Raisebore operator and manufacturer Redpath first brought over the world’s most powerful raise drill to Perth last year.
But not a single hole was drilled as the company’s contract with its client fell through.
Now, the raise drill package has been placed in an underground mining site in South Australia to begin work on its first job in Australia.
Redpath’s general manager of Raiseboring, Allan Brady refused to divulge details of the mine or the company that is looking after it, saying he is locked into confidentiality agreements, only saying it is a huge underground mine in South Australia. The raise drill is best suited for underground and civil projects where underground access is available.
The Redbore 100, designed by mining contractor Redpath, boasts of being the most powerful, proven raise bore package. Featuring the latest drill rod technology, it is capable of 3.5 million pounds of thrust and up to 750,000 foot pounds of rotational torque.
“The thrust is like a million pounds more than the next competitor,” Brady told Australian Mining.
“With the package comes the state-of-the-art drill strength and the state-of-the-art raise bore head.”
In the right conditions, this means it can drill an eight metre diameter raise and up to a depth of 1000 metres, more than any other tested raise drill.
Brady said Macmahon has a bigger rig.
The RBR 900VF from Macmahon is capable of five million pounds of thrust, with the ability to drill an eight metre diameter raise up to a depth of 2000
Macmahon has been working with German manufacturer Herrenknecht over a two-year period to develop the RBR 900VF.
But Brady said it is still untested and unproven.
The Rebore 100 is a proven package as it has worked in Canada, he added.
The raise drill uses mounted cameras or webcams, and diagnostic equipment that constantly monitor the drill’s performance. A raisebore technician in Canada can see the diagnostics of a working drill anywhere in the world via Internet, in real time.
According to Brady the equipment has its own IP address, which means technicians can access the program in the rig and pinpoint the problems. They can assist technicians on the ground from their seats in Canada.
“It saves money and it saves down time as well as they can see it live, because they’ve got webcams on the machine as well,” Brady said.
“So they’re able to look at the computer diagnostics, they’re able to look at the rig and they’re able to see how it’s going. So I can log on and I can have a look to see what the rig is doing right now.”
This eliminates the need to fly out technicians to remote mine sites for technical difficulties. While oil rigs have this feature, Brady said the Redbore 100 is the only raise drill to have this remote monitoring technology.
The company has also looked at power efficiency while designing the Redbore 100. The raise drill operates on a third of the power of smaller raise drills.
Its variable speed drive computer-aided drilling system lets each drill rod be torqued to the exact amount. This allows for smoother operation. It prevents over torque to the drill pipe and means expensive reaming heads are not lost.
Three companies jointly built the raise drill package. While Redpath designed and built the rig, Mining Technology International built the drill string and Atlas Copco built the raise bore head.
Redpath built the rig in North Bay, Canada. The package was shipped to Australia in September last year using more than 50 shipping containers to carry the rig and the drill rods.
It was transported to South Australia in the middle of May this year. Moving the 80-tonne rig from Perth to South Australia was a mammoth task that required 60 trailers and the closure of the Great Eastern Highway.
The company also had to get Western Power involved to lift some power lines to transport the rig.
“It took quite in-depth consultation with both the WA Main Roads Department and Western Power, because the Redbore 100 took up the whole road,” Brady said.
“It’s not every day a major highway has to be closed – it was a mammoth operation by all involved.”
The rig was hauled as a single entity and a single unit for speedy transportation.
“There was a mile of traffic behind it while the rig took up the highway,” Brady said.
“We then had to move the auxiliary equipment, rods and everything.”
This is the tenth raise bore to be brought into Australia, Brady said. The company intends to grow gradually and
bring in another five over the next three years.
“You’ll definitely see more raise bores,” he said.
“I don’t think you’ll see the size of these machines. So it’s pretty specialised in the size of the holes it can do. It’s a lot of mobilisation to bring a rig this size into the country.”
The Redbore 100 will operate all over the world as required when its work finishes in Australia. It has had enquiries from Indonesia, Russia and Chile.