Tag Archives: underground drilling

Boart Longyear drills deeper with new underground diamond coring rig offering

Boart Longyear has announced the launch of a new LM Deephole underground drilling rig that, it says, builds off the LM110 and Nitro-Chuck™ platforms with the addition of a new PQ drill head.

The drill will allow for a 50% increase in drilling depth for NQ size.

As with all LM drills, the rig can be operated with remote control through the DCi™ (Drill Control Interface) and supplied with a rod handler for enhanced safety. This, Boart Longyear says, drastically reduces the driller’s exposure to potential hand injuries, one of the biggest risks for a drilling operator.

When paired together, drillers can use semi-autonomous drill routines over breaks and shift changes which have been found to increase productivity of up to 14%, according to the company.

Erik Gaugh, Product Manager at Boart Longyear, said: “I’m very excited about this rig. It combines established product platforms with several of our new technologies to deliver our customers what they want.”

Swick Mining and DDH1 Ltd to combine surface and underground drilling offering

Swick Mining Services and DDH1 Ltd have agreed in-principle terms to combine their businesses to create, they say, a global scale mineral drilling business with a balance of surface and underground services.

The conditional, non-binding indicative proposal is part of a planned all-scrip transaction where Swick shareholders would receive 0.2970 DDH1 shares for each Swick share held.

The proposed transaction values Swick’s Drilling Business at an enterprise value of A$115 million ($84.1 million). After deducting Swick’s planned A$12 million Orexplore investment and the net debt within the Drilling Business, the remaining equity value of A$99.3 million equates to the offer value of approximately $0.35 per Swick share.

Swick and DDH1 offer complementary drilling services and expertise, with long established successful track records working with a wide range of exploration and mining companies, they say.

“There is merit in a merger of the two companies, both in terms of cost synergies and scale benefits,” they added. “The combination is expected to realise meaningful synergies over time, with both sets of shareholders able to benefit due to the all-scrip consideration.”

The combination of the two Western Australia-based businesses will have a balance of surface (circa-60%) and underground (circa-40%) drilling from a combined fleet of 170-plus rigs, which generated approximately A$445 million in revenue and A$103 million in EBITDA in the 2021 financial year to June 30, 2021.

The proposed transaction is conditional on, among other things, negotiation of a binding Scheme Implementation Agreement between the parties, which is expected to occur shortly. The transaction is then expected to complete following the completion of the Orexplore demerger – anticipated to occur after a shareholder vote expected in December.

Swick’s Chairman, Andrew Simpson, said: “A combination of two market leading Australian drilling business – Swick and DDH1 – makes strategic sense and combines high quality, experienced expertise in underground and surface drilling. For Swick shareholders, the proposed transaction will enable them to benefit from their ownership in the enlarged group, while also realising value of the Orexplore business in the form of a new ASX listing.”

Swick’s Managing Director, Kent Swick, added: “We have grown Swick to become the largest underground drilling contractor in Australia with a market leading position, defined by solid margins and established top-tier clients throughout the years both in Australia and internationally.

“There is a strong commercial logic in combining the DDH1 and Swick businesses and being able to offer our customers a complete range of high quality and innovative mineral drilling services from the discovery phase, through to mining and completion. I am very proud that the team at Swick have built a business that has been recognised and valued by another high-quality peer.

“While the transaction is conditional, and there are still additional steps to undertake, the board will continue to act in the best interests of Swick shareholders.”

Pit N Portal equips refurbed Sandvik UG rig with Minnovare Production Optimiser

Emeco-owned Pit N Portal says it has recently rolled out a freshly rebuilt Sandvik DL421 underground drill rig equipped with Minnovare’s Production Optimiser™ technology for use at the Marvel Loch gold operations in Western Australia.

The 10-week build at Pit N Portal’s purpose-built complex in Perth, Western Australia harnessed the collective skills of its specialist tradespeople, headed up by Phil Lipscomb, Workshop Manager.

In addition to the complete overhaul, the unit was fitted with Production Optimiser, which improves drilling accuracy, speed and QA/QC – resulting in optimal drilling patterns and improved stope performance, Pit N Portal said. “The flow-on benefits to the mine include reduced average dilution, increased recovery (reduced bridging) and a faster stope cycle time.”

The Sandvik DL421 is an electro-hydraulic, longhole drill rig engineered for large-scale production drilling in underground mines. It is designed for vertical and inclined plane rings and fans, as well as parallel long production holes and long single holes with a diameter of 64-115 mm, and a depth of up to 54 m, Sandvik says.

Epiroc commits to ‘next generation’ of underground mining with new Boomer M20

Epiroc has taken what Niklas Berggren, Global Product Manager for Face Drilling Equipment, says is the next logical development step in underground face drilling design by creating a new Boomer with protected hydraulics, sensors and cables.

The Epiroc Boomer M20 is designed and built to minimise unplanned stops and maximise uptime and performance in highly demanding operations by removing what is thought to be the biggest downtime drain in underground face drilling – the need to stop production for hose changes.

Epiroc explains: “A challenging part of underground work is the everyday wear and tear on hydraulic hoses. Falling rocks and debris, and the continuous wear against the tunnel floor and walls, means constant hose repairs.”

The Boomer M20’s heavy duty hose-less boom design minimises unplanned stops for hose repairs, keeping the rig up and running even in the toughest conditions, the company said.

Developed in close collaboration with key customers, the Boomer M20 is the result of extensive research and real-world testing, according to Berggren.

“This is the perfect choice for mining houses and contractors that want to out-drill the competition through innovation,” he said.

High drilling precision and performance are ensured thanks to on-board automation features, tele-remote capabilities and digital drill plans, which give higher reliability and quality of the full drill cycle, Epiroc claims.

By utilising high performance mine development options, such as Epiroc’s ABC Regular for longer rounds, higher accuracy, reduced overbreak and better quality tunnels, the Boomer M20 allows the operator to adjust and download drill plans directly at the face, eliminating the need for adjustments on the surface, Epiroc says.

“With digital drill plan handling, drill rounds will be longer, more precise and give far less overbreak,” Berggren said. “We have seen total cost savings of up to 25% and up to a 40% productivity increase.”

He added: “This is a very well-functioning option; on the Boomer M20, we have reinforced the technology on the face drilling rig itself so that we can utilise this option better in a harsh mining environment.”

The Boomer M20 is designed with safety at its core.

Through tele-remote capabilities, operators can drill from a safe distance away from hazardous areas at the tunnel face, while also keeping production going over shift changes. Multi-functional joysticks mean operators can always keep their eyes on the task. The cabin, reinforced with noise and vibration dampening materials to keep noise levels as low as 65 db, meanwhile, is designed for optimum visibility.

The safe bolting platform is another great safety feature that avoids operation under unsupported rock.

Such options set the Boomer M20 up to “take the lead for face drilling automation features into the future”, Berggren said.

Epiroc is continuing its charge towards electrification in underground mining with the new Boomer M20, providing a battery-electric driveline option to allow the machine to tram to the drill location on battery power and carry out drilling while plugged into the mine’s electrical infrastructure.

“A battery-powered Boomer M20 brings additional savings on health, maintenance, ventilation and cooling,” Epiroc said.

Berggren added: “With the on-board charger, the operator does not need to plan for charging as it automatically takes place while connected to the grid for drilling. Thanks to the high-capacity battery, the Boomer M20 has a fantastic driving range, and there is nothing to disturb the drift cycle.”

Epiroc President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, who stars in a campaign video for the Boomer M20 that sees the face drill balancing on its booms on a mountain top, said: “The Boomer M20 is another great example of how we make a difference through innovation.”

The Boomer M20 is available for commercial sales in the September quarter of 2021, and will shortly head to a customer site in Australia for tests, followed by trials at customer sites in Spain and Sweden.

Epiroc says it plans to rollout the new internal hydraulics design across the future Boomer range.

Barminco to debut Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M in the Goldfields of Western Australia

Barminco says it has become the first company in the world to debut the new generation of Epiroc’s Mobile Carrier Rig (MCR) – the GEN 2 Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M.

This second-generation underground mobile core drill rig uses the drilling capacity of the Diamec Smart 6 automated operating system, and the mobility and sturdiness of the S2 Boomer carrier with the addition of Epiroc’s automated rod handler, the contractor said.

Epiroc says the the Diamec Smart 6M combines the best of two worlds – the high productivity and accuracy of a Diamec core drilling rig, with the mobility of a robust carrier designed for underground use.

The Rod Handling System, coupled with the Smart 6 Rig Control System, allows for full automation, increasing operator safety and productivity, according to Barminco.

The company said: “Combining Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology of their drilling and rod handling operating systems brings the underground drilling industry a step closer to having ‘no hands on steel’ and taking a giant step forward towards a safer environment for the operators.”

The contractor is due to commission the rig next month at a client site in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

Barminco added: “The addition of the Epiroc GEN 2 MCR to our state-of-the-art fleet supports our Diamond Drill team to Enable Tomorrow, work Smarter Together and take No Shortcuts. Following these Barminco Principles will help create a safer environment for our people and will assist our client in consistently achieving production targets.”

Swick Mining Services goes all-in on underground drilling

Swick Mining Services has decided to sell its surface drilling business and concentrate on underground mining in a move Managing Director, Kent Swick, says is a logical step for the company “aligned with our strategy”.

The Surface Reverse Circulation (RC) Drilling business is being sold to K-Drill Pty Ltd and K-Drill Equipment Pty Ltd.

The sale includes six surface RC rigs, associated equipment, inventory, personnel and contracts, with the transaction expected to complete in the March quarter of 2021.

Including the recent sale of a number of residual RC assets to other parties, Swick will receive total proceeds for its RC business and assets of around A$6.4 million ($4.8 million) in cash and will report a profit on sale of some A$1.2 million before tax, it said.

K-Drill is a new RC drilling company that will be specialising in providing high quality, safe and productive drilling solutions to the Australian mining industry, Swick said. It will be building on the foundations set by Swick and will be led by Managing Director, Brendan O’Shea, who is Swick’s current Business Development Manager.

The Surface RC Drilling business provides reserve definition and exploration drilling to clients and its sale enables Swick to focus on its core Underground Diamond (UD) Drilling business; a 70-rig fleet providing reserve definition and grade control drilling at producing mines. This business represents 96% of annual revenue, Swick says.

O’Shea said: “This opportunity will allow K-Drill to focus completely on surface drilling and we are pleased to provide clients with peace of mind in knowing that we will be bringing all current Swick RC employees and Swick’s existing robust operating systems to K-Drill, ensuring a smooth transition for existing clients.”

After the disposal of the RC division, Swick’s drilling revenue will be generated entirely by the company’s UD Drilling division. This division drills around 100,000 m/mth of core across four countries – Australia, USA, Portugal and Spain. It is on track to deliver a forecasted revenue of A$68-$70 million, with utilisation remaining strong with 13 rigs operating internationally, 25 in Western Australia (including two DeepEX rigs) and 20 across the rest of Australia in December 2020.

On top of the Surface RC drilling business sale, and in response to increased market demand, Swick has agreed to manufacture and sell its “world-class” GenII mobile drill rigs, it said. These rigs are the smallest footprint, but highest-powered mobile drill available on the market, according to Swick, with many unique features including a “world-class automation package”.

Four GenII rigs are currently under construction for two large global drilling contractors for use outside of Australia, Swick said.

In response to increased demand for drill rigs from both Swick’s in-house drilling division and expected interest by external customers, Swick is gearing up its engineering facility at its South Guildford, Western Australia headquarters, to meet this demand, it said.

Swick Engineering has appointed an experienced senior mechanical engineer for the role of Production Manger that will manage the engineering business and oversee the efficient builds and rebuilds of the GenII drills.

Epiroc brings Powerbit tophammers to underground mining sector

Epiroc says it is unleashing a new power in the underground drilling industry with the launch of its Powerbit Underground tophammers.

These drill bits have been designed to match the capacity of the latest technology in drill rigs and offer a higher penetration rate, longer service life and more drill meters per day, according to the company. “It will boost the productivity of both new and older rigs – allowing customers to capitalise more on their rig investment,” Epiroc said.

Back in 2016, Atlas Copco Secoroc (now part of Epiroc) launched its Powerbit tophammer drill bits for surface drilling, which were built to take on any rock, from hard to soft, and from abrasive to non-abrasive.

Epiroc says the Powerbit Underground has by far outperformed all standard bits during substantial testing carried out around the world, resulting in remarkable productivity improvement.

Johan Thenór, Product Line Manager for Tophammer Products at Epiroc, said: “The new bit averaged 37% more drill meters before being discarded, peaking at a whopping 82% in one test round! No doubt, we’re setting a new productivity standard for underground mining.”

The tests show a higher penetration rate and longer intervals between regrinds, so miners will benefit from more trouble-free, uninterrupted drilling, according to the company.

Thenór added: “At the end of the day, it’s about getting maximum capacity from your drill rig, and we are sure customers will be happy to see what Powerbit Underground can deliver.”

Powerbit Underground is a firm response to market demand for a bit that matches the high drilling speeds enabled by ever-stronger rigs and rock drills. With that said, it will prove just as game-changing for customers using older rigs with lower water pressure, if not more, according to the company.

Epiroc said: “Every miner can look forward to a bit with a higher penetration rate and longer service life. This will improve their productivity and reduce their cost per meter drilled.”

The leading productivity is partly explained by the bit’s optimised flushing capacity, according to Robert Arnoldsson, Senior Product Specialist, Tophammer Products at Epiroc. “The hole configuration maximises flushing efficiency, which is key to the high penetration rate,” he said.

More innovative features combine to give the bit the leading position in underground drilling today, Arnoldsson added.

“We used our hardest steel ever and we configured the bit’s face in such a way that it removes cuttings faster than ever before. Therefore, drillers can make the most out of their rigs and achieve a whole new penetration capability,” he said.

Customers will also be making their acquaintance with Trubbnos, Epiroc’s new and innovative trapezoid-shaped buttons, which increase penetration rate and service life compared with conventional, semi-ballistic buttons, the company said.

Thenór concluded: “Since the bit’s performance is crucial to the rig’s ability to penetrate rock fast, customers can look forward to a new product that will greatly improve drilling efficiency.”