Tag Archives: raiseboring

RUC Cementation Mining to carry out raiseboring at Bellevue gold project

RUC Cementation Mining has been awarded a raisebore contract at the Bellevue gold project, 40 km northwest of Leinster in Western Australia.

The project, which is valued at A$15.8 million ($10.6 million) over 28 months, provides for RUC’s Raiseboring division to establish vent rises, return air rises and underground escapeways at the underground mine.

RUC, a subsidiary of the Murray and Roberts Group, also completed several raisebores at the Bellevue gold project during the previous operations, project owner Bellevue Gold said in a separate announcement earlier this week.

RUC calls itself the industry leader for raiseboring, having proprietary techniques and equipment, cost saving initiatives and a localised offsite support centre based in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. It says it is also focused on delivering services with good environmental, social and governance practices, which align with Bellevue’s strong commitments to be Australia’s first carbon-neutral gold producer.

Bellevue is forecasting production of 200,000 oz/y during years one to five at an all-in sustaining cost of A$922/oz ($618/oz) at its operation.

Cementation, Sandvik and Micon achieve flexible raisebore-based sinking at Solvay Chemicals #5 shaft

Cementation Americas has announced the completion of the full faced raisebored raise at Solvay Chemicals #5 shaft in Green River, Wyoming, USA.

The project required the company to complete a 22 ft (6.7 m) diameter shaft, complete with concrete liner, from surface to a depth of 1,506 ft (459 m).

Concrete liner thickness increased as the depth of the shaft increased, so the initial concept was to complete a pilot slash raise with a raisebore drill and then slash from the top down to achieve the differing diameters to accommodate concrete liner thickness, the company explained. Cementation instead proposed a full face raisebored shaft solution with variable diameters for each section.

“We worked closely with Sandvik to design, engineer and manufacture a reaming head that could be diminished in diameter rather than manufacturing different diameters of outside wings,” Cementation said. “Final design allowed for five diameter options; maximum of 26.67 ft (8.1 m), down to 24.48 ft, in increments of 6.6 in (168 mm). The 26.67 ft. diameter reamer consisted of 12 individual sections, 46 cutters and weighed 136,000 lbs (61,689 kg).”

Following completion of 68 ft deep collar excavation and lining, Cementation’s Strata 950 Raise Drill was set up over the collar and a 16 in diameter pilot hole was drilled with Micon’s rotary vertical drilling system (RVDS). When the completed pilot hole was surveyed, the total deviation from vertical was found to be less than 4 in over entire length of pilot hole, according to the company.

Based on the pilot hole survey, it was determined that the first leg of the shaft would be reamed to 26.13-ft diameter for 588 ft of shaft, followed by 25.02-ft diameter for the next 285 ft of shaft and 24.47-ft diameter for the final 535 ft of shaft to surface.

Reaming of the shaft was completed on April 24 and the Cementation shaft crews are now in the process of completing the shaft lining.

This raise was one of the largest ever pulled in the Americas and was completed without incident, the company noted.

Its success was the result of a collaborative effort by all parties involved by providing the best technical solution for the Solvay Chemicals #5 Shaft, which is part of the company’s trona operations in Green River.

Pictured is the Solvay reaming head at the Sandvik workshop in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Redpath to carry out raisebore, boxhole services at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine

Redpath Australia says it has commenced a new raisebore contract with Kirkland Lake Gold at the Fosterville gold mine in Bendigo, Victoria.

Under the new contract, Redpath will provide raisebore and boxhole services at the mine through to late 2023.

The contract extends Redpath’s continuous presence at Fosterville to over 10 years.

Fosterville is a high-grade, low-cost underground gold mine, which commenced operation in 2005 and, during its initial years, produced gold from near-surface, low-grade mineralisation. It is now an underground mine with decline access that, last year, produced 509,601 oz of gold.

Redpath’s raiseboring division also has a relationship with the Kirkland Lake team at Macassa. The team completed a 1,010-m-long hole at the mine in Ontario, Canada, in 2021, making it the longest raisebore hole ever accomplished in the Northern Hemisphere and all the Americas when it was carried out.

TERRATEC to debut TRC3000C Raise Boring Machine in India

TERRATEC has successfully completed the factory acceptance testing of a custom TR3000C Raise Boring Machine (RBM) at its workshop in Tasmania, Australia, with the machine destined for a customer in India.

After extensive research and analysis, TERRATEC was chosen to supply this first large raiseborer to India, the company said.

“This is an important milestone that the Indian mining industry has been looking forward to for many years,” Managing Director of TERRATEC India, Gulshan Gill, said. “To see simultaneous increases in safety and productivity through the use of raiseboring machines for the excavation of vertical ventilation shafts is for many a dream come true.”

TERRATEC says it is already the leading tunnel boring machine manufacturer in India, with the expansion into raiseboring an obvious next step.

Manufactured at TERRATEC’s workshop in Tasmania, the TR3000C Raise Boring Machine is a highly robust piece of equipment, designed for ease of operation and maintenance, providing a high level of reliability, according to the company. The unit has a nominal boring size of 3 m in diameter and 400 m in depth and has a standard pilot hole diameter of 311 mm.

The machine has been designed in a modular form that makes disassembly of the major components for inspection, transport, or repair easy to achieve, the company claimed.

The “Derrick Configuration” includes a powerful near-ground loading pipe loader that results in a very low profile in relation to drill string length, TERRATEC said. Rotation is powered by a hollow shaft hydraulic motor, affording protection to the drill string when operating at near maximum capacity, as well as unrestricted flow of flushing water through the drive train into the drill pipe.

Custom features incorporated on this machine include an upgraded proprietary gearbox design, which allows for some flexibility in alignment when raiseboring and adding drill pipe.

Dip angle adjustment (0-30° from vertical) is powered from the hydraulic power pack and can be achieved using the layback cylinders on the diesel-powered crawler/erector assembly, according to the company.

TERRATEC has numerous Raise Boring Machines around the world in Australia, China, India and many countries in both North and South America. These include the company’s range of Raise Boring Machines, Down-Reaming Drills and Box Holing Rigs, as well as combination of those in the form of Universal Boring Machines.

RUC Cementation Mining to carry out shaft work on Western Areas’ Cosmos nickel op

RUC Cementation Mining Contractors is set to carry out the shaft infrastructure design, construction and equipping for the Cosmos nickel operations in Western Australia after signing a contract with mine owner, Western Areas Ltd.

This contract represents the culmination of an engagement that has been ongoing for some six months, not including the excavation works which RUC is completing, having recently successfully holed the top leg of the shaft, RUC said.

“Furthermore, this cements a long-term relationship between both companies that spans over 15 years,” it added.

In Western Areas’ 2021 financial year (to June 30, 2021), capital investment at Cosmos totalled A$84 million ($63 million) for the year as the Odysseus mine construction activity increased, including full mobilisation of the underground mining contractor with over 3 km of underground decline and capital development being completed.

Odysseus mine development reached first ore earlier this month, with the raisebore back reaming having worked through 630 m of development at a diameter of 5.7 m, completing Leg 1 of the shaft hoisting and intake air system.

At the time, Western Areas Managing Director, Dan Lougher, said: “It is an exciting milestone to reach first ore and we now look forward to continuing ore production and construction activities, while also advancing offtake tenders for new nickel sulphide supply into the class 1 nickel market.

“The raisebore breakthrough (pictured) is also a key achievement that further de-risks project delivery and allows completion of the shaft sub-brace concrete works, as well as remaining surface civil works, associated with the shaft. Importantly, the work was completed without a safety incident, for which credit must be given to the site management team and RUC, the raise bore contractor.”

Rhino raiseborer set for work in Botswana, South Africa

Having been introduced to the southern African market only a year ago, two Rhino 100 ‘plug-and-drill’ raiseborers from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions are already destined for local mining sites.

One unit will soon be at work in Botswana, while the second will be delivered to a large South Africa mine later this year, according to Saltiel Pule, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ Business Line Manager for Underground Drilling in southern Africa.

“This machine has raised considerable interest in our market, and we fully expect to see five units at work in our region by the end of 2022,” Pule says.

The primary application of the Rhino 100 is for drilling of production slots, but it also makes a valuable contribution in a range of other applications – from ventilation raises and escape routes to ore passes and connections between tunnels, the company said.

“Using conventional drill and blast methods, these vertical or inclined holes can take mines three to six months to complete,” Pule says. “With the Rhino 100, we are talking about durations of less than a week.”

Drilled as relief holes in sub-level open stoping, slot raises provide the necessary void space for blasting, allowing the expansion of blasted rock into the void to improve fragmentation.

Dean Zharare, Sales Engineer for Underground Drilling at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, says the conventional blasting of slot raises often creates a bottleneck for mines.

“We have encountered situations where mine personnel have to return two or three times to a slot raise before it is ready, due to misfires, for instance,” Zharare said. “This creates a bottleneck in the mining process, reducing the monthly metres achieved.”

The mobility and drilling speed of the Rhino 100 can transform this scenario, he says, with an expectation that monthly metres drilled could improve by 65%. There is even the possibility that one of the units in South Africa will be operated remotely with the operator based on surface while it drills underground stopes.

Drilling holes of 750 mm in diameter, the Rhino 100 boasts penetration rates of about 2 m/h, more than double the rate of conventional methods, Sandvik claims. As important as the speed, Zharare says, is the reliability of the result.

“These larger holes make the blast much more reliable, avoiding any time consuming and dangerous redrilling in the event of a block ‘freezing’ after an unsuccessful blast,” he says.

Underpinning the machine’s mobility is its ability to carry its own components, including rods, cables, hydraulics and the raiseboring head. It is pulled by a specially adapted double-axle John Deere tractor. To optimise the set-up time – which can take as little as 10 minutes – it has outriggers for stability rather than needing a concrete pad to be poured. No roof bolting is required either, as an inclinometer gives the operator the necessary coordinates for a surveyor to confirm before drilling operations begin.

Since the Rhino 100 was launched 2017, it has achieved a strong global footprint, with over 20 units operating worldwide. Australia has seen particularly strong take-up, with one contractor already ordering four machines. Underground expansions at almost a dozen operations around southern Africa present exciting opportunities for the future of the Rhino 100 in this region, Zharare says.

The Rhino is manufactured by TRB-Raise Borers in Finland but is equipped with Sandvik tools and is distributed by Sandvik.

Master Drilling continues diversification plan in uncertain market

Master Drilling Group continued to add to its client and service base over the course of 2020, with bright spots reported in exploration drilling and the West Africa gold sector.

Its 2020 financials were hit by COVID-19, with revenue dropping 17% year-on-year to $123.1 million and operating profit declining to $12.3 million, from $24.1 million in 2019.

Danie Pretorius, CEO of Master Drilling, said: “Master Drilling’s overall performance for the year was weighed down by the weak global economic growth environment entering 2020, which was compounded by the material impact of COVID-19, across the 23 countries in which we operate, from a human, financial and operational perspective.

“Although the group experienced a significant decline in revenue in the South American operations, primarily due to government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions, this was offset by regions such as India, Africa and Scandinavia which remained operational and received various stimulus packages.”

Despite a decrease in revenue, the company’s net cash generation increased 72.7% to $25.5 million as it contained capital expenditure by balancing maintenance with emerging opportunities.

In the second half of the year, Master Drilling was awarded new exploration projects and mobilised an additional fleet to service existing clients, with a considerable turnaround in drilling and exploration activity becoming more apparent and creating a healthy pipeline, it said.

Around a year ago, Master Drilling fulfilled the conditions to acquire Geoserve Exploration Drilling, increasing the South Africa-based company’s ability to offer exploration drilling, reverse circulation drilling, geotechnical investigations and grade control drilling services.

Its commitment to Africa saw the continent become the largest contributor to the group in terms of revenue and profits over the course of the year. Aggressive expansion into West Africa continued as part of the group’s diversification strategy, with a specific focus on gold, which has seen a surge in demand since 2019.

Master Drilling also continued to grow its presence in new markets, including Australia, Russia and Central Asia. It secured new contracts with a focus on raiseboring and mechanised mining services, too.

As at December 31, 2020, Master Drilling’s sales pipeline totalled $539.9 million with a stable order book of $212.8 million (2019: $142.1 million).

“In the short to medium term, the sales pipeline is expected to normalise and increase with further tactical acquisitions and joint ventures supporting performance,” it said. “Opportunities to diversify outside of the traditional drilling business into areas such as artificial intelligence will also continue.”

Although capital has been tightly managed in response to the uncertain environment, Master Drilling says technological innovation remains a key priority for the company.

Aligned to this, Master Drilling announced a 40% investment in AVA Solutions, a specialist in data-driven mining fleet management solutions, this month.

Commenting on the investment, Pretorius said: “Our recent investment in AVA is aligned with our strategy to diversify our services and invest in businesses that help us meet our clients’ demand for increased mechanisation and digitisation. Other opportunities with low capital requirements and short return cycles are currently under review.”

He concluded on the annual results: “Although the shape of recovery remains uncertain, we have seen a turnaround in the past six months across the commodities and regions that we are already exposed to. Having made significant investments in our fleet, technology and geographical diversification over the past couple of years, we are now positioned to capitalise on the predicted commodities bull run without requiring additional capital investment.”

PYBAR takes the load off raisebore reamer removal underground

PYBAR, an equipment manufacturer and the team at Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia have developed a safe work methodology to remove large diameter raisebore reamers in an underground environment.

As the contractor says, the removal of raisebore reamers has traditionally been a hazardous, complex, costly and time-consuming process. Because of this, PYBAR saw a need to develop a safe work methodology to remove large diameter reamers in an underground environment.

Working with Carrapateena Mine and an equipment manufacturer, the SL100 Reamer Lifting Gantry system was developed.

The SL100 unit, based on the Enerpac SL100 lift and shift technology, is a track-mounted gantry system with hydraulic lifting units capable of lifting up to 80 t. The unit is operated remotely, removing employees from the shaft area during reamer lifts. When the reamer is lifted out of the shaft, the reamer is trammed away from the open shaft, which is then covered with a hole cover to create a safe working area.

PYBAR’s Raise Bore and Shaft Lining Manager, Phillip Viljoen, said: “PYBAR’s underground raisebore reamer removal system is a safety win for the raisebore industry, and we would be happy to share the methodology with anyone interested in a safer and more efficient way of removing large diameter reamers in an underground environment.”

The PYBAR underground reamer lifting gantry methodology has now been accepted as industry best practice, according to PYBAR, and sets the standard for removing large diameter reamers safely in an underground environment.

RUC Mining, Barminco keep Panoramic’s Savannah nickel restart plan on track

Panoramic Resources says underground development at the Savannah nickel project in Western Australia is moving ahead as planned, with both its raisebore contractor and contract miner striving towards the ASX-listed company’s first half 2021 restart goal.

In a progress update, the company said mining contractor, Barminco, had completed the 468 m horizontal underground development drive, connecting with the vertical ventilation shaft to complete Fresh Air Raise (FAR #3) development at Savannah North, in late September.

Since then, specialist raiseboring contractor, RUC Mining, has been setting up the raisebore rig on the surface and installing the reamer head at the 1675 RL, which was developed to intersect into the existing FAR #3 raise.

“This complicated and critical task was completed safely and efficiently as planned,” Panoramic said on October 19. “RUC is tasked with the FAR #3 back-reaming, which commenced over the weekend and expected to be completed in the March 2021 quarter.”

A total of 354 m will be back reamed at a diameter of 3.85 m, according to the company. This is planned to provide sufficient ventilation to support future full-scale mining operations from Savannah North in line with the Mine Plan released in late July.

Managing Director and CEO, Victor Rajasooriar, said: “We now have a firm foundation to recommence underground pre-production development next month, to complete ventilation works for Savannah North and complete areas of capital development to lay further groundwork for a potential restart of operations. This work will be concluded towards the end of the March quarter 2021 and we expect to be in a position where the project is capable of being restarted in the first half of 2021.”

The Savannah Mine Plan outlined a mine life of around 13 years, with the majority of ore sourced from the Savannah North orebody. Average annual production for years 1-12 would be 8,810 t of nickel, 4, 579 t of copper and 659 t of cobalt in concentrate, with all-in costs for these years of $5.27/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits.

Redpath hits Americas raiseboring pilot hole record in Quebec

Redpath Mining says its raiseboring division has recently completed a record 875.1 m pilot hole at an underground mining operation in Quebec, Canada.

The record-breaking hole, carried out with the Redbore 90EX raise drill, was completed well ahead of schedule and broke through with an accuracy of 0.03% (260 mm) over the length of the hole, Redpath said.

“With this first phase of the raise complete, Redpath Raiseboring strengthens its own record for longest pilot hole ever completed in the Americas,” the company said, explaining the previous record of 845 m, also held by Redpath Raiseboring, stood for over a decade.

Once complete, this 875.1 m raise will be the largest, by volume, raisebore ever excavated in the Americas, and third largest ever globally, according to the company.

“As with all records, this fresh America’s accomplishment is meant to be broken,” Redpath said. “Redpath Raiseboring is nearing completion of a 1,009 m pilot hole slated for breakthrough toward the end of September, also in Canada.”