Namibia-based KODO Drilling has taken delivery of the country’s first Sandvik Mining and Rock Solution’s Leopard™ DI650i surface drill rigs, which are set to go to work at an open-pit gold mine.
The rigs will be used as part of KODO Drilling’s down-the-hole (DTH) production drilling remit at the mine. The units arrived at the mine site in early November 2022.
According to Andries van Wyngaard, Territory Manager and Acting Managing Director at Sandvik Namibia, the contract is an important step in the company’s expansion strategy. Over the past year, its field service department has grown to seven trained full-service technicians in-country.
“As Sandvik Namibia gears up to support more equipment sales into the local market, we are grateful to KODO Drilling for their confidence in our innovative products and committed service,” van Wyngaard says. “With the values of KODO Drilling and Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions so closely aligned – including safety and service excellence – this is a perfect fit.”
The DI650i, a diesel powered crawler mounted intelligent DTH rig, is designed for demanding production drilling applications in surface mining, according to van Wyngaard. The self-contained unit is equipped with an ergonomic iCAB operator’s cabin, fixed boom, dry dust collector and drill pipe changer – incorporating a modern design and layout.
“The rig comes with a range of new or redesigned components to boost its productivity,” he says. “It has the capacity to drill a wide variety of hole sizes from 90-165 mm. We have also run trials in Namibia with our RH560 hammer and we’ve seen exceptional performance – drilling holes from 115-203 mm.”
KODO Drilling Director, Vilho Hanghome, says his company’s progress is based on its constant drive to deliver innovative services and perform within a safe and environmentally sustainable manner.
“Having previously procured exploration rigs from Sandvik, we have valued the equipment quality and service we have received – as these have allowed us to deliver performance within budget to our clients,” Hanghome says. “We are therefore pleased to be investing in Sandvik’s state-of-the-art DTH technology and we will rely on their high level technical support going forward.”
Van Wyngaard says the contract shows KODO’s faith in Sandvik Namibia’s ability to support its DTH offering with aftermarket service. He points to the considerable interest the local market has shown in the delivery of the two rigs.
“After we signed off on the deal and sent the units off from our Khomanani headquarters in Kempton Park, many of our Namibian customers have noticed them on the road and posted excited comments online,” he says. “The mine where the rigs will operate is also looking forward to benefiting from the results of the new machines’ performance.”
Among the advantages the units offer is ground level access to all daily maintenance and service points. This makes for greater safety – as technicians do not have to climb around the machine. It also adds to productivity, as quicker maintenance means less downtime. Its silent and ergonomic cabin is a leader in the market, and boasts excellent visibility for safety and operability, according to the company.
Contributing to its low total cost of ownership are its intelligent hydraulic and compressor systems, which, it says, can deliver 38-42% improved fuel efficiency. Incorporating intelligent technology, the Sandvik DI650i rigs can accommodate scalable automation from on-board options to full automation systems.
Sandvik Namibia has made encouraging progress with recent equipment sales into Namibia, explains van Wyngaard, and he looks forward to a new era of engagement with both the surface and underground mining segments.
“Building on our long-standing relationship with KODO Drilling, we look forward to many more successful ventures with them and other customers,” he says.