Engineering & Mining Journal

MAR 2017

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 33 of 67

SURFACE DRILLING 32 E&MJ • MARCH 2017 ported. In the plant, uniform material size facilitates crushing for optimum through- put and lower energy costs. The system, in general, boosts produc- tivity and cuts operating costs, the com- pany reported. Additionally, uniformity of processes reduces component wear and therefore slashes the cost of consumables. Miners will see "less damage due to acci- dents during manual operation, lower fu- el-burn, consistent operation and output, better tooling life, and holes drilled to bet- ter precision," Scott said. Bottom line is the rig empowers op- erators to more easily meet metrics mile- stones, he said. "Ground conditions and formation will constantly change, cutting tools will wear, plus ambient and climat- ic conditions will fluctuate, but the push to hit production targets will always re- main the same," Scott said. "With the MD6420C the driller has a backstop with Lower gold prices forced Ajax Mining to look more closely at efficiency im- provements at its operation in Alaska. "By updating our machinery and op- timizing our processes, we increased production and decreased costs," said Kim Ferguson, owner, Ajax Mining. "Ajax Mining's success ultimately de- pends on reliable and accurate geo- logical data. This enables predictable and environmentally conscious produc- tion where only viable deposits are dis- turbed and processed." Like Ajax, many mining contractors are looking for ways to increase pro- ductivity and decrease costs. As mining markets improve, the temptation to rush through processes, such as exploratory drilling, pre-expansion investigations and thorough planning for new tailings stor- age facilities (TSFs) will likely increase. Regardless of the specific application, whether it is the initial investigative work or monitoring the situation after the fact, sonic drilling could be an effective, effi- cient and safe option. The crawler-mounted TSi 150C Sonic Drill Rig can drill up to 1,000 ft depend- ing upon the lithology and casing design. The vibration of the drill string liquefies the surrounding soil matrix reducing fric- tion and resistance. When rock or other hard layers are encountered, the sonic en- ergy pulverizes the outer edge of the bore while preserving a solid core for accurate mineral analysis. Sonic drill rigs usually can drill three to five times and sometimes 10 times faster than conventional rigs. This trans- lates to less time on site, more production and fewer mobilizations to the field. These units are uniquely suited for exploratory work because it can create in situ core samples for analysis. The pre- cision nature of the drilling and the ease with which the drill string passes through the substrate helps ensure the core sam- ple will be preserved. Additionally, be- cause sonic rigs can drill straight with little or no deviation, the location of the ore deposits is accurately determined. A Sonic Drill Rig can reduce investi- gative derived waste (IDW) by as much as 80% in comparison to more conventional drilling methods. Along with the obvious benefit of minimizing overall impact on a site's surrounding environment, reduced IDW also translates into cost and time savings, which can be differentiators on a project. While it is an attractive alternative for core retrieval and exploratory drilling, it can also be used for angle drilling and can shift to split spoons, Shelby tubes, and/or rock coring as the site conditions and project objectives warrant. The TSi 150C specifically offers the benefit of a track mounting, so areas that may be difficult for other types of drill rigs can be accessed with significantly more ease. And, it can drill a completely straight borehole, according to the manufacturer. Ajax is one company that will be turn- ing to sonic technology from Terra Sonic International in 2017. "We have been considering alternative drills for sever- al years," Ferguson noted. "The sam- ple quality and ability to quickly drill a wide variety of materials i.e., permafrost, thawed and water saturated gravels makes sonic drilling well-suited to our projects. After considering multiple manufactur- ers, Terra Sonic was our final choice due to their excellent customer support and knowledgeable staff. We were able to tour their factory and were impressed with the quality of the build and work that went into each rig. We are eager to take deliv- ery of our new rig and are confident it will help strengthen our exploration process and consequently improve our overall success." Ajax is investing in a TSi 150C Sonic Drill Rig Assessing TSFs While sonic drilling can help companies like Ajax save money and time, it is also ideal for the assessment of mining sites for both safety and profitability. Over the last few years, the failure of mine tailings dams has become an all-too- common occurrence and has caused a An Attractive Exploratory Alternative: Sonic Drilling Unveiled at MINEXPO and pictured here, the 77xD's boxer style helps with cycle time efficiencies, Matt Collins, prod- uct manager, drills, says. 'We are finding the mast offers exceptional strength and stability, standing up to high levels of torsional loading,' he says. 'The design also includes a lightweight carriage with dual pinion engagement that allows the mast to hoist and lower with full string engaged and carriage positioned at the top of the mast.'

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