A new piece of drilling equipment is having a positive production impact in Mount Isa.
Glencore contractor Pybar introduced a new Sandvik DL432i longhole drill in October 2020 which has led to month-on-month improvements in drilling productivity at the Black Rock copper-lead-zinc mine.
Versatile and compact, the Sandvik DL432i is a fully mechanised electro-hydraulic top hammer longhole drill, designed for large-scale mining.
The Sandvik iSOLO drilling control system allows Glencore to provide electronic drill plans on a USB, which is plugged straight into the drill. The operator then lines the drill up on the survey markings and selects the required drill design, with the remainder of the drilling taken care of by the iSOLO software.
Since the system arrived on site, Pybar have installed a specialised pump on the DL432i, allowing AMC (a subsidiary of IMDEX) to add a Bore Hole Stabiliser to the water circuit while drilling to improve hole integrity in the soft ground conditions.
Pybar said the technology, combined with Sandvik's iSOLO drilling control software, has been key to their production success at Black Rock..
"The ground conditions at Black Rock have put Sandvik's iSOLO drilling control system to the test, and the technology has proven itself with flying colours," Pybar said. "After several months of on-site refinement of the automated drilling system, the drill can now operate with minimal operator input."
This has led to month-on-month increases in production drilling rates with a record month in March, closely matched in April. This, in turn, has meant a significant increase in available production fronts resulting in increased tonnes and improved overall project performance.
Pybar said trials of automated drilling for complete firing patterns will begin at Black Rock soon to enable drilling to take place during firing and shift change, as well as free up the operator to assist with other tasks around the mine.
"The transition to further automation has the potential to significantly maximise both productive drilling time and overall performance for the project," Pybar said.
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