Tag Archives: drilling

Sandvik to supply electric rotary drills for Mongolia’s Tsagaan Suvarga project

Mongolyn Alt MAK LLC has selected Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to supply five electric DR410iE rotary drill rigs for the Tsagaan Suvarga project in Mongolia.

This significant partnership underscores Sandvik’s commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions to enhance mining operations worldwide.

The Tsagaan Suvarga project, implemented by Mongolyn Alt MAK LLC, is a significant undertaking led by a 100% national company of great importance in the Mongolian mining industry, Sandvik says. As a result of extensive detailed exploration spanning from 2001 to 2008, a total of 1.6 million tons of copper and 66,000 tons of molybdenum reserves were determined and registered in the state reserve fund.

The Tsagaan Suvarga project, will create over 1,300 permanent jobs and 5,000-7,500 more through subcontractors. It’s estimated to contribute around $150 million annually to national and local budgets, totaling $4 billion in tax revenue for Mongolia. Furthermore, it is an important project for the country’s economy, capable of generating approximately 60% of its benefits through tax revenues, payments, and fees without reliance on government investment.

As part of this landmark project, Sandvik will deliver five electric DR410iE drills to enhance drilling operations at the Tsagaan Suvarga site. These advanced rotary drills represent the pinnacle of mining technology, designed to optimise efficiency, productivity and safety in challenging mining environments.

Daniel Kopecky, Business Line Manager – Surface Drills Sales Area South East Asia at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “We are honoured to be selected as the supplier of choice for the Tsagaan Suvarga project. Our cutting-edge rotary drills will play a crucial role in supporting Mongolyn Alt MAK LLC’s mission to unlock the full potential of the Tsagaan Suvarga deposit. We remain committed to delivering innovative solutions that empower our customers to achieve their goals safely and sustainably.”

Erdenes Tsagaan Suvarga LLC’s Mine Manager, Mungunjoloo B, said: “We are thrilled to be the first users of Sandvik’s latest DR410iE smart electric-powered rotary drill rigs. We are confident these drills will significantly enhance the efficiency of our drilling and blasting operations. Furthermore, the electric, intelligent, and remote-operation capabilities of these rigs lay the groundwork for a modern, data-driven mining operation that prioritises operator well-being, safety and productivity. This acquisition represents a major leap forward for our company, and even for the mining industry within the country.”

Deliveries of the five  are scheduled to commence in the June quarter and conclude by the December quarter of 2025, marking a significant milestone in the development of the Tsagaan Suvarga project.

Epiroc upgrades SmartROC C50 drill rig with long feed option

Epiroc says its SmartROC C50 will now be available with a choice of two feeds, the standard feed or a long feed, allowing the drill rig to deliver even more metres per shift.

This rig combines high penetration rates with superior hole quality – even in the most challenging conditions, the company claims.

The long feed enables this COPROD rig to deliver even more meters per shift by increasing drilling time and reducing the time changing rods, according to Epiroc. Additionally, less rod changing reduces wear on consumables and helps lower fuel costs. This makes this machine even more cost effective.

Epiroc said: “The SmartROC C50 is one of fastest, safest and most efficient drill rigs available on the market. The well-known surface drill rig is a favoured choice for contractors and mining customers who require both raw power and precision. This is due to the COPROD technology, which offers the unique combination of precision and speed. Together with the new long feed, this rig will be beneficial to mining and quarrying operations all around the globe.”

The SmartROC C50 with a long feed can carry a 7.3 m starter rod and 6 m rods in the carousel, which increases the maximum hole depth to 37 m. There is also a significant increase in its single-pass capacity, according to Epiroc.

“We have taken this top class surface drill rig and made it even more appealing with this new long feed option,” Ulf Gyllander, Global Product Manager at Epiroc, said. “With its smart Rig Control System (RCS) and easy-to-use touch screen, we are proud to call the SmartROC C50 a class-leading rig.”

GroundHog looks to increase precision in drilling operations

GroundHog has launched what it says is a state-of-the-art high-precision solution that sets a new standard for precise drilling in mining operations.

By acting as an integrator, GroundHog is looking to bring together a complete solution to streamline drilling operations. The integration includes strategically positioned base stations, RTK receivers with 20 mm accuracy, and dual antennas − ensuring optimal signal coverage. The GroundHog Operator app further enhances this approach, offering mining operators a unified solution for maximum efficiency, it says.

The distinctive feature of this solution is the integration of GroundHog visualisation, tracking drill status, hole details, consumables and additional information within the operator app. This powerful combination enables precise data collection, offering operators immediate insights into drilling processes, GroundHog says. It promotes adherence to drill plans, addresses the common challenge of data quality in drill operations and transitions from traditional pen-and-paper methods to electronic data capture for improved efficiency.

Amitava Dutta, Director − Product Operations, GroundHog, said: “Conventional drilling without precision techniques poses multiple negative impacts, with drill operators spending substantial time on drill placement. Deviations in drill holes lead to improper burden, spacing, angle and depth of drill holes which, in turn, lead to safety and productivity issues. High-precision drilling minimises these impacts, ensuring better adherence to plans and enhancing overall operational efficiency.”

The standout benefit of High Precision technology lies in its ability to get accurate equipment navigation and control even in challenging terrains or complex orebodies. Highly accurate position information allows to guide the equipment, laying the groundwork for autonomy eventually, GroundHog explained.

Data quality issues pose significant challenges in QA/QC in drill and blast operations. Any deviation from the designed parameters can impact final blasting results, affecting successive processes such as loading, hauling and crushing. Precise drilling reduces these chances of deviation, enabling improved drill productivity, optimal blast fragment size, reduced toe generation, improved excavator and truck productivity, precise sampling, and enhanced quality control of ore and crusher productivity.

Ausdrill boosts drilling remit at Sino Iron project

Ausdrill, part of Perenti, has confirmed it will move new drill rigs to CITIC Pacific Mining’s Sino Iron project in the Pilbara of Western Australia as part of an expansion program.

Sino Iron is the largest magnetite mining and processing operation in Australia, 100 km southwest of Karratha. It uses traditional open-pit mining techniques to excavate the ore ahead of an on-site beneficiation process to produce a high grade, premium magnetite concentrate for export from purpose-built facilities at Cape Preston.

Ausdrill says it is currently mobilising one reverse circulation rig and two diamond drill rigs to the project.

“Our experienced team is ready to assist in the large-scale expansion program with an emphasis on ensuring the safe delivery of high-quality samples and maximising recovery within the specified timeline,” it said.


Capital in line for another five years of drilling at Centamin’s Sukari

Capital has been awarded a letter of intent related to a five-year extension to its open-pit drilling services contract at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine in Egypt, with the contractor potentially extending its work there through to the end of 2029.

Subject to conclusion of the definitive drilling services agreement, which will include both blasthole and grade control drilling, the contract will mean Capital has been on site for 25 years when concluding its services. The contract would begin on January 1, 2025.

Back in 2020, Capital entered a conditional open-pit waste mining services contract with Sukari Gold Mines and expanded and extended its existing drilling contract with Sukari, effective January 1, 2021. Collectively, these contracts were anticipated to deliver incremental revenues of $235-260 million over a four-year period, representing the largest award of new business in the company’s history.

In the company’s Q4 2023 trading update released today, Capital noted that the Sukari gold mine waste mining contract saw consistent operations through the three-month period.


Sandvik loaders, development drills and bolter heading to Byrnecut at Kathleen Valley

Mining contractor Byrnecut has chosen Sandvik to supply automated loaders, underground drills and rock tools as it gears up to deliver underground mining services at the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia.

Sandvik will supply Byrnecut with seven 21-t-payload Toro™ LH621i loaders with AutoMine®, three Sandvik DD422i development drills with Dual Controls and a Sandvik DS422i cable bolter. The equipment order was primarily booked in the September quarter.

Sandvik will also supply Byrnecut with rock tools for the operation over four years.

The deal follows Liontown Resources awarding Byrnecut with the circa-A$1 billion ($656 million) contract for development and production at the mine in August 2023.

The Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia’s northern Goldfields region is one of the most significant new long-life lithium projects anywhere in the world, owner Liontown Resources says, with a mineral resource estimate of 156 Mt at 1.4% Li2O and 130 ppm Ta2O5. The operations have been optimised for an initial 3 Mt/y, producing approximately 500,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate with a 4 Mt/y expansion planned in Year 6, to deliver approximately 700,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate.

Byrnecut is investing A$125 million in new equipment for the project, with mobilisation having already commenced and first production is targeted for mid-2024.

Wayne Scrivens, Vice President, Sales Area Australia and New Zealand, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “Byrnecut and Sandvik have a long history of collaboration on projects across the country and we’re delighted that Byrnecut is once again investing significantly in Sandvik equipment and rock tools for this major project. This deal highlights the growing understanding across the Australian mining sector that Sandvik’s advanced solutions help mines run safer, more efficiently and more sustainably.”

Sandvik’s Toro LH621i underground loaders (one pictured above) are engineered for rapid mine development and large-scale underground production, according to the OEM. Smart boom geometry optimises hydraulic power for fast bucket filling and the handling of large rocks.

Under AutoMine Multi-Lite an operator can remotely control and simultaneously supervise multiple Toro LH621i loaders from a comfortable environment, reducing exposure to dust, noise, vibrations and other mine hazards. This creates a safer work environment for both the operator and mine personnel, Sandvik says.

When used in combination with Sandvik’s Dual Controls package, Sandvik DD422i face drills can be used for a wide variety of underground applications, including boring, bolting and meshing. The package improves drill optimisation, versatility and performance and was designed to address needs identified by mining contractors.

Sandvik will also provide Byrnecut premium rock tools as well as a range of added services and digital solutions to support its drilling operations. The deal will also include carbide recycling, with Sandvik’s Carbide Recycling Program helping both the OEM and the wider industry to meet circularity goals and ensure raw materials are used efficiently and sustainably.

Komatsu to tap NSS Canada MOSS software for improved blasthole drilling

Leadership teams from NSS Canada and Komatsu joined this week to celebrate the official signing of their MoU as well as an initial commercial agreement that will see Komatsu use and supply NSS Canada’s current versions of MOSS and MOSS AR for use with Komatsu drills, and the drilling retrofits business with support from the NSS Canada team.

The Miner Operated Survey System (MOSS) integrates mine design specifications and drawings when generating a drill plan and provides real-time information to miners, engineers and geologists, NSS Canada says. The company offers both a standard version of MOSS and an augmented reality version of MOSS (MOSS AR), currently ready for market.

MOSS AR is a new innovative technology developed by NSS Canada that incorporates MOSS with an augmented reality display, using the Microsoft HoloLens. The addition of MOSS AR provides real-time holographic projections of all survey and planned data, reduces traditional survey equipment requirements and saves time with a five-minute markup process, all while providing survey-grade accuracy, the company says.

The agreement between the two companies allows for the addition of an optimised solutions package and customisation of MOSS into Komatsu’s drill rig control systems, NSS Canada says. It also opens new possibilities for clients to use a mining package that bridges Komatsu’s products with NSS Canada’s mining software solutions for optimisation of solutions underground.

“Having the ability to work with a company like Komatsu allows for a strategic opportunity to expand globally with our MOSS system,” Bruno Lalonde, CEO/President of NSS Canada, said. “This agreement fits our aligned visions for technology, innovation and adaptation to safety.”

Komatsu’s vision is to create value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together.

Johan Kempe, Product Director Underground Drills, Komatsu said: “We are pleased to sign this agreement with NSS to help our customers to tackle the challenge to improve the quality of drilling blast holes and to align with the mine design and planned drill plans. NSS has several innovative products and solutions that complement our product offering.”

Sandvik to explore surface drilling automation, digitalisation, electrification advances at new testing facility

In support of the shift towards electrification and the advancement of autonomous and optimisation technologies in surface drilling, Sandvik has acquired a new testing facility in Finland to develop and prove future surface drilling technologies.

The surface test mine is 40 km northwest of Tampere and Sandvik’s underground test mine. The area, which has previously served as a quarry, will be developed by its own drilling plan. The site is Sandvik’s first dedicated exclusively to surface drilling on such a large scale.

Petri Virrankoski, President, Surface Drilling at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “The development of comprehensive solutions that not only harness the latest technologies but also deliver productivity and reliability in our customers’ real-life applications and conditions requires a real-life test environment. The surface test mine will facilitate the exchange of our deep know-how in equipment manufacturing, rock tools, automation and digitalisation, supporting the design and development of even more new products and solutions in the future.”

Sandvik is currently developing the site, officially known as Sandvik Test Pit, and testing its first drills there. Over the next two years, the company plans to construct permanent office buildings and designated customer facilities at the location.

Sandvik will use the test mine for R&D as well as hosting customers for technology demonstrations, particularly those related to automation, digitalisation and electrification of surface drills. The site will enable technology development and training for both surface boom and rotary drill rigs, as well as rock tools, parts and services and related digital technologies such as automation and fleet telematics and monitoring solutions.

The test mine will also allow Sandvik to explore and demonstrate power source alternatives in a real-world environment, in which infrastructure to support both boom and rotary drilling electrification can be provided.

Dave Shellhammer, President, Rotary Drilling at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “Decarbonisation is accelerating across our industry, and the role of electrification in surface mining sustainability will help guide our development of new systems and solutions. Testing is a major part of our R&D cycle. This new test mine will help us shorten time to market and verify even more swiftly that we’re delivering the safest, most reliable and productive drill rigs to our customers.”

IMDEX, Krux Analytics look to fill drilling productivity gap

A partnership between IMDEX and drilling analytics company Krux is driving a digital transition to improve productivity in exploration and production drilling, according to the ASX-listed mining tech company.

With recent figures revealing a reduction in metres drilled despite record mineral exploration spending, IMDEX and Krux say it is time for the mining industry to embrace technology that will deliver better outcomes.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for the June quarter which showed a reduction in metres drilled against a June spending record of A$1.069 billion revealed the productivity gap facing the mining industry.

While the figures were for Australia, the same cost pressures were present in other countries, he said.

IMDEX took a 40% interest in Krux earlier this year.

Krux collects and analyses exploration and production drilling data in near real time.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jody Conrad, said Krux software is central to solving the productivity challenge.

“We definitely fill that productivity gap,” she said. “Our goal is to get you as many metres as possible.”

Conrad said a combination of technology and innovation meant it was now cost effective to make the digital transition.

Together, IMDEX and Krux have the software and tools to collect and analyse the increasing streams of data from digital drill rigs, they say.

A mechanical engineer who built and designed automated drilling rigs for the oil and gas sector, Conrad founded Krux in 2016 with an aim of marrying real-time drilling analytics with financial data to optimise drilling operations.

The plan was to target the oil and gas sector; instead, Krux found itself solving the same problem in the mining sector, ending the need for spreadsheets and manual data entry, and resolving time delays, inefficiencies and inconsistencies caused by trying to compare separate data sets, contracts and financial statements.

“It was an onerous, manual process. There was never a reconciliation in the old process,” Conrad said.

“Someone might have entered the operational data and done analysis but the two would be sitting separately.

“The number one thing we do is bring all the data together so you can understand what’s costing you money and what’s producing your metres so you can optimise your operations.

“It’s vital that there is a single source of data. That’s the problem, or the crux of the matter, that we solved.”

House said that in time Krux software would replace the IMDEX Mobile product and provide a clear pathway for customers to receive a best-in-class solution.

Krux’s strong market position in North America, combined with IMDEX’s strength in the Asia Pacific and Africa, presented the opportunity to develop a global solution, the two companies say.

Conrad said the migration of IMDEX Mobile customers to the Krux platform was progressing well.

She said: “More than 80% of customers are in conversations with us. Our platform is currently on over 600 rigs worldwide, but the potential market is more than 4,000 rigs.”

One of the benefits of the Krux software is that data is normalised, allowing for meaningful comparisons of drilling campaigns.

“Regardless of who is drilling or which mining company, our data goes into a normalised system so that if I’m a mining company with operations in Australia, Canada and the US I can normalise all those operations to say how is the US doing compared with Canada or how is the drilling performance different between these rigs or how are my costs different,” she said.

“The transparency is the key to driving better results.

“Mining clients want to reduce their costs, but they don’t mind as much if they are drilling more metres.

“For drillers, at the end of the day, they are trying to drill as many metres as possible for their client and there is a budget.

“If we can optimise their drilling, then they get work next year.

“What driller wants to sit on standby and get a lower rate from the mining client because their drilling program took longer than expected and was disrupted, rather than get the higher metreage rate.

“The interactive process is the benefit we have over our competitors. It’s the approval and validation, a single source of data for all decisions.

“Others take data from multiple sources and provide it for analysis. That’s one step up from a spreadsheet.

“We take the data to the next level. It’s approved and validated; everyone has access, and everyone is on the same page.”

Perenti completes DDH1 acquisition, establishes Drilling Services Division

Perenti says the DDH1 Limited scheme of arrangement has been implemented today, with the ASX company now having acquired 100% of the issued share capital of DDH1.

Following the completion of the transaction, Perenti has now become one of the largest drilling services companies globally, increasing growth opportunities for the business and its people.

When the deal was announced back in June, Perenti estimated it would create the ASX’s leading diversified contract mining services company, with a pro forma market capitalisation of circa A$1.3 billion (pre-synergies and potential re-rate), positioning Perenti for potential ASX200 inclusion. Perenti added that 85% of its revenue base will be from production and resource definition (rather than exploration), with the company holding a modern fleet with over 190 rigs from DDH1 and 99 from Perenti – one of the largest drill fleets globally.

Mark Norwell, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Perenti, said Perenti is pleased to welcome the DDH1 team members who are joining the Perenti Group today and looks forward to working together to continue to deliver value and certainty for all our stakeholders.

“The acquisition of DDH1 is a very important milestone in the continued growth and evolution of Perenti, and we are very pleased to welcome the circa 2,000 DDH1 employees, their four highly respected brands of DDH1 Drilling, Strike Drilling, Ranger Drilling and Swick Mining Services along with their expansive client base into the wider Perenti Group. DDH1 leverages and builds on nearly 40 years of drilling expertise that our Ausdrill brand holds, enabling Perenti to establish a stand-alone Drilling Services Division of significant scale and global relevance. Perenti is now one of the largest drilling services contractors globally offering a complete range of underground and surface drilling services, including specialisation in deep directional drilling.

“With the completion of the acquisition, we look forward to demonstrating the significant value proposition that the combination of Perenti and DDH1 can offer to all our stakeholders, and we expect to provide the market with consolidated financial year 2024 guidance in November.”