Tag Archives: Gen3 E-Rig

Swick to start testing prototype fully-electric mobile diamond drill rig in October

A prototype of Swick Mining Services’ Gen3 E-Rig, the first fully-electric mobile diamond drill rig in the global market Swick says, will soon start testing at a mine site in Western Australia, the ASX-listed contractor reported in its financial year 2021 results.

The company recently established the Future of Drilling ‘Futures’ department to provide clients with “significant ESG (environmental, social and governance) solutions to lower the carbon footprint of drilling and improve safety through automation”.

As part of the division, the company has been building its Gen3 E-Rig, set to reduce the carbon footprint of underground core drilling by around 50% per metre drilled, Swick says.

Swick says the first prototype is set to be tested at a client’s site in Western Australia in October, with the fully proven electric rig set to be available for Swick’s engineering department to “construct in volumes” by the start of its 2023 financial year.

Swick’s Futures department is also developing a remote control drilling (RCD) system to allow drillers to operate rigs remotely through video-linked controls from surface effectively and safely for up to “24 hours a day of productive time”.

The key inputs of the RCD program are automation, surface to underground high speed communication and semi-autonomous rod handling.

The automation software developed in-house has been delivered and optimised during the company’s 2021 financial year and is now ready for application, it says. “Communication architecture” is now available from third parties, leaving the semi-autonomous rod handling as the last key system design to work on.

“Although the benefits of RCD are evident, Swick expects the implementation of RCD to ramp up over time as the mines get deeper and non-productive time increases and the working environments get more challenging for personnel due to temperature gradients at depth,” it said.

Swick Mining to pursue battery-electric, remote control diamond drilling

Swick Mining’s latest market update has indicated its postponed demerger of Orexplore should now go ahead by the end of the year, allowing it to concentrate on the development of new underground drilling technologies including battery-electric diamond drill rigs and remote control drilling.

In a release issued today, Swick said it was recommencing the demerger process for Orexplore with the appointment of Brett Giroud as Managing Director of the Mineral Technology business. Giroud, who joined Swick in May as General Manager, has been reviewing Orexplore’s technology and its future potential and will take on his new role as of July 1.

Back in February, Swick Mining Services said it as pushing back the delivery of Orexplore’s first in-field commercial agreement for its core scanning technology with St Barbara Ltd at the Gwalia mine in Leonora, Western Australia, following discussions with the gold miner, deferring the contract into the 2022 financial year (from July 1, 2021). This decision saw the ASX-listed company also push back the demerger process.

In the meantime, Swick, which reported unaudited financial year 2021 (to June 30, 2021) expected results of A$153-156 million ($115-117 million) of revenue and A$29-31 million of EBITDA, has established a Future of Drilling department. This newly established department includes its Gen3 E-Rigs and Remote Control Drilling (RCD) innovations.

These Gen3 E-Rigs have the capacity to reduce the power consumption per metre drilled by around 50%, leading to overall lower carbon footprint, Swick said. The underground diamond drilling rigs remove all diesel power and a large portion of the hydraulic components currently on the “Swick GenII drill rig”.

“The Gen3 E-Rig will have a large battery capacity allowing for electric tramming and will also utilise the latest in DC electric motor technology to power the drilling components,” the company said.

A research and development drill rig fitted with an electric drill head is nearing readiness for field testing and a prototype rig is expected to be test drilling at a Western Australian client’s operation within the next three months, the company said. A fully proven Gen3 E-Rig is expected to be available for commencing service by mid 2022.

Its RCD system allows drillers to perform automated drilling through video-linked controls from surface effectively and safely, with an additional four non-productive hours a day converted to drilling time, Swick claims.

The RCD system consists of three major components – automated drilling, high speed communications to surface and semi-automated robotic handling of tubes and rods. “Swick has developed an advanced automation capability and is working with specialist consultants on the communications and robotics to establish the final system,” it said.

While the company is talking up its Gen3 E-rigs, its GenII mobile drill rigs – offering the smallest footprint, but highest power on the mobile drill market, Swick says – have recently reached a milestone, with units built and sold to clients in Canada and Tanzania.

“This new division has enabled Swick to participate in significant mining markets and regions where it does not have a presence operationally,” Swick said of the Swick Engineering business which the rigs come under. “Rig sales in financial year 2022 of eight to 12 rigs are targeted and, with a growing global demand for high-quality mobile underground drill rigs, Swick is well placed to service this market.”

This demand will be served by an expanded engineering facility in South Guilford, the company said.