Tag Archives: reverse circulation

Orica acquires Wallis Drilling’s RIG Technologies RC logging while drilling business

Wallis Drilling says it has sold its RIG Technologies Reverse Circulation Logging While Drilling (LWD) business to explosives and blasting systems leader, Orica.

The RIG Technologies business includes, downhole behind-the-hammer geophysics sensors (gamma-ray and gyro), drill rig-based sensor platforms and a cloud-based data management system.

Wallis and RIG Technologies commenced as a joint venture in 2016, with Wallis acquiring the entire business in 2019.

Wallis says it successfully grown RIG Technologies and invested in the ongoing development of its LWD capabilities and associated products. At this point, the product suite is in the early phase of commercialisation and is being used by large resource companies, the company added.

The transaction delivers Wallis a solid return on its investment and provides significant upside sales exposure over the next five years under Orica stewardship, Wallis said.

Following the sale, RIG Technologies now forms part of Orica’s orebody intelligence category, within its digital solutions portfolio, alongside its recent acquisition of Hopper Industrial Group, a group of geophysics companies that specialise in mining and groundwater technologies and services.

RIG Technologies personnel, including 33 engineers, technical and field staff, will integrate into Orica. The business will continue to be led by original Partner and Director, Tim Hopper, with its operational and manufacturing activities remaining in Western Australia.

Wallis said: “RIG Technologies will independently continue to develop and deliver world-leading instrumentation and cloud-based technologies to help the mining industry obtain real-time geophysical and LWD data.”

Wallis and RIG Technologies will retain a five-year technical partnership to ensure continued testing and real-time deployment of the tools and other associated products in a field operating environment, it added.

Wallis Drilling Chairman, Graeme Wallis, said the sale enabled RIG Technologies to leverage its first-mover advantage and is overwhelmingly the best option for all stakeholders.

“The timing is right given where we have positioned the RIG Technologies business,” he said. “Orica has the financial resources, global customer base and distribution network to market and scale its product suite.

“For Wallis, the sale allows us to increase the rate of investment in our main drilling business. In recent years, strong organic growth has been accelerated by the design, manufacture and deployment of our leading range of Wallis RC and Mantis autonomous drill rigs.”

Wallis Drilling CEO, Mark Crumby, added: “Wallis has a successful history of innovation and commercialising new technologies for the mining industry. The development of RIG Technologies’ product suite, and its subsequent sale to Orica, is another example of this success.”

(Photo Credit: ‘csfoto – Christian Sprogoe photographer’)

Capital Drilling solidifies safety commitment with new Epiroc Explorac RC rig

Capital Drilling says it has added a brand new Epiroc Explorac 235 reverse circulation drilling rig to its exploration line up in Mali.

The contractor, which is currently carrying out drilling contracts for the likes of Altus Strategies/Glomin, Hummingbird Resources and Resolute Mining in Mali, said the new rig features fully radio remote-controlled operation and pipe handling.

Epiroc says the Rig Control System, or RCS, with radio remote allows for these tasks to be carried out.

Such facilities keep the crews up to 40 m from the operating rig and remove manual rod handling – “these features further support our company’s strong commitment to keeping our employees safe”, Capital Drilling said.

The on-board 35 bar compressor on the rig also provides capacity to drill to depths up to 450 m, it added.

Epiroc says the rig comes with a maximum torque of 14,000 Nm, a rod length of 6 m and a pull force of 220 kN.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub uncovers a fraction of processing value

Extensive testing conducted by a Kalgoorlie, Western Australia-based research hub has found Western Australian Goldfields mine sites can add value to their operations by focusing on small size fractions.

In recent decades, the primary driver to maximise profitability of mining operations has been to mine and process as much material as possible to exploit economies of scale. This has led to bigger equipment, higher throughput and greater production, but not necessarily efficient use of resources.

With the concerns of declining grades, more complex orebodies, greater haulage distances, higher energy costs and water usage, any approach that can alleviate the impact of these issues is highly desirable.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub recently explored use of a pre-concentration technique known as “Grade by Size Deportment”.

“This technique exploits the propensity for some ores to exhibit preferential breakage leading to concentration of minerals in specific size fractions,” it explained.

Several sites within the Goldfields region of WA showed significant potential for separation by size to provide value to their operations, according to the hub. This is particularly the case where either marginal grades are present or growing distances from face to surface, or, from mine to mill, are subject to increasing transport costs, it said.

Research and test work by the hub show that natural grade by size deportment during coarse rock breakage and screening is a key lever for generating high-value coarse separation, it said. This, in turn, can drive better productivity and returns for mine operators.

The Kal Hub, established in 2018 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), enables focused collaboration between researchers; mining equipment, technology and services suppliers; and mining companies to unlock value for Australian mining through technology development.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said: “In a short amount of time, the hub has been able to bring together some of the most innovative people in industry and research, enabling collaborative innovation to occur.

“This collaboration is good for the Goldfields, and for the wider mining industry, as it demonstrates the benefits mine sites can experience by deploying various aspects of Grade Engineering®, including grade-by-size deportment.”

Grade Engineering is a system-based methodology developed by CRC ORE designed to reject low value material early in the extraction value chain and pre-concentrate processing plant feed. A key lever for successful Grade Engineering is grade-by-size deportment, the hub said.

The Kal Hub Technical Advisor, Dr Laurence Dyer, said the objective of the Grade-by-Size Deportment project was to undertake initial representative sample testing to determine natural deportment Response Rankings at a range of deposits in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region.

“This project provided an introduction for industry participants to Grade Engineering and an indication of potential opportunities that grade-by-size deportment may present,” Dr Dyer said.

“A number of companies came on board and we were able to obtain diamond drill core and reverse circulation (RC) drilling samples from a variety of sites in the Goldfields to crush, screen and assay to develop a snapshot of responses to this approach.”

Samples were crushed where necessary and screened into up to six size fractions, with a finer set of screens used for the RC samples to accommodate the difference in particle size distribution.

As expected, gold sites displayed significant variation in response, while all nickel sites tested showed significant upgrade in the finer fractions of both nickel and cobalt, the hub said.

“RC samples were a compelling sample option due to their prevalence and self-preparation for screening, however there remains a question as to the legitimacy of the results they generate,” it added.

Dr Dyer said: “Gold samples produced varied data with the majority of sites producing low to moderate upgrades on average.

“The RC samples generated greater variation and often decreased in grade at the finest size fractions, likely due to particles being below liberation size, creating issues with the response ranking fit.”

The Kal Hub research also showed nickel produced far more consistent behaviour with all sites producing moderate to high responses for both nickel and cobalt. While for some samples the nickel and cobalt response rankings matched well, in others, the nickel upgraded significantly better, it said.