well as fine mineral inclusions, using its proprietary combination detection algorithms to produce a high-grade pre-concentrate and eliminate non-grade containing waste material,” the company said.

The XRT implementation and processing plant upgrades are set to be completed by December 2021, the company said, with mill feed grades expected to be concentrated by 1.25-1.75 times. This would see the sensor-based sorter shift 60% of tonnage into the accept stream for the mill and 40% into the reject stream, with a 92% yield in the accept tonnage.

The new mine plan presents a cost reduction of 21% in dollars per mined tonne with an operational efficiency of 63 tonnes per total employee costed (TEC) at steady state, versus the previous plan efficiency metric of 43 tonnes per TEC, Vast Resources said. It also sees mining capacity rise to 22,000 t/mth, from 13,300 t/mth.

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive Officer of Vast Resources, said: “This is a robust and comprehensive mine plan which has been developed using rigorous technical parameters. On behalf of the board, I believe the plan set out to shareholders today represents a benchmark for us to deliver on over the coming years in tandem with our broader expansion plans at Baita Plai and across our wider portfolio.”

Fortescue rewards Monadelphous and Pentium Hydro with more Pilbara work

Fortescue Metals Group has handed out new work to Monadelphous Group and Pentium Hydro at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Engineering company Monadelphous has secured a new five-year crane services contract, valued at around A$150 million ($117 million), with the miner.

The contract is for the provision of crane services supporting general repairs, maintenance and shutdown activities at Fortescue’s Solomon (pictured) and Eliwana operations.

Monadelphous has provided crane services to Fortescue’s Solomon operations since 2017 and, last year, expanded those services to Fortescue’s Eliwana operations.

Vysarn Ltd subsidiary Pentium Hydro, meanwhile, advises that it has amended, via a Deed of Amendment, the agreement for hydrogeological borefield drilling and construction services with Fortescue’s wholly owned Chichester Metals Pty Ltd and FMG Solomon Pty Ltd subsidiaries, previously announced in November 2019.

This amendment will see the term of its contract increased to 36 months, with the option of a two-year extension exercisable by Fortescue. The scope of work has also been amended to include the provision of dual tube flooded reverse drilling services, with an additional drill rig expected to be deployed by April.

At the same time, the companies have amended the revenue model for the contract.

Revenue from works in the original contract was based on key performance indicators for a number of production and monitoring bores and was subject to metres drilled and drill rates. Revenue from works will now be based on a combination of day rates and a schedule of hourly rates, Vysarn said.

DDH1 drilling contractor debuts on ASX after stellar IPO

DDH1 Ltd has officially commenced trading on the Australian Securities Exchange following an initial public offering last week that saw the drilling contractor secure gross proceeds of A$150 million ($115 million) through the issue of around 40% of its shares.

The IPO proceeds were used to allow existing shareholders to realise part of their investment in the company and to repay company borrowings, the company said. The IPO was one of the largest by a Western Australia-based business in the past decade, according to DDH1.

“The ASX listing marks a significant milestone in the evolution of DDH1, which was established in Perth in 2006 with the vision to create Australia’s premier mineral drilling contractor,” the company said. “Over time, DDH1 has earned the custom of Australia’s premier mining companies through its repeated and meticulous service offering of gathering the critical geological data that supports the decision making in respect of all mining activity through the complete cycle of a mine’s life.”

DDH1 has a portfolio of approximately 102 clients, with a financial year 2020 pro-forma revenue of A$249.8 million. Its earnings are diversified across multiple commodities and geographies, with a client base that includes Newcrest Mining, BHP, Evolution Mining, Gold Fields, Independence Group, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, Newmont Corp, Ramelius Resources, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill Iron Ore and St Barbara.

It offers both surface and underground drilling services, with diamond coring and reverse circulation rigs on offer.

Sy Van Dyk, DDH1’s Managing Director and CEO, said: “The growth and success of DDH1 to date is testament to the commitment of the whole team, which strives to ensure the safety of all stakeholders while delivering exceptional service to our clients.

“Our long-term client relationships are built on the provision of quality drilling services and a deep understanding of our client’s business needs. The company’s significant market position reinforces the strong levels of industry recognition.”

He concluded: “There is growing demand in the Australian mineral drilling sector for DDH1’s services because of increased exploration, development and production spending by minerals exploration and mining companies. As an ASX-listed company with a strong balance sheet, a committed shareholder base, a disciplined approach to growth and access to capital markets, DDH1 is well positioned to pursue its growth strategy.”

Robit to supply drilling consumables to Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine

Robit and Agnico Eagle have signed a long-term cooperation agreement for drilling consumables supply to the Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, with the deliveries to start on May 1, 2021.

The company previously supplied diamond button bits to Kittilä mine for production drilling, thus, the mine and conditions are familiar to Robit, it said.

Tommi Lehtonen, CEO of Robit Group, said: ”We are happy to start this cooperation, which is a result of a long-time work and is an important reference to the company. It is also an investment in the domestic market. We are excited of this collaboration, which, in addition to product supply, offers an opportunity to develop our products together with one of the leading mining companies.”

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä mine, Agnico Eagle Finland Oy, added: “We are delighted with this agreement and expect a long-term and close collaboration. Together we have an opportunity to develop drilling consumables, eg diamond button bits and Sense Systems products, to serve customer needs even better.”

Kittilä mine is the largest gold mine in Europe. It extracts annually about 1.6 Mt of ore, yielding about 7,000 kg of gold. At current production volumes, the mine’s known ore reserves are expected to produce gold until 2034.

Barminco to debut Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M in the Goldfields of Western Australia

Barminco says it has become the first company in the world to debut the new generation of Epiroc’s Mobile Carrier Rig (MCR) – the GEN 2 Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M.

This second-generation underground mobile core drill rig uses the drilling capacity of the Diamec Smart 6 automated operating system, and the mobility and sturdiness of the S2 Boomer carrier with the addition of Epiroc’s automated rod handler, the contractor said.

Epiroc says the the Diamec Smart 6M combines the best of two worlds – the high productivity and accuracy of a Diamec core drilling rig, with the mobility of a robust carrier designed for underground use.

The Rod Handling System, coupled with the Smart 6 Rig Control System, allows for full automation, increasing operator safety and productivity, according to Barminco.

The company said: “Combining Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology of their drilling and rod handling operating systems brings the underground drilling industry a step closer to having ‘no hands on steel’ and taking a giant step forward towards a safer environment for the operators.”

The contractor is due to commission the rig next month at a client site in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

Barminco added: “The addition of the Epiroc GEN 2 MCR to our state-of-the-art fleet supports our Diamond Drill team to Enable Tomorrow, work Smarter Together and take No Shortcuts. Following these Barminco Principles will help create a safer environment for our people and will assist our client in consistently achieving production targets.”

Swick Mining Services goes all-in on underground drilling

Swick Mining Services has decided to sell its surface drilling business and concentrate on underground mining in a move Managing Director, Kent Swick, says is a logical step for the company “aligned with our strategy”.

The Surface Reverse Circulation (RC) Drilling business is being sold to K-Drill Pty Ltd and K-Drill Equipment Pty Ltd.

The sale includes six surface RC rigs, associated equipment, inventory, personnel and contracts, with the transaction expected to complete in the March quarter of 2021.

Including the recent sale of a number of residual RC assets to other parties, Swick will receive total proceeds for its RC business and assets of around A$6.4 million ($4.8 million) in cash and will report a profit on sale of some A$1.2 million before tax, it said.

K-Drill is a new RC drilling company that will be specialising in providing high quality, safe and productive drilling solutions to the Australian mining industry, Swick said. It will be building on the foundations set by Swick and will be led by Managing Director, Brendan O’Shea, who is Swick’s current Business Development Manager.

The Surface RC Drilling business provides reserve definition and exploration drilling to clients and its sale enables Swick to focus on its core Underground Diamond (UD) Drilling business; a 70-rig fleet providing reserve definition and grade control drilling at producing mines. This business represents 96% of annual revenue, Swick says.

O’Shea said: “This opportunity will allow K-Drill to focus completely on surface drilling and we are pleased to provide clients with peace of mind in knowing that we will be bringing all current Swick RC employees and Swick’s existing robust operating systems to K-Drill, ensuring a smooth transition for existing clients.”

After the disposal of the RC division, Swick’s drilling revenue will be generated entirely by the company’s UD Drilling division. This division drills around 100,000 m/mth of core across four countries – Australia, USA, Portugal and Spain. It is on track to deliver a forecasted revenue of A$68-$70 million, with utilisation remaining strong with 13 rigs operating internationally, 25 in Western Australia (including two DeepEX rigs) and 20 across the rest of Australia in December 2020.

On top of the Surface RC drilling business sale, and in response to increased market demand, Swick has agreed to manufacture and sell its “world-class” GenII mobile drill rigs, it said. These rigs are the smallest footprint, but highest-powered mobile drill available on the market, according to Swick, with many unique features including a “world-class automation package”.

Four GenII rigs are currently under construction for two large global drilling contractors for use outside of Australia, Swick said.

In response to increased demand for drill rigs from both Swick’s in-house drilling division and expected interest by external customers, Swick is gearing up its engineering facility at its South Guildford, Western Australia headquarters, to meet this demand, it said.

Swick Engineering has appointed an experienced senior mechanical engineer for the role of Production Manger that will manage the engineering business and oversee the efficient builds and rebuilds of the GenII drills.