Tag Archives: raiseboring

Rhino raiseborer has Raising Australia reaming ahead, Sandvik says

The arrival of the Rhino 100 mobile raiseborer has seen Raising Australia, part of the Byrnecut Group, slash slot-raise production times, improve productivity for its customers and significantly increase its own revenue, according to Sandvik.

‘Slot raises’ play a crucial role in the development of many underground mines in Australia, Sandvik says. Created by raiseboring machines, these wide-diameter holes provide void spaces in the stope into which blasted ore can expand, improving fragmentation.

The problem is traditional raiseboring machines used to drill slot raises are cumbersome to transport and have high demands for labour and time, according to Sandvik. “It can take two to three days of preparation before drilling begins, resulting in potential bottleneck and delays in production.”

In 2014, a team from Raising Australia travelled to Finland to inspect the Rhino 100, developed by TRB-Raise Borers and distributed by Sandvik. Mounted on rubber tyres, the Rhino 100 could travel under its own power within a mine, required just one operator, and could begin boring within 45 minutes of arrival on site, Sandvik said.

Raising Australia initially went down the route of developing and trialling its own mobile raiseborer, but, in 2016, General Manager, Mark Hanigan, inspected the latest generation Rhino 100 and realised it was what the company needed, Sandvik said. After working with TRB to tweak the borer to allow for additional drilling angles, Raising Australia took delivery of its first Rhino in September 2017.

“That first Rhino went straight to [Saracen’s] Carosue Dam Operation, near Kalgoorlie, and it’s been there ever since,” Hanigan says. “The previous contractors were drilling 150 m/mth, and we have achieved up to 400-m-plus a month. Between October 2017 and December 2019, we drilled just under 5,000 m, so we’ve doubled their output.”

After the initial success, Raising Australia ordered another two Rhino 100s. The first arrived in August 2018 and was sent to Northern Star’s Jundee gold mine, in Wiluna, Western Australia. The next was delivered in October 2018 and has been a campaign machine, travelling to a range of customer sites. The company has since ordered a fourth and fifth machine, which are being delivered in 2020 and are expected to be immediately put to work on major mining projects, according to Sandvik.

One of these rigs was recently commissioned on a 36 m long hole at Gold Fields’ Invincible operation.

Hanigan says the impact of the Rhino 100 on Raising Australia’s business has been significant. “We have significantly increased our revenues since 2017 when we took delivery of the first Rhino, and we’re hoping the next two Rhinos will help us grow again,” he says.

“The benefits for our customers are also huge. It used to be drilling the slot rises that would hold up the development process. Now, they can bring the stope online when they want and not have to wait for the hole to be drilled.”

In fact, so fast is the process with the Rhino 100, one of the biggest challenges for Raising Australia has been convincing clients that it will live up to its promises, Hanigan says.

“Every time we get a new client, we will tell them how it works and what it delivers, and they will be sceptical. That’s until they actually see it and their minds are blown,” he said.

Jarko Salo, Managing Director for TRB-Raise Borers, says the positive experience of Raising Australia is common among Rhino 100 customers across the globe. In one case, a Brazil miner reported productivity gains of up more than 90% due to more efficient working techniques enabled by the raiseborer.

Salo attributes the success of the rig to the ground-up approach taken during development. The needs of underground miners inspired the creation of the first mobile raiseborer and TRB has continued to be responsive to feedback.

“Right from the beginning here in Finland we have listened very carefully to our customers and produced designs that fit their needs,” he says.

Mark Hanigan says the key advantages for Raising Australia are the time and labour savings the Rhino offers over conventional raiseborers. While it takes a team of two people between two and three days to prepare a traditional raiseborer for duty, a single operator can tram the Rhino into the mine and be drilling within a matter of minutes. As well as slot raises, the Rhino 100 can be used to drill ventilation shafts, drainage shafts, escapeway shafts, ore passes and back fills, according to Sandvik.

Another key advantage of the Rhino 100 is safety. With older-style raiseborers, the operator is generally in the open less than 5 m from the hole being drilled and must drill deep into the rock before erecting a muck chute, according to Sandvik.

“With the Rhino 100, the muck chute opens and closes,” Hanigan says. “You open it up, push through the rod, and when you’re ready to start drilling you can close the chute up. It covers the hole, stopping the dirt cuttings flying out and hitting the operator. The Rhino 100 also removes the exposure of the operator to the risk of flying debris as you’re 6-7 m away from the work area and operate from within a cab.”

Raising Australia has recently begun taking advantage of the plug-‘n’-drill feature of its Rhino rigs, according to Sandvik. This allows for the quick change of drilling modules to permit down-reaming or conventional raiseboring. The module attaches to the borer, allowing for drilling even when access to the lower level in not possible, according to Sandvik.

“We just finished the first hole with that module last week and it was magic,” Hanigan said recently. “It drilled a 1.1 m diameter escape way in one third of the time of a normal raised drill.”

Salo says he has been pleased to witness Raising Australia’s journey with the Rhino 100: “Raising Australia and Byrnecut showed great vision in understanding the competitive advantages that mobile raiseboring provides early on,” he says.

Master Drilling lays groundwork for record breaking hole

Master Drilling is set to break a drilling world record having recently commenced collaring for a 1,420 m pilot hole at a South Africa platinum mine.

The 4.6 m diameter hole is being sunk as part of an expansion project at the mine. It will help lead to the development of a rock hoisting shaft equipped with steelwork, according to Master Drilling.

Master Drilling said it was using its RD8 raisebore rig for the project. This rig, which has been operational since 2015 and used at various mine sites across South Africa, is capable of drilling 8.5 m in diameter and over 1,500 m deep, the company added.

The current construction schedule at the mine indicates the holing of the pilot during the first week of May 2020, some eight months from the collaring date.

The previous longest pilot drilled to date was 1,180 m, according to the company.

TERRATEC helps bring fresh air to Buriticá gold project

TERRATEC has celebrated the successful completion of a 300 m deep, 4.1 m diameter ventilation shaft at the Continental Gold-owned Buriticá gold project, in Colombia.

Peruvian mining contractor INCIMMET deployed a custom-built TR2000 Raise Boring Machine (RBM) to excavate the shaft in what TERRATEC said were challenging ground conditions. This put the machine through its paces during its first bore at the mine, the company said.

Located approximately two hours’ drive northwest of Medellin, Buriticá is a large high-grade gold deposit encompassing an area of about 75,000 ha in Antioquia. The mining complex, which is in the early stages of development, is Colombia’s first modern underground mine and was designated as a Project of National Strategic Interest by the Colombian government, in November 2015. When in production, it is expected to be Colombia’s largest gold mine, producing 253,000 oz/y of gold. First gold is expected by the end of the year, according to Continental.

TERRATEC said: “Arguably the biggest challenge for the mine development project is the area’s geology. Ground conditions at the Buriticá complex largely consist of andesite-porphyry, diorites and monzodiorites with intrusive hydrothermal gaps within the volcanic and sedimentary sequences. These mixed and fractured conditions provided a challenge both to the integrity of the reamer and the capability of this robust machine.”

Mineralised gaps, which are frequently associated with the development and alteration of clay minerals, required constant monitoring of the excavation and appropriate advance rates to provide good progress in this difficult terrain, according to the company.

“Not all raiseboring equipment is capable of working with such robustness in these conditions,” TERRATEC Regional Raiseboring Operations Manager, John Alejos, said. “Without doubt, this changing terrain is almost impossible to drill at such depths and such diameters. Only a team as strong as this, with the technical support of our on-site staff, is able to carry out such a task successfully and not without difficulties.”

Custom manufactured at TERRATEC’s workshop in Tasmania, Australia, the TR2000 RBM was designed for ease of operation and maintenance, while providing a high level of reliability. The unit is designed to “comfortably” execute raises of up to 500 m at 2.4 m diameter and larger ones up to 4.1 m diameter (of shorter depths), according to TERRATEC. It has a maximum pilot drilling torque of 42,000 Nm, a reaming torque of up to 209,000 Nm and breakout to 236,000 Nm. The maximum down thrust force is 665 kN with upthrust being 4,150 kN. The total installed power on the machine is 360 kW.

TERRATEC has numerous machines currently working in the Americas in Canada, USA, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina. These include the company’s entire range of vertical mining drilling equipment, including RBMs, Down-Reaming Machines and Box Holing Rigs, as well as a combination of these in the form of Universal Boring Machines.

Barminco and Sandvik in mobile raiseboring world first

Barminco, part of the Perenti Group, says it has become the first company globally to have taken delivery of a mobile raiseboring machine with uphole, downhole, and back reaming capability.

The hardrock underground mining services provider has been using Sandvik’s new Rhino 100 Mobile Raise Boring machine for 18 months in Ghana and three months in Australia, and has now added a module enabling back reaming capability to the machine.

The Rhino 100 is a fully mechanised and self-contained electro-hydraulic mobile raiseborer designed for slot raising in underground mining. Up until now, a back reaming module had not been used anywhere in the world on this rig, Barminco said.

Mick Radi, Barminco’s General Manager of Mining, said the new module – which had already been deployed at AngloGold Ashanti Sunrise Dam gold mine, in Western Australia – would enable safe, efficient upward and downward drilling providing maximum flexibility for clients.

“We are thrilled Barminco is offering a world first for our clients. The new plug and play back reaming module gives us the capability to quickly change from an uphole slotting machine to a conventional back reaming raisebore machine,” he said.

“The mobile carrier enables the Rhino to be totally self sufficient with no requirement for other fleet to assist in rig moves. Fast set up times and high drilling productivity is helping us to derisk our clients production plans and increase the certainty of meeting targets.”

Radi said the company had been successful using our Rhino 100 Mobile Raise Boring machine on its client’s sites in the Goldfields region of Western Australia and its plan was to keep the machine in this region where there is demand for this capability.

“The addition of this new module is just one of many ways Barminco is providing innovative solutions for clients, such as AngloGold Ashanti,” he said. “We have been working with AngloGold for 14 years and by providing this new capability we are helping them improve their operations to be even more efficient and safe.”

Bryan Watson, Manager Mining from AngloGold Ashanti, said the module was already making a significant difference on site.

“This new piece of equipment saves us time, is safer, and will assist us achieving production targets at Sunrise Dam,” Watson said. “We appreciate Barminco’s approach to working with us as a client to help us achieve more efficiencies on site.”

The down drilling module drills a pilot hole at 279 mm, up to a depth of 200 m. This can then be reamed to a diameter of 660 mm or back reamed to a diameter of 1.06 m. Back reaming can be achieved to a depth of 100 m with hole angles at a maximum of  15° dump, and 30° to either side from vertical.

The setup time for the machine is two hours, compared with a three to four day set up for a conventional raiseboring machine.

Master Drilling continues down technology path amid global uncertainty

Master Drilling Group included details of its remote drilling technology, commissioning of the Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB) and the first phase of its shaft boring system development within its latest financial results release.

Reporting “reasonable results” for the six months ended June 30, 2019, which included a 3.8% year-on-year increase in revenue to $70 million and a 5.6% jump in headline earnings per share, the company’s CEO, Danie Pretorius, said Master Drilling had worked hard on stabilising new operations and growing its presence in new territories.

“In the face of continued uncertainty and volatility, which has inevitably impacted on business performance, we have remained committed to our strategic journey of diversifying our presence across geographies, commodities and sectors,” he said, adding that the company saw new business opportunities in Russia and Australia.

Even with only a slight increase in earnings and revenue, Master Drillings new business pipeline encompassing all geographies remained “solid” at $297.1 million, the company said. Its order book totalled $198.6 million at the end of the period.

Pretorius added: “While political and economic factors continue to shape our operating environment, at Master Drilling we continue to spearhead technological development, stabilise our global footprint and explore new business opportunities. As a result, the business remains stable and well positioned to benefit from an improved global economic climate.”

Master Drilling, one of the largest rock boring and drilling services providers in the world, spends the bulk of its capital spend on capacity expansion, some of which has begun to yield positive results, such as remote drilling technology, the company said.

“Having completed testing of this (remote drilling) technology in South Africa, Master Drilling has successfully implemented it in Mexico and Peru,” the company said. The test in South Africa took place 3 km underground at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng gold mine, the world’s deepest gold mine. This saw a raisebore machine operated remotely.

Meanwhile, the commissioning of the MTB at Northam Platinum’s Eland mine, in South Africa, is currently underway, with underground drilling having already commenced, the company said. This follows testing at a quarry just outside of Rome, Italy, last year.

The first phase of the company’s shaft boring system – a new shaft sinking system (reported on in the annual shaft sinking feature in IM September 2019) – is also in the process of commissioning, the company said.

“This bears testament to Master Drilling’s unwavering commitment to technology development and testing, which will continue to be a key focus during the remainder of 2019,” the company concluded.

LKAB set to test Epiroc Easer rig at Konsuln

LKAB says it is getting ready to test Epiroc’s Easer L raiseboring rig at its Konsuln test mine this month as part of the Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project it is taking part in.

The mobile rig is set to start work this month, with LKAB being Epiroc’s first customer in Europe to use it, according to Carlos Quinteiro, a specialist with LKAB’s Mining Engineering department.

Designed to drill opening holes in block cave, sub level caving and sub level stoping mines, the Easer L can also be used for precondition holes, paste fill tube holes and media holes. The rig works in drifts from 4.7 x 4.7 to 6 x 6 m. When drilling with a 750 mm diameter reamer, the Easer L can drill conventional holes up to 200 m and box holes and down reaming holes up to 60 m, according to Epiroc. It also has the capability to drill angled holes in any direction with a minimum range of 90°–60° from horizontal.

Quinteiro, who is also the Project Manager for the SUM subproject 1, said: “The rig can drill opening holes up to a maximum of 60 m. “We will start by test drilling 40-50 m and then evaluate the results.”

The drill rig will initially be used at level 436 in the Konsuln mine, which is the first level that has an increased sublevel height – of a total of 40 m.

“With an increased sublevel height, we have to be able to drill longer opening holes than our existing rigs can handle,” explained Quinteiro.

A number of different tests will be carried out to check LKAB’s quality and productivity requirements, the iron ore miner said. “Only after an acceptance test has been performed will a decision be made on whether Easer L can be used in production at Konsuln.”