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First edition 2010 www.atlascopco.com
There is always a better way
At Atlas Copco, our focus on customer productivity requires a steadfast commitment to continuous improvement — and finding solutions. It may be a design innovation to our surface and underground drill rigs, in-hole tools or diamond products. More efficient distribution may be made possible through new ways of thinking. Or a customer’s productivity will be enhanced through customized on-site service and training. Because we listen, we understand. Because we are more engaged, we will always find a better way.
2 Foreword by Daniel Misiano
Marketing Manager Exploration Atlas Copco Geotechnical Drilling and Exploration
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Trends in exploration Geology for exploration and mining Prospecting and exploration for minerals In search of the right balance An introduction to Reverse Circulation drilling Reverse circulation drilling with new hammer concept Four decades of Diamec core drilling rigs Selecting the right coring bit Efficient core recovery Hydraulic and mechanical surface drill rigs Keep the rig and business running
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Confirming the future of Zambian copper Atlas Copco exploration rigs prove reserves Excore optimizes performance for Drillcorp New record depth for CS14 core drilling rig Grade Control at Kemi Mine Reverse circulation drilling in Australia Diamec MCR in Australia Reverse circulation technology wins in Brazil Thin wall core barrels improve productivity Groundbreaking technology in the Valley of Gold Christensen CS3001 works well in extreme conditions
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Diamec core drilling rigs Christensen core drilling rigs Explorac reverse circulation rigs Excore core drilling tools In-The-Hole tools Reverce circulation tools
For latest updates contact your local Atlas Copco Customer Center or refer to www.atlascopco.com
Front cover: Core sampling with Atlas Copco equipment. Northern College of Applied Arts and Technology, Kirkland Lake, Ontario Canada. Photographer: James Hodgins.
com 2 exploration drilling . governmental agencies. we strive to achieve optimal productivity. high performance diamond tools. When designing. such products are also a major factor in improved labour retention. The last three cycles have one distinct common factor. minimal downtime. environmental friendliness and high return on investment for the customer.Foreword Satisfying future production demands The mineral exploration community has. geotechnical and environmental conditions experienced in different parts of the world.to longterm outlook favours continued increased demand for mineral commodities. In these environments. best safety. suffered its fair share of cyclical times. Even in the current economical turmoil. optimized efficiency.atlascopco. selling and servicing Atlas Copco equipment. and improved in-the-hole equipment. We sincerely hope that the articles will lead to continued interaction between the diverse parties that form our exploration community. where infrastructure is often absent and the cultural acceptance towards mining may not yet be fully understood. and pressure on exploration drilling programmes. consultants. and reduced downtime.misiano@se. It is our objective to be an integral part of the continued challenge to be more competitive and profitable. We must never underestimate the value of our clients’ input. something which Atlas Copco is proud to achieve. most will agree that the mid. our own sales. Our global presence has facilitated the introduction of new products such as computerized drilling rigs. who have a special interest in mineral exploration applications. The ambition in offering this reference book is to further encourage interaction between all respective parties. which is the ongoing increase in demand for mineral resources as a result of global population growth and the emergence of less-developed countries. Apart from the obvious advantages. it can be difficult to attract and recruit skilled labour. educational institutions and. the latest cycle is unprecedented in the large swing from the successive boom years of 2005-2008 to the sharp decline in late 2008 caused by the global financial crisis. and its role in creating a lasting and trusting business relationship. in recent decades. geological associations and companies. All of our products embody the safety and environmental features that are an integral part of Atlas Copco’s continued commitment to our clients and the industry. These important objectives are achieved by a collaboration of customer input and Atlas Copco’s ability to bring to market such products and services. marketing and technical organization. of course. manufacturing. The cases described in this manual are chosen for the variety of geological. and Atlas Copco has continued to offer innovation and leadership in the supply of mineral exploration products. However. Each of our products needs to reflect the client’s signature. technical and commercial. Technological advances in all aspect of mineral exploration have ensured evolutionary and revolutionary improvements in drilling techniques. The participants include the global exploration community of drilling services. The search for new mineral resources is in ever more remote areas of the globe. It is therefore necessary to provide the exploration drilling companies with top quality products that will ensure increased productivity. which have been developed for both core and reverse circulation exploration applications. Yours sincerely Daniel Misiano Marketing Manager Exploration Atlas Copco Geotechnical Drilling and Exploration daniel.
target generation. resource evaluation. Historically. or by funding junior companies. in the long run. exploration drilling Explorac 220RC – reverse circulation rig operating in Australia. Usually undertaken by mining companies. and all obtained cores or samples are saved as tangible proof of what has been found. exploration spending Exploration expenditure is mainly driven by metal prices and. the process of mineral exploration is a much more involved operation. and tends to follow metal and mineral prices and the general business trend. geochemical methods. organized and professional form of mineral prospecting. Exploration is carried out close to existing mine sites in order to identify and investigate extensions. by which time a lot of money has already been invested into the exploration project. spending on exploration is cyclical. so does exploration expenditure. by contractors. geophysical methods. remote sensing. exploration cycle Mineral exploration is. These activities are undertaken on a more or less continuous basis by the internal organization of individual companies. and in new areas to find and delineate fresh deposits. 3 . When metals demand peaks. Resource evaluation usually involves core or reverse circulation drilling. partnerships or corporations. Despite frequently using prospecting services. Ore is commercially viable concentrations of minerals. by definition.Talking TeChniCally Trends in exploration necessity of mineral exploration production. reserve definition and extraction. by metals demand. mineral exploration is a more intensive. the process of finding ore to mine. These first drill holes are needed to verify the findings from the initial investigation. The exploration cycle includes a number of steps and activities such as area selection. survival and expansion.
Then the world economic downturn in late 2008 drastically reduced the level of activity. Yearon-year growth in each region varied considerably. reaching a peak in 1997. increased demand made it necessary to increase the rate of discovery of new deposits. exploration increased in all regions. we can see that. high up in the mountain ranges of Latin America or out in the Asian deserts. At the same time. Papua New Guinea. Also. Tanzania. Angola. otherwise total ore reserves to relative total metal production would decrease. 1). has been more dramatic than the trough in 2001/2002.Talking TeChniCally Studying non-ferrous exploration budgets over a 20-year period (see fig. 2. 1999-2008 (as a percentage of worldwide exploration) boom. and spending in 2009 dropped off accordingly. and the relative geographical distribution remained basically the same. Botswana and Ghana are countries with high exploration activities. Forinstance. uranium). indicating that its future role in metal and minerals production will grow. after a flat period in the beginning of the 1990s. 2008 active players The global mining industry is made up of some 6 000 companies. the Philippines and Indonesia planned for a 60 % increase in exploration in 2008 compared with 2007. 2008 Figure 4: Worldwide non-ferrous exploration budgets by target. driven by falling metal prices. which means that the actual growth is not as large as indicated. North America as a region is still number one. despite continuously increasing exploration costs. This means that the actual activity on the ground has not increased in direct proportion to the expenditure. Canada keeps its top position as the most popular country. With hindsight. This brings about the likelihood of another price peak in a few years time. But in 2002. driven by a perceived reduction in reserves. The vast majority are the 4-5 000 junior exploration 4 exploration drilling . making discoveries more difficult than when ore bodies outcropped or were at shallow depths. closely followed by Latin America. Since then. the current decline. followed by Australia. there was an increase in spending for six consecutive years. increasing difficulties Some cost increases were due to lack of staff and equipment during the mining Figure 3: Worldwide exploration budgets by compant type. Figure 2: Worldwide non-ferrous exploration budgets by region. reaching an all-time high in 2008. it is apparent that exploration should have been increased at a higher pace than that achieved. Meantime. In addition. after a steady five years. increase in all regions During the five years to 2008. 1989-2008 (US$) clearly just how highly cyclical the exploration drilling business is. spending fell back to the 1989 level. ore grades are continuously declining. This shows Figure 1: estimated total worldwide exploration budgets (excl. The historical budget figures have not been adjusted for inflation. exploration budgets increased dramatically every year. new deposits are found in more remote and challenging regions located further away from final markets. China and Mongolia are the most important countries in Asia. see fig. which for a long time has been a popular exploration region. Also worth noting is the fact that exploration expenditure in Africa is considerably higher than the region’s share of mine production. Democratic Republic of Congo. As a result.
and often with highly trained staff. innovative. Australia and the UK. greenfields vs brownfields During the last five years the share of the grassroots exploration has decreased. With less total spending on exploration after the beginning of the financial crisis in late 2008. and they have most probably to be found in new sites in remote areas. but in 2008 there was a slower growth for the juniors and an increased spending from the major companies. see fig. The increase in the brownfields sector indicates the efforts to both replace and increase the ore reserves in existing mining areas. They have been willing to take risk and are fast to make decisions. and dare to go into new areas and to apply geological models in new ground. This should result in increasing greenfield exploration. the juniors have accounted for a growing proportion of exploration expenditure. On the other hand. there is a demand for new large mineral deposits. for example. but depend on funding from the stock exchanges or from private placements for risk capital. juniors accounted for some 50% of exploration.Talking TeChniCally companies that do not have a mine in operation. and major companies for about 80 % of the minesite exploration during the same period. and Late Stage and Minesite have taken over that share. In the Nordic countries. Type of metals 2008 was the first year since 1989 when exploration budgets for base metals such exploration drilling Christensen CS4002 surface core drilling rig operating in Mexico. it can be expected that the share of the grassroots exploration will continue to decrease. Many of the traditional mining companies have earlier downscaled their internal exploration departments and spread their risk by funding juniors. These companies do not have any cash flow. The spending in Late Stage has become larger than in grassroots exploration. The junior companies have accounted for more than half of the grassroots exploration. but hope to find new deposits to exploit. 3. They are small. 5 . and this figure is similar for companies based in Canada. In recent years.
Gold has. 4. and the financial strength to develop a major mine. and pick up the activity level after the initial cuts. core drilling rigs have been developed to operate in deeper holes. declined for five years. or just swing faster. looking for gold has always been exciting. with metal prices and availability of minerals as the main driver. it can be expected Junior companies Category mainly includes pure explorers. intermediate In the first hand based on a company's adjusted annual revenue with at least $ 50 million in annual non-ferrous revenue and less than $ 500 million major-company threshold. Minesite All exploration at or around an existing mine site held by the company. 6 exploration drilling . After the chaos in the world economy in late 2008. In 2009 we are observing a steep decline in the exploration business in line with that of the global economy. prior to quantification of initial resource. anders gustafsson Atlas Copco is very grateful to Metal Economics Group for the right to publish their graphs and definitions.Talking TeChniCally Diamec U8 APC core drilling rig in operation. and by investment in new and more efficient exploration equipment. Some of these cost increases can be compensated by use of new methods. but also aspiring producers. However. There is a question mark hanging over whether the trends will swing more with higher peaks and lower bottoms. and upgrade a previously identified orebody. All mining companies have to ensure proven ore reserves for long-term growth. and carry on planning their exploration activities over the business cycle. Major companies Companies with annual non-ferrous mining-related revenue of more than US$ 500 million. prior to 2008. and new projects will emerge as the long-term demand for metals increases. as copper. when it took a long time to restart exploration activities after deep cuts in spending and resources. See fig. They may well stick to their original plans. Because credit is now less-freely available. showing grade and quantity. grassroots exploration From the earliest stage through to perimeter drilling. mineral exploration is an optimistic business. and in order to find future volumes and qualities of minerals. contributing to higher productivity. including feasibility work up to a positive production decision. high-risk areas with higher costs. but for five consecutive years the percentage spend for gold has declined. always attracted more capital than other metals. Definitions (courtesy Meg) looking forward The world economy is a major influence on the exploration business. That is their future capital. it was natural that the level of exploration activity should significantly reduce. like gold. There are many theories about how the global economy will develop. quantify. For example. and will continue to be so. nickel and zinc were higher than for gold. Includes reconnaissance and evaluative forays. including searching for satellite orebodies within economic transport distance. Nowadays. However. exploration has to be in remote areas and. Diamonds are the third most important mineral after gold and copper but. for which core in the boxes. many companies have integrated exploration into their longterm business strategy. demanding less personnel and support. that less capital will be available for new exploration projects. The question is how deep will the curve dip? Will it be down to the 2002 level. late stage Exploration to further define. and how exploration demand will contribute to its revival. The cost of exploration has increased. Principal means of funding exploration is through equity financing. or will it level out before that point? It is possible that the mining companies have learned from the previous downturn in 2002. in some cases. is essential as the proof.
Talking TeChniCally Core drilling operation in Mexico. exploration drilling 7 .
and iron meteorites mainly consisting of metallic iron and nickel. southern Bolivia. The earth The earth consists of an inner and outer core surrounded by a mantle.6 billion years ago by aggregation of 8 cosmic material from our solar system. we can get data about the chemical composition of the deeper part of the earth. and the high average density of the earth. According to this interpretation. The theory of plate tectonics has improved our knowledge of ore formation. As such. Plate tectonics gives us a better understanding of important geological processes like mountain building. there is a great difference in thickness between oceanic crust and continental crust. A rock. sodium and potassium. Atlas Copco offers a full range of drilling products for site investigation. mainly basalts. The oceanic crust is lower in silica but higher in magnesium and iron due to the dominance of volcanic rocks. calcium. by studying this material. Minerals A mineral is a natural chemical compound with a defined crystal structure and composition. Under a mountain chain the crust thickness can be up to 70 km. However. the inner core is solid and the outer core is liquid. aluminium. The mantle and the thin crust of the earth are solid.Talking TeChniCally geology for exploration and mining importance of geology A thorough understanding of the geology of a mineral deposit is fundamental to its successful exploitation. always containing silica and oxygen. This shell-like structure has been confirmed by studying seismic waves originating from earthquakes. magnesium. Volcanic rocks sculptured by wind erosion. of these waves is related to the density of the material and its state. most of which are silicates. At the surface is a thin layer of rocks known as the crust. Feldspars account for almost 50% of the earth’s crust and are hence the most common mineral. or propagation. iron. on the other hand. geology is a vital factor in the process of selecting methods in exploration and mining. The velocity. The earth was formed more than 4. but we can get information from the equivalent of some tens of km by studying eroded mountain chains. and also helps the explorer to select areas of high mineral potential. The deepest drill hole is 11 km. They can be grouped in potassium feldspar and plagioclase (sodium-calcium-feldspar). We can observe only the upper part of the earth’s crust. The thickness of the crust is normally between 10 and 35 km. The thickness of the core and mantle together corresponds roughly to half the radius of the earth. and is dominated by seven elements: silica. volcanism and earthquakes. There are thousands of different minerals but only about fifty rock-forming ones. or chondrites. aluminium and alkali due to the high content of granitic rocks. is a naturally formed aggregate of minerals. The difference in density also explains the velocity of the seismic waves in core and mantle. which is about 5.5 g/cm3. exploration drilling . The continental crust is higher in silica. and how these processes are connected. and for mine development and production. The use of geological models makes exploration and mining more effective. There are two types of meteorites: stone meteorites dominated by Fe-Mg-silicates. be it solid or liquid. The meteorites falling down on earth are of same origin as our planet so. Seismic and meteorite data indicate that the chemical composition of the core is similar to iron meteorites and that of the mantle is similar to stone meteorites. This chapter reviews basic aspects of geology that may affect decisions about exploration and mining. The chemical composition of the outer part of the crust is well known.
Three types of plate margins will be discussed briefly. which causes cleavage parallel to these layers. The mechanism of seafloor spreading is an important part of the plate tectonic theory. According to this theory. which move in a complex pattern.Talking TeChniCally Other main rock-forming silicates are pyroxene. The hardness scale starts with talc as the softest mineral. gold for example 19. which move the plates. Some elements have much higher densities. When the oceanic plate starts to melt. density. The youngest volcanic rocks are found close to the ocean ridge. Volcanism is normally accompanied by earthquakes. These plates are shown in fig. When two continental plates collide. Mica has a layered structure. cleavage and crystalline form. the crust and upper part of the mantle can be divided into 10-12 major plates. In the middle of the Atlantic there is a long chain of volcanoes called the mid-Atlantic ridge. cleavage and crystal type. Volcanic activity occurs at diverging.1. and the exploration drilling African plate consisting of the African continent and parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. which may be extra strong when two plates are sheared or sliding along each other. forming a new ocean floor. The driving force of this movement can be attributed to heat generated by radioactive decay within the mantle and core. and the age of the rocks increases out from the spreading centre.6 and 3. For example galena (PbS) sometimes forms small cubes. leading to partial melting of the mantle below. Plate tectonics The modern theory of plate tectonics has improved the understanding of basic geological processes like mountain building. The speed of the motion of plates is just a few centimetres per year. which is typical for cubic minerals. Similar ridges are found in the other oceans. volcanic activity will occur. EURASIAN PLATE NORTH AMERICAN PLATE CARIBBEAN PLATE ARABIAN PLATE INDIAN PLATE NAZCA PLATE AFRICAN PLATE SOUTH AMERICAN PLATE AUSTRALIAN PLATE SCOTIA PLATE Fig 1: Some of the major plates of the world. ocean plates and also as a result of a collision between ocean plates and continental plates. we find a great number of volcanoes along the western part of South America. Three major plates are North American which includes North America. Plates can interact by moving apart (divergence) or towards each other (convergence). lustre. Thus the collision of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates resulted in the formation of the Himalayas. A collision between the Nazca and South American plate is shown in the fig. When an oceanic plate moves towards a continental plate such as South America the oceanic plate will move below the continent. or subduct. whereas cleavage describes the property of a crystal to split along certain crystallographic surfaces.At a certain depth the subducted Nazca plate will 9 . To identify a mineral in the field. All minerals belong to one of seven crystal systems. Other diagnostic features are streak. streak. South American which includes the whole of South America and a part of the Atlantic. and ends with diamond as the hardest of all known minerals. mountain ranges may be formed. The earthquakes in Los Angeles are of this type. or spreading. Mexico and Greenland. Subduction also leads to the formation of ores. This causes repeated eruptions of basaltic lava. Therefore. earthquakes and formation of many types of ores. volcanism. Along these ridges two oceanic plates are moving apart. The density of many rock-forming minerals is between 2.2 g/cm 3. The heat is transported by slow convection streams. one or more of the following physical properties of minerals are considered: hardness. based on ten minerals of increasing hardness. 2 on the following page. oxides and carbonates. quartz and mica. Streak is the colour of mineral powder produced when a mineral is scratched. Mineral hardness is commonly graded according to Moh’s scale. In addition there are at least three other types of minerals: sulphides. the highest mountain chain on earth.3 g/cm3. Most ore minerals have a density of 4 or higher. amphibole.
Porphyry copper Mn nodules with Cu, Ni, Co 0 km Ocean Continent 30
Fig 2: Andean type ocean - continent collision.
start to melt. The magma intrudes into the overlying rocks and also causes volcanic activity. Most porphyry copper deposits are formed in this geological environment. This is the main reason for the frequent deposits of this type along the Andean mountain range. One third of the world’s copper production comes from Chile as a result. Porphyry copper deposits are always associated with quartzdioritic or granodioritic intrusive rocks with a porphyry texture. The copper mineralization is not only found in the intrusive, but also in the surrounding rocks. The main copper minerals of porphyry copper deposits are chalcopyrite and bornite. The content of copper in this type of deposit is usually low, about 0.5%, but porphyry copper often contains some gold and molybdenum. Due to the large size of these deposits they are mainly mined in cost effective open pits, and form the greater part of the world’s copper production. The discovery of black smokers found at the bottom of the ocean close to a spreading centre was a big sensation. Black and hot at about 350 degrees C, hydrothermal solutions rich in sulphides are injected into the water from chimney-like structures. When the hot
sulphide solution comes into contact with seawater, the sulphides are immediately precipitated. The sulphide minerals formed in this way are mainly of pyrite, pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite. Similar deposits of old age have been mined on Cyprus for thousands of years. Black smokers can be called a modern analogue for the frequent volcanic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits mined all over the world. The first commercial attempts to exploit black smokers are underway in the deep waters north of Papua New Guinea. Another interesting type of mineralization related to plate tectonics is the occurrence of manganese nodules on the ocean floor. These nodules of varying size are formed close to active spreading centres, where hot metal-rich water emerges. The nodules formed are rich in manganese and iron and have low concentrations of copper and nickel. The quantity of these nodules is huge but the potential cost of exploitation is, at least for the time being, too high.
Magmatic, or igneous, rocks are formed by the cooling and crystallization of magma. This is normally taking place
at great depths in the earth, where pressure and temperature are high. If the intrusion of magma occurs deep in the crust, cooling and crystallization is a slow process. This will favour a coarse-grained texture, which is typical for intruded magmatic rocks. Some magma will reach the surface, where it loses most of its gas content turning into lava, which forms volcanic rocks. At that stage, the crystallization is much faster and results in a fine-grained or glassy volcanic rock. The shape of volcanoes often reveals the chemical composition of the erupted lava. Basic lava, or basalt, often has a low viscosity, forming shield volcanoes or more or less horizontal lava fields. When the content of silica increases in the magma, it also gets richer in water. Such a combination leads to more explosive eruptions, and the formation of strato volcanoes with cone shaped profiles. This type of volcano is composed of alternating beds of lava and pyroclastic material, and the chemical composition is intermediate or acidic. Table 1 shows volcanic rocks have a magmatic (plutonic) counterpart. The volcanic basalt corresponds to gabbro, andesite to diorite, dacite to quartz diorite, and
rhyolite to granite. When a magmatic rock contains large crystals in finegrained groundmass it is known as porphyry. When the magma is rich in silica, a light coloured rock is formed. It has a high content of silica and feldspar, and is known as felsic. On the other hand, if the magma is poor in silica but rich in magnesium and iron minerals like olivine and different kinds of pyroxenes, amphiboles will dominate causing a dark colour of the rock. This type of basic rock is called mafic. If the content of SiO2 is lower than 45% we get ultramafic rocks like komatiites and peridotites. This kind of rock is often associated with nickel mineralization, see table 1.
Table 1: Main magmatic rocks
Silica content Basic <52% SiO 2 Intermediate 52-65% SiO2 Plutonic rocks Gabbro Diorite Syenite Acidic >65%SiO2 Quartz diorite Granodiorite Granite Dykes and silts Diabase Porphyrite Syenite porphyry Quartz porphyrite Granodiorite porphyry Quartz porphyry Volcanic rocks Basalt Andesite Trachyte Dacite Rhyodacite Rhyolite
Sedimentary rocks are formed by deposition of eroded fragmented rocks or precipitation of dissolved material. Sedimentary rocks are quite common, covering about 75% of the surface of the earth. However, the volume of sedimentary rocks is low, indicating limited thickness of these rocks. Sedimentary rocks can be divided into two types, clastic and chemical, as shown in the table to the right. Clastic sediments consist of fragments of eroded rocks. Thus, the original rock will partially determine characteristics of the sedimentary rock. Large rounded rock fragments in a finer matrix of fragments are called conglomerate. If the rock is dominated by grains of sand, it is called sandstone. A greywacke is a kind of sandstone with a matrix of fragments, sand and clay. Limestone is the most common of the carbonate rocks. It is either formed by chemical precipitation of calcite, or from depositions of skeletons of dead organisms such as corals and molluscs. Chert is a chemical sediment consisting mainly of quartz. Evaporites like gypsum and halite are formed in bays and lakes of arid regions. Bedding, or layering, is a characteristic feature of many sedimentary rocks. The layering may be due to a variation in grain size or in chemical composition. Initially, the layers are more or less horizontal, but later tectonic forces may fold or overturn
A typical sandstone.
Table 2: Some sedimentary rocks
Type of sediment Clastic sediments Rock type Conglomerate Sandstone Greywacke Shale Chemical sediments Limestone Chert Gypsum, halite Composition/Original material Gravel, stones and boulders Grains of quartz and small fragments of rocks Like a sandstone but with higher content of rock fragments and argillaceous material Fine-grained argillaceous material Precipitated calcium carbonate Precipitation of fine-grained quartz Evaporation of sea water
the layers. Sedimentary rocks make up a very heterogeneous family with varying characteristics as shown in table 2.
When magmatic or sedimentary rocks are subjected to high temperature and pressure they will re-crystallize, often
forming new minerals. A metamorphic rock is formed. The change in mineral composition means that the new minerals are stable at the higher temperature and pressure. This occurs without melting of the original rocks, and little change in the chemical composition. Metamorphic rocks are also characterized by new texture and structure.The reason
Table 3: Typical metamorphic rocks
Rock type Amphibolite Mica schist Gneiss Green-schist Quartzite Leptite Slate Marble Original rock Basalt, diabase, gabbro Mudstone, greywacke, etc Various igneous rocks Basalt, diabase, gabbro Sandstone Dacite Shale Limestone Degree of metamorphism High Medium to high High Low Medium to high Medium Low Medium
for a change in temperature and pressure may be due to heat from intruding magma, or because the rocks or sediments have sunk deeper into the earth’s crust. Compression and tension in the earth’s crust also play an important role during the metamorphic stage. Metamorphic rocks make up a large part of the earth’s crust. They are divided into three groups, depending on the degree of metamorphism: low, medium
and high. In the first group there are only slight changes in mineral composition. Typical low-grade minerals are chlorite, albite and epidot. At medium and high metamorphism many new minerals are formed, for example, sillimanite and garnet. Due to the strong re-crystallization, all primary textures are destroyed, and in many cases it is very difficult to determine the primary rock. Metamorphic processes often
make the rock denser and harder and more difficult to drill. Foliation is a kind of layering which is a characteristic feature of many metamorphic rocks. When rocks re-crystallize under pressure from one direction, platy minerals like mica are orientated in layers perpendicular to the source of pressure. This results in banded or foliated rocks. Another type of metamorphic structure is lineation, where elongated crystals in the rock are oriented in the same direction, resulting in a cigar-like structure. Very often, the metamorphic rocks are named after the parent rock. Metamorphosed sedimentary rocks are called metasediments and volcanic rocks metavolcanites. Some examples of metamorphic rocks are given in table 3. Quartzite is a very hard rock formed by the metamorphism of pure sandstone. Schist is a common metamorphic rock of medium to high grade. This rock is often named after the most common mineral, for example: mica schist; and chlorite schist. Marble is a well-known metamorphic rock formed from re-crystallized limestone.
at liz al st ry
Sm el ti
TA EN KS M C DI SE RO
Fig 3: Rock cycle.
There is a relationship between magmatic, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, which is shown in the fig. 3. Starting with the magma at the top of the figure and going down to the left, the magma will crystallize into a magmatic rock due to decreasing temperature and pressure. If crystallization occurs within the crust, an intrusive rock results, for example, granite. If the magma is erupted by volcanic activity, the result will be rhyolitic lava, or a tuff of similar composition. A rock formed at high temperature and pressure is not stable at the surface of the earth. When magmatic rocks are exposed to surface conditions, rocks are eroded and weathered by mechanical and chemical processes.Chemical weathering will decompose many minerals, but the remaining part of more resistant minerals and rock fragments will be transported by water, ice or wind until deposition occurs. After sedimentation, compaction and cementation of the mineral grains, a
MA GM RO ATIC CK S
PHIC MOR TA S ME ROCK
g erin p. Weath trans Erosion
Au. Ex. There is also a possibility that a magmatic rock is metamorphosed without forming a sedimentary rock in between. sedimentary and metamorphic processes play important roles in formation of mineral deposits. Table 4: important ore minerals and their composition Metal Cobalt Chromium Copper Copper Copper Gold Iron Iron Lead Molybdenum Nickel Silver Tin Titanium Tungsten Tungsten Zinc Ore mineral Cobaltite. and these metals are later precipitated due to cooling. In other words recycling of rocks is always going on. Some major ore types are summarized in the table 5. A mine also needs a minimum size. Ex. a good location. However. Volcanogenic massive sulphides (VMS). Ores can be formed by the same processes as rocks. and the cycle is completed. A metamorphic rock is formed. Olympic Dam. The reason is that most metals have to be concentrated many thousands of times to form an ore. the increasing pressure and temperature will cause re-crystallization. La Escondida. At great depth in the crust the metamorphic rock will start to melt and form a new magma. Mount Whaleback.Fe)AsS FeCr2O4 CuFeS2 Cu2S Cu5FeS4 Au Fe2O3 Fe3O4 PbS MoS2 (Fe. Ex.Mn)WO4 CaWO4 (Zn. Ex. Chromite. weathering starts and the cycle is shortcircuited. Chalcopyrite Chalcocite Bornite Native gold Hematite Magnetite Galena Molybdenite Pentlandite Native silver Cassiterite Ilmenite Wolframite Scheelite Sphalerite Mineral formula (Co. and a qualified staff. Gold in conglomerate Au Fe Iron oxide-copper-gold deposits. Kalgoorlie. Hydrothermal activity is another important process. Ex. Zn Zn. Ex.Ni)9S8 Ag SnO2 FeTiO3 (Fe. Hans Fernberg and Magnus Ericsson Chemical sedimentation Ironstones and banded iron formations (BIF). Ex. there are also some other possibilities.Cu Cu. Alaska Au. Pb. Ex. in ore formation. Sudbury. associated with felsic volcanic rocks. Red Dog Zn-Pb-Ag deposit. Ag Cu. Lode deposits in tectonically deformed zones.Fe)S Formation and classification of ores Ore is a natural concentration of one or more heavy metals which can be mined with profit. When metamorphic rocks are exposed at the earth’s surface. Chile Ni. If the sedimentary rock is buried deeper and deeper under other rocks and sediments. Such a concentration in the earth’s crust is very rare. Bushveld Complex. or a chemical reaction with another fluid. often combined with the formation of new minerals. Australia Epithermal quartz-gold veins. This means that magmatic (igneous). Furthermore. Table 5: Some major ore types Processes Magmatic Sulphide immiscibility Crystal fractionation Silicate-sulphide immiscibility Magmatichydrothermal hydrothermal Fluid mixing Hydrothermal solutions Exhalative venting “black smokers” Sedimentary exhalative Sedimentary Sedimentation of heavy minerals Placer deposits. Trodoos deposits.Talking TeChniCally sedimentary rock is formed. Erosion and weathering will transform the rock into sediment. associated with granodioritic intrusions. Ag Nickel and copper deposit. Australia Copper porphyry deposits. Cyprus SEDEX deposits in sedimentary rocks. Hot circulating water leaches metals from passing throw rocks. Cu Cr Ni. often related to magmatic activity. Canada Monomineralic chromite layers. Australia exploration drilling 13 . Ag Au. pressure decrease. Mo Type of ore/mineralisation Metals Tom ekström Contributors. which later can form a sedimentary rock. the ore should be possible to mine and concentrate to become an economical success. South Africa Komatiite-hosted Ni-Cu deposits.
After an interesting area is chosen. Investigating extensions. to have the greatest chances of success. shape or rock composition. exploiting an existing orebody is the easy part of the job. Sometimes he will stumble across ancient. while it sounds similar to prospecting. Table 1: Exploration activity sequence in general Area selection and review of existing data Application for permit Air borne survey Geochemical survey Activity Geopysical survey on surface Trenching Drilling Environmental impact study Application for mining permit Feasibility study Time exploration drilling . is the term used for systematic examination of a deposit. But how do you find these accumulations of metallic minerals in the earth's crust? The mining company has to ensure that the deposit is economically viable and needs a guarantee of ore production over a sufficiently long period of time. and searching for new deposits. Prospecting Prospecting involves searching a district for mineral deposits with the view to mine it at a profit. His experience tells him where to look. It is not easy to define the point where prospecting turns into exploration. Approval by officials is needed before exploration activities can commence. before the heavy investments required to set up a mining operation will be considered. and to look for new prospects that may replace the reserves being mined. are vital activities for the mining company. an application for exploration permit is made. shallow 14 Gold panning in the wind. In other words to transform the mineral deposit into an orebody. Exploration. A geologist prospecting a district is looking for surface exposure of minerals. The hardest part is to find new ore deposits and to define their extent and metal content (grade). by observing irregularities in colour. Even after production starts. it is necessary to locate and delineate any extensions to the mineralization.Talking TeChniCally Prospecting and exploration for minerals in search for orebodies For a geologist in the mining business.
detailed and accurate geological map which often starts with basic instruments such as tape and compass. exploration activities The first step is to conduct a review of historical and existing data. A prospector will identify the discovery. which might have been what led him to prospect that particular area in the first place. See picture to the right. for geological. geophysical. measure both width and length. In areas with limited access to water wind panning can be done towards the wind direction. This can result in great savings in time and money required for new activities. Even when minerals can be found on the surface. Each step adds some more costs. The accuracy can be enhanced by using air photos to help locate outcrops. Gravity methods such as panning is used for gold prospecting in alluvial river beds. and finally the more costly activities viz drilling into the ground for obtaining samples from any depth. Where the ground cover comprises a shallow layer of alluvial material. geochemical and structural mapping. and his theorizing about the probable existence of an orebody are solid. See table 1.Talking TeChniCally mine workings. production for planning purpose and access routes. Soil-covered ground is inaccessible to the prospector. If the prospector's findings. Today detailed aerial topographic maps are available in many parts of the world giving the explorer basic information to determine where to find areas with good mineral potential. The most 15 . but it also improves the accuracy and detail of the resulting map. the next step would be to explore the surrounding ground. Samples from the trenches are sent to the laboratory for analysis. determining any extension in depth is a matter of qualified guesswork. One of the cheapest phases of property exploration is preparation of a comprehensive. Especially from closed down mines and terminated exploration there often exist core samples and other relevant information which can be accessed. major fault zones and basic topographic control. Efficient mineral exploration depends on increasingly sophisticated map exploration drilling Are there minerals in the trench? International Gold Exploration AB. Table 1 shows the sequence in time of various exploration methods. geochemistry. Large areas can be effectively covered in a short period of time. trenches can be dug across the mineralized area to expose the bedrock. geophysical exploration After their introduction in the 1950’s airborne geophysical surveys became commonly used as a first step in geophysical exploration. and estimate the mineralized area. Exploration is a term embracing geophysics. IGE conducts exploration works in Burundi. whose first check would be to look for an outcrop of the mineralization.
the information form basis for future drilling campaigns. and certain manganese minerals. The resultant field can be traced and measured. photo Patrick Trädgårdh. The electrodes. Induced currents produce a secondary field in the rock mass. these techniques are particularly useful for locating magnetite. As geophysical survey is commonly conducted from the air to begin with. ref Lappland Goldminers. Gravimetric surveys are also used to detect high-density minerals. and to discover mineral deposits such as sulphides containing copper or lead. If yes. or to locate the groundwater table. the intensity of radiation will be considerably higher than the normal background level. The variation in gravity may be caused by faults. common aero-geophysical maps are magnetometer maps which record the variations in the earth’s magnetic field with high degree of accuracy. measure the chargeability (the capacity for various minerals to build up a charge of electricity) and resistivity effects on current forced into the ground and bedrock. gravity. connected to a receiver. EM (Electromagnetic) surveys are based on variations of electric conductivity in the rock mass. 16 Magnetic surveys measure variations in the earth's magnetic field caused by magnetic properties of subsurface rock formations. to decide if it is worth proceeding with further exploration. Results from the surveys are compiled. Two or more methods are often combined in one survey. and sound velocity. IP (Induced polarization) surveys are conducted along grid lines with readings taken at receiving electrodes planted in the earth and moved from station to station. anticlines. Electric surveys measure either the natural flow of electricity in the ground. pyrite. to acquire more reliable data. electrical conductivity. and salt domes that are often associated with oil-bearing formations. Measuring radiation exploration drilling . graphite. or “galvanic” currents led into the ground and accurately controlled. different geophysical methods are used to explore subsurface formations. magnetite. information from the surface surveys are compared and added to the airborne mapping. radioactivity. based on the physical properties of rock and metal bearing minerals such as magnetism. Gravimetric surveys measure small variations in the gravitational field caused by the pull of underlying rock masses. The optimal selection of altitude and spacing as well as choice of instrumentation is important. thus revealing the conductivity of the underground masses. pyrrhotite and ilmenite. From surface. Electromagnetic surveys are mainly used to map geological structures.Talking TeChniCally Airborne and surface geophysical survey map indicates where drill holes will be located. The minerals detected by IP surveys are generally the same as for EM methods. In prospecting for metallic minerals. A transmitter is used to create a primary alternating electromagnetic field. like iron ore. In regions where rock formations contain radioactive minerals. Electrical surveys are used to locate mineral deposits at shallow depth and map geological structures to determine the depth of overburden to bedrock. and matched with geological information from surface and chips or core samples from any previous core drilling. pyrites and lead-zinc mineralizations.
The samples are placed in exploration drilling Airborne geophysical surveys. a mechanical vibrator or an explosive charge. exploratory drilling The next and most expensive part of the exploration sequence is drilling. through the underlying layers. or of a compact mineral deposit in the ground. Drilling penetrates deep into the ground. That survey will be followed by more detailed sampling of variations in chemical composition of drainages and by soil sample grids in anomalous areas. For a driller. The area chosen might be relatively acidic or the metal ions in the ground water being neutralized by a bed of limestone. and vital for calculating the mineral reserves that will keep the mine running in the future. bags. Geochemical surveys can also be conducted on rock chips from outcrops or rocky debris. The geochemist will take stream samples on a regional basis covering many square kilometers of the supposed favourable terrain. This is important for determining ore grades being handled. A strategically placed underground core drilling may also intersect new ore bodies in the neighbourhood.Talking TeChniCally levels helps locate deposits containing uranium. the drillhole itself can provide a complementary amount of information. Percussion drilling yields a crushed sample. Rapid and accurate analytical methods such as atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP) have made it possible to determine many elements. This entails digging holes at certain intervals to collect soil samples from identified horizons. The time is measured for sound to travel from a source on surface. If there is any mineralization at given points far beneath the surface. By taking a large number of samples over an extended area and analyzing the contents of each metal. Exploration commonly includes programs of soil sampling. in each sample which generates a vast amount of data. and brings up samples of whatever it finds on its way. The expenditure for drilling comprises about half of the total exploration costs mentioned above. comprising cuttings from a fairly well-determined depth in the hole. The area is then selected for more detailed studies. Seismic surveys are also used to locate oil-bearing strata. particularly by logging using devices to detect physical anomalies. commonly 30. screened to collect the finer material and analyzed for “pathfinder” elements. There are two main methods of exploratory drilling. and can quantify its presence at that particular point. yields a solid cylinder shaped sample of the ground at an exact depth. Biochemical surveys might use leaves or bark in forested regions or plants and sage brush in arid environment. the main one being to detect the presence of metals in the topsoil. Seismic survey is based on variations of sound velocity experienced in different geological strata. drilling can give a straightforward answer. All results from the survey are superimposed on maps which will show dozens or often hundreds of anomalous patterns which are useful when optimum location of drill holes are decided. The core is an intact sample of the underground geology. and up again to one or more detectors placed at some distance on surface. regions of interest are identified. which can be examined thoroughly by the geologist to determine the exact nature of the rock and any mineralization. Beyond that. The source of sound might be the blow of a sledgehammer. A soil sampling survey might result in thousands of samples which need computer programs for efficient data handling. all other exploration methods are like beating about the bush. Samples of special interest are sent to a laboratory for 17 . a heavy fallen weight. thorium and other minerals associated with radioactive substances. Core drilling is also used to define the size and the exact boundaries of mineralization. See picture to the left geochemical surveying Geochemical surveying is another exploration technology featuring several specialities. Core drilling. dried. similar to the geophysical surveys mentioned above. Seismic surveys determine the quality of bedrock and can locate the contact surface of geological layers.
Before a mineral deposit can be labelled as an orebody. reverse circulation methods are commonly used. and represents substantial capital investment. The information gathered by core drilling is important. A prerequisite for this application is owner's confidence of sustained profitability over a long period of time. Based on all geological documentation and the study the owners get a good idea of how to mine the deposit. Fig 1 shows initial mining plans at the Suurikuusikko gold mining project in northern Finland. marketing. payback period and other essentials. returns on investment.Talking TeChniCally From prospecting to mining To quantify the mineralization. which are readily disassembled. metallurgical. to recommend continuing the exploration efforts. size and metal content of the deposit. Boxes are marked to identify from which hole. Exploration Results Mineral Resources Inferred Increasing level of geological knowledge and confidence Ore Reserves Indicated Measured Probable Proved Consideration of mining. full knowledge is required about the mineralization. and at what depth. the rigs are truck mounted and restricted to accessible terrain and better road conditions. The environmental impacts of mining and mineral processing are carefully studied and need approval. To obtain fast geological information at less costs. social and governmental factors (the ”modifying factors”) The 2004 Australasian code for reporting exploration results. environmental. Fig 1. which can be economically exploited and turned into a saleable product. legal. economic. Ore is an economic concept. At every step of the procedure. The costs for a feasibility study is quite substantial and could reach an amount of approximately of 5% of the required capital costs for the entire mining project. whether it will be surface open pit mining or underground operations with or without backfilling of the excavated stopes. At this stage a comprehensive feasibility study is undertaken covering capital requirements. the owners apply for permission to conduct mining operations in the area. Reverse circulation drilling as a method is rapidly gaining popularity for surface drilling applications. In the majority of cases mining will start with open pit excavation gradually turning into underground mining once the waste to ore ratio becomes too excessive at deeper horizons. analysis to reveal any metal contents. the step by step procedure in exploration activities is required. Two computer generated views of Agnico Eagle's Suurikuusiko gold mining project showing both surface and underground mining. Instead of core samples the geologist gets access to drill cuttings (chips) throughout the hole length which are checked and mapped for mineral content after laboratory analyses. defined as a concentration of minerals. mineral resources and ore reserves. Cores from exploration drilling are stored in special boxes and kept in archives for a long period of time. the geologists examine the information at hand. in order for the board of directors of the company to make the final decision on developing the prospect into a mine. The objective is to be fairly certain that the deposit is economically viable by providing a detailed knowledge of the geology for a clear financial picture. and to define the shape. Compared with core drilling equipment. proposed mining technology and processing methods. In case no serious negative impacts are found. hans Fernberg exploration drilling 18 . the sample was taken.
Talking TeChniCally What´s in the cores? exploration drilling 19 .
But it also depends on the confidence that he or she places in the quaity of the samples. As the samples are placed in core boxes piece-by-piece and carefully marked. Chips or cores? The question often faced by geologists is deciding which method of exploration drilling will get the most effective and economical results. exploration drilling . or a combination of the two? Drilling methods Core drilling produces cores of subsurface material and is the most commonly used method of obtaining information about the presence of minerals or precious metals. Reverse Circulation drilling (RC). Underground RC is possible technically. RC drilling becomes the perfect complement to conventional core drilling. At shallow investigations it is used alone and at deeper exploration as an economical way of precollaring in order to get down to where the mineralization is located. Once there. and RC drilling has become so advanced that more and more geologists believe that chips are perfectly sufficient as a means of determining mineralization. the cost of getting the job done. In this way. This method gives the geologist the opportunity to analyse the sample by eye as well as by more advanced methods. Hence. the time required. as well as rock formations. rock conditions. 20 be decided whether to continue with RC drilling to extract chips for evaluation. depths of the holes. Core drilling. core or a combination. and confidence in the quality of the samples brought to the surface for analysis. Selecting which method to use for actual sampling work depends on the actual conditions. it can Technical logic Since man first started searching for minerals and precious metals. surface drilling offers a choice between chips. cost and confidence. it gives a full picture of the rock strata. This is more a question of basic technology and logic than one of science. or to switch to diamond core drilling to extract cores. Modern core drilling rigs carry out fast and efficient core sampling of different diameters to very large length. surface or underground. and the preference of the geologist.Talking TeChniCally in search of the right balance Explorac 220RC Reverse circulation rig in operation in Australia. three key factors have consistently proved decisive for success: time. In other words. RC drilling by percussive air DTH hammer is a fast method due to higher penetration rate compared with traditional core drilling and gives a lower cost per metre.
and 10 years later. Together. Hydraulic drill rigs were launched in the early 1970s and progressively improved. the current version of Diamec U6 APC (Automatic Performance Control) represents the 4th generation of computerized rigs. while underground core drilling is still the predominant method. pulling Fig 1: Principles for RC drilling showing flow of compressed air and chips. Atlas Copco introduced computers into their control system. Manpower was inexpensive and readily available. For surface mineral exploration and mineral grade identification the relatively low cost and rapid Reverse Circulation method has gained popularity. One reason for this is the need for smaller and lighter equipment suited to shaft transportation and set-up in limited areas. early birds As early as 1887. the core drilling rigs have been developed to higher efficiency and safety. rod with a main hoist or with the rotation unit. The sampling collection box is integrated into the cyclone. rigs. and consequently neither was cost. RC air hammers. coupled with the ability to drill deeper holes in all directions. high-pressure compressors and sampling systems. DTH equipment. there are special RC drilling systems. in that they were able to evaluate a piece of solid rock. The figures reflect total exploration expenditures from national statistics for surface and underground. The first RC rigs were water well drilling rigs equipped with a sampling system. obtaining 100 80 60 40 20 0 % RC drilling Core drilling Canada Latin America Russia China Australia SE Asia USA Africa Table 1: Ratios between core and RC drilling. It incorporates the latest hydraulic and electronic technology into a modern compact design and includes many options that offer added flexibility. For surface exploration drilling. Time was not necessarily of any great importance. independent of type of method used. Confidence in these samples among geologists was very high. exploration drilling 21 . these offer efficient and safe drilling to increased depths.Talking TeChniCally but is still only used to a very small extent. Craelius developed a rig that could recover cores at depths of 125 m. Today. In 1997.
time and costs are in favour of RC drilling. expect contractors to deliver high quality information about the geological formation. with the cost of exploration paid up front. Time factor For all exploration drilling the sample is the most important result. a programme of core drilling is the logical way to continue. With an evaluation giving positive results. The figures are easy to evaluate and vary depending on the location. Investors. If the goal is just to obtain a preliminary indication of possible content. and on the local drilling conditions and working environment. If the mineralized structure is identified. shallow subsoil water and rocky terrain. Caption Confidence factor The third variable in the equation is the confidence factor. For deeper exploration applications. It is just a matter of minimizing the drilling time. Atlas Copco RC rigs are controlled by tested and proven computer technology to help drillers to achieve optimal performances. As these are not the same people. Time is money. and adding and removing rods. core drilling is still the only practical alternative. the reliability of information plays a critical role. then the geologist is not relying on any mineralized structure or geometry. others may take over to conduct the drilling and blasting operations. Cost factor Costs are mainly related to the time factor. Due to substantially longer diamond core bit life. Technical developments in drilling tools and rig technology have resulted in lower drilling costs. the actual drilling time is estimated to be a third of the total time 22 to extract a full core barrel because of the pumping in. pulling out. For core drilling. Cost comparisons . whenever a gold nugget has been found. Percussive drilling is always faster than rotary abrasive but has practical restrictions on hole depth and dimension. RC drilling is used as an exploration drilling Christensen CS1000P4 surface core drilling rig operating in Zambia. For example. except that investment in RC rigs and equipment is higher compared to core drilling. For shallow exploration applications. as well as geologists. rock formation. there is no need for samples. followed by a period of nonprofitable waiting while the results are analyzed. which is normally no smaller than 125 mm. high quality samples. with an RC hole down to 250-300 m taking no more than a 10-12 h shift depending on drilling conditions. Investors want the highest possible return on their investments in the shortest possible time. Geologists choose their drilling method carefully. depending upon depth. and the driller’s ability. If there is no need for continuous information about the geological formation on the way down to a specified depth. less down time and reduced number of personnel are experienced. RC drilling can offer three times the productivity of core drilling. in order to bring the project to a resource/reserve status. but the geometry and rate of content varies. RC drilling offers continuous drilling with a higher penetration rate.Talking TeChniCally between the two methods should be based on the same factors as productivity.
Core drilling therefore remained the only viable method for these depths. This fact tends to favour core drilling rigs. Cores also yield geotechnical data. RC rigs are heavy. Large volumes of rock have to be excavated to obtain just a few grams of a valuable mineral. assembled on trucks or track carriers. By sealing off the bit from the rest of the hole. Antifreeze rock drill oil helps to keep the hammer and bottom of the hole free from ice. Today. The core helps the geologist to calculate the cost of extracting the mineral from the ore. In areas with extremely cold climates. Data about slope stability can be of the highest importance. as do manufacturers such as Atlas Copco who continue to provide the right tools for the job. These days. In these cases RC drilling is the preferred alternative. RC drilling below the groundwater table was previously believed to undermine sample quality. even for these depths. exploration drilling 23 . it can be kept dry. balanced choice between the two methods is the key to optimal results. An intelligent. The geologist wants dry and representative samples in order to make optimal evaluations. The geologist plays an extremely important role in finding this balance. purely practical. Other. and where permafrost is present. professional contractors deliver dry sampling down to depths of 500 m. the availability of high-pressure compressors and hammer tools makes it possible for RC drilling to reduce costs. Tradition and the environmental impact play a large role. anders gustafsson Diamec U6 underground core drilling rig in a typical setup.Talking TeChniCally indicator for ensuring continued grade control. issues determine the choice of one or the other drilling method. It must be remembered that information from a core is crucial in estimating the period of mineralized structures. which are lighter and more adaptable in order to be flown into remote and sensitive environments. RC drilling may have its limitations.
producing samples faster from deeper holes and in more difficult situations. The system has been continuously developed since its inception in Australia in the early 1970s. the air powers the drilling tool and the exhaust air carries the cuttings. and thereafter RC could be applied to almost all ground conditions. and RC drilling was the most cost efficient and accurate method available. High-pressure boosters and auxiliary compressors were introduced for deeper holes and faster penetration. which is usually an RC hammer. The circulating medium.As a result. and Atlas Copco has called on the experience of drillers worldwide in order to perfect its offering. or RC. drilling is a fast and cost efficient method of retrieving high quality samples from exploration and mine drilling. RC drilling is now being used for initial exploration. RC methodology The RC method employs dual wall drill rods that comprise an outer drill rod. enters the annulus between the rod and tube via the air swivel. viable ore grades became lower. RC history Difficult drilling conditions in some types of soft iron ore and mineral sands using conventional open hole techniques led to the development of RC drilling in the early 1970s for sampling. which is normally part of the drill string. A dual tube configuration. exploration drilling .Talking TeChniCally an introduction to Reverse Circulation drilling Reverse Circulation. sample hose to the cyclone. or sometimes mounted on top of the rotation head. The need for cleaner samples led to the development of the RC hammer in 1990. The inner tubes overlap. the air and cuttings comprising the sample change direction at the discharge blast box and are transported through the 24 Explorac 220 in Australia. and collects it. ore body development drilling. The cyclone slows the sample. separates it from the air. Air pressures up to 100 bar (1 500 psi) were available. In the late 1990s. occasionally used in the US oil industry. The development of the crossover sub facilitated the use of conventional DTH hammers. In RC drilling the cuttings are returned to the surface through the inner tubes in the drill string and rotation head. Rigs such as the Explorac 220RC are revolutionizing exploratory drilling. and in pit grade control drilling. The air travels down the annulus to the drilling tool. gold processing improved. so many mines looked to improve their ore selection processes. and is now a preferred method for initial exploration. and by the late 1980s more than 2 million m/y of RC exploration drilling were being completed in Western Australia alone. in most cases high-pressure air. These inner tubes provide a continuous sealed pathway for the drill cuttings to be transported from the bit face to the surface. The first RC drill rods were made in 1972 by Bruce Metzke and John Humphries in Kalgoorlie. As in conventional open hole drilling. ore body development and in-pit grade control. Western Australia. Once through the rotation head. or can be a blade bit or tricone roller bit. Any method is only as good as the equipment developed around it. Speed and cost advantages over diamond drilling led to a boom in RC drilling. was adopted as the basis for the RC drill rod. but mining costs were higher. returning previously unheard of sample accuracy and target depth achievement. One of the easiest ways to do this was grade control drilling. Shrouded tricone roller bits were initially employed in softer formations. driving necessary advances in all aspects of RC drilling and RC systems. and seal on the tube below with O rings when the drill rods are screwed together. with an inner tube located inside the drill rod.
25 . RC results rival the accuracy of diamond core assays. Low impact bits. Drilling penetration rates are similar to open hole drilling. and is already partially processed for analysis. they are subject to wear. because there is normally no fluid or cuttings flow against the walls after the drill bit has passed. Using good sample splitters and sampling procedures. and the type of formation being drilled. Production rates of up to 200-300m/ day are common at rates exceeding 10 m/h. Dry samples are preferred as they split more accurately for assay. With the use of a stainless steel rod at the bottom of the string. Wireline surveying of the hole is still possible through the drill rods. hole azimuth readings are also possible. As the cuttings travel directly from the drill bit through the steel inner tubes and sample hose. samples can be kept dry. so retrieval of the sample and hole cleaning is rapid. but are designed specifically for RC drilling. such as RC blade or RC roller. Drill string The components in an RC drill string have a similar arrangement to those of a conventional drill string. and are often faster at greater depths. RC sample content ranges from dust to 25 mm chips. are ideal in these soft or loose formations. and achieving rapid results for the customer. As these inner tubes carry almost all of the cuttings from the hole at high velocity. with all components having a central inner tube.Talking TeChniCally RC benefits RC drilling provides virtually uncontaminated cuttings to the cyclone. The rate of wear is governed by the air volume and pressure of the rig. With good drilling techniques. and are easier to handle. Unconsolidated formations can often be drilled and sampled without casing. The sample velocity through the inner tubes can be up to 250 m/sec. Washing and scouring of the hole is minimized. there is no cross contamination from other areas of the hole. even several hundred metres below the water table. exploration drilling Explorac 220 with cyclone and cone splitter. many times faster than diamond drilling.
RC rod with inner tube.
Apart from the hammer inner tubes, which may only last a few hundred metres in extreme conditions, the remaining components should last for several thousand metres of drilling.
There are generally only three types of down hole tools used in RC drilling: hammer, roller and blade. The RC hammer is the most common method used, drilling almost all formations with few changes required. The commonest hammers are in the 4-5 in range as these meet the power, standard drill strings, and sample size requirements. The hammers work on the same principles as conventional hammers, but with a hardened, replaceable inner tube through the centre. The inner tube extends into the top of the drill bit. A conventional hammer exhausts the air through the bit, whereas a RC hammer exhausts around the outside of the bit splines and around the head of the bit, forcing the sample through the holes in the face of the bit and upward through the inner tubes. To help create a higher pressure zone above the bit face, and to force the sample up the inner tubes, a sealing ring is situated above the bit. This ring can be described as a shroud, sleeve or compensator ring and is mounted
on the drive sub, or bit chuck, and is usually replaceable. The RC hammer bit is similar to conventional hammer bits, but with two large ports in the face and a large bore through the centre to accept the hammer inner tube. There are deep channels on the outside of the drill bit head to allow the exhaust air to flush the sample into the ports in the face. An RC roller setup comprises a sub onto which a bit and skirt similar to a hammer shroud are screwed directly to the drill string. The bit is normally a standard mill tooth tricone roller bit, modified to allow a shroud to be fitted. The RC roller is only suited to softer formations, but can be extremely fast and produces a very accurate sample and very little disturbance in the hole. It requires minimal air volume, and down hole costs are low, so it is a very economical method of drilling. RC blade uses a sub and skirt setup similar to RC roller, but with a drag blade as the cutting tool. Used in heavy clay formations, which can be difficult or impossible with hammer or roller, it can be very quick and produces an accurate sample.
RC drill rods consist of an outer tube, the rod, and an inner tube. The rods are externally flush and provide the strength
From top: RC bit face, RC bit with a shroud, RC saver sub, digout sub, RC blade with skirt, Adapter sub.
for the assembly, and also the pin and box threads. RC drill rod threads have been developed to retain strength while maintaining a large hole through the centre for the inner tube and airway. The inner tube is installed into the rod through the box, or female, end, and usually sits on a shoulder in the rod and is retained with a circlip. Each inner tube has a male and female end, one of which has O-ring seals. Once the rods are screwed together the inner tube ends overlap, and the O-rings seal the tubes. The annulus between the rod and inner tube carries the high-pressure air to the drilling tool, while the inner tube provides a smooth bore sealed tube to carry the cuttings to the surface. Most drill rods are 3 m or 6 m long, and run pin down because of the inner tube installation. The most commonly used rod size is 4.5 in (11.43 cm), coupled with a 5 in (12.7 cm) hammer and 5.25 (13.3 cm) to 5.75 (14.6 cm) in bit, but rods are also available from 3.5 (8.9 cm) in to 5.5 in (14 cm) to suit other rig or drilling requirements. The inner tubes are a wearing, but easily replaceable, item. As with any drill string there are various subs used for adapting, reducing, and stabilizing. These are all available for RC drill strings. The air swivel feeds air into the drill rod annulus, while still retaining an inner tube to allow sample flow. They can be either in-line in the drill string immediately beneath the rotation head, or mounted on top of the head as an integral part of the head. The rotation head on an RC rig has a large bore through the spindle to allow for the replaceable sample inner tube. RC heads are usually built to provide high torque at moderate speed, with at least 10 000 Nm and 100 rpm normal for larger rigs.
Standard roller bit and drag bit.
The discharge system is the non-rotating part of the sample path that carries the sample from the rotation head to the sample cyclone. It normally consists of a mud swivel, blowdown valve, blast box, discharge manifold and sample
hose. The mud swivel, blowdown valve, manifold and blast box all mount rigidly to the top of the rotation head. The mud swivel seals the rotating head shaft and inner tube from the stationary parts of the discharge system. The seals in the mud swivel are critical as they need to contain the pressurized flow of sample. Most RC rigs now have a blowdown valve fitted to the discharge system. This is usually a hydraulic or air driven valve that closes off the sample inner tube and redirects the downhole air flow down through the sample inner tubes. This function is used to clear blockages in the bit ports or the inner tubes, and to force all air up the outside of the drill hole, hence cleaning the hole. It is done without having to depressurize and unscrew the drill string to add a sub, so is a very useful tool in difficult drilling conditions. The blowdown is mounted on top of the mud swivel. The sample stream can be travelling at up to 250 m/sec and needs to be redirected towards the cyclone. The blast box usually turns the sam-ple flow about 90 degrees to meet the sample hose. This direction change also reduces the energy of the sample considerably, but in doing so incurs very
high wear. Most systems have easily replaceable wear components in this area. The discharge manifold extends sideways from the blast box. It helps slow the sample to reduce sample hose wear and also holds the hose clear of the drill rig as the head travels up and down. There is often provision to inject small amounts of water into the manifold to mix with dry sample and reduce the dust at the cyclone. The sample hose is a heavy materials handling hose specially manufactured for RC drilling. The hose transports the sample from the discharge manifold to the sample cyclone, and is long enough to allow for the movement of the rotation head up and down the mast.
The majority of RC drilling is done to obtain mineral samples for analysis, so correct sampling equipment and practices are necessary when undertaking this type of drilling. There are two main components to the sampling system: the cyclone; and the splitter.The cyclone serves to reduce the speed of the sample stream, and to separate the sample from the air, allowing it to be collected. It is important to have an efficient cyclone to remove
Side inlet air swivel.
Tiered riffle splitter.
as much of the sample as possible, and also to avoid contamination of samples. A good cyclone will typically collect greater than 99% of the sample, with the remaining dust and air going to a dust collector or to atmosphere. The cyclone should be able to hold two complete sample intervals without contamination. An area of the cyclone called the dump box is equipped with a door or knife valve for this purpose. The sample interval is normally 1 m or 2 m of hole. As one sample has collected in the dump box, another is being drilled and is collecting in the cyclone. The lower dump box doors are opened to allow the sample to fall through the splitter. The lower doors are then closed, and the upper doors are opened to drop the next sample into the dump box. In this way sampling becomes a continuous process, with little or no interruption to drilling. Processing of the sample is one of the most important aspects of RC drilling. The sample from 1 m of a 5.5 in drill hole is about 30 lit, or up to 50 kg. The purpose of a splitter is to divide the sample down to a smaller size that is an accurate representation of the complete sample. This assay sample is collected in a bag and sent to a laboratory to be analysed for various minerals. Two main types of splitter are in use. Riff le splitters use several tiers of
dividers that halve the sample at each level, until the assay size is reached. This usually involves 3 or 4 tiers to give 12.5% or 6.25% of the total sample. Riffle splitters are easy to use and clean with dry sample, but do not perform too well with wet samples. Tiered riffle splitter, sometimes known as a Jones riffle splitter. These essentially divide the sample in two at each tier. Half the sample goes to waste and the other half to be split at the next tier and so on. The number of tiers dictate the final assay sample size, see picture above. Cone splitters drop the entire sample over the point of an inverted cone and allow it to run down the cone. The assay sample is taken by collecting a segment of the sample as it runs off the edge of the cone. This segment size can be adjusted to collect the required percentage for assay. Cone splitters can give a more accurate split, but are more sensitive to setup than riffle splitters. The con splitter works by dropping sample through a 120 mm hole over the point of a cone in an “hourglass effect”. This provides an even flow of sample over the cone. Beneath the bottom of the cone are 2 segment shaped chutes that direct a percentage of the sample to the assay bags. These chutes are adjustable to take between 3 and 12% of the total sample. One is used as the assay
sample, the other for a dublicate sample. The waste materials falls through a chute and can be either collected in a large bag or wheelbarrow or left as waste, see picture above. Rotating cone splitters are used for wet sampling, as they reduce or eliminate the bias that is created as a wet stream favours one portion of the splitter.
RC Drilling has many similarities to conventional DTH drilling, but there are also many procedures and techniques that are required to achieve the best results. In RC drilling, the hole is of little importance, while the sample is paramount. Holes are normally set up in a similar way to a conventional hole, with a short length of collar pipe or conductor casing set at the surface. A stuffing box, Tee piece or deflector box is mounted on the collar pipe to direct any lost sample or outside circulation away from the drill rig. Rotation speeds and feed weights are similar to conventional drilling. As much sample as possible should be retrieved from the hole. It is preferable to have at least 95% inside circulation, so that most of the sample is coming through the inner tubes and only
dust masks. The RC drilling method uses high torques. It is fast and efficient. or it can easily be blown out using the blowback sub. Procedures. or to remove excess water from the hole. stabilized dig-out sub above the hammer for protection when digging through fallback. • Manual handling: Strains and injuries can be received with handling of heavy samples. and it is common to run a short. but these have to be removed to continue drilling. safety boots. causing the drill string to become bogged. These are necessary to keep the hole dry. It is not uncommon to retain 100% inside. This is normal for RC drilling.Talking TeChniCally 5% or less is being lost to outside. and are much easier to store. the proximity of people to the machine in this type of drilling demands vigilance and management. ear plugs. bits etc. big lifting capacities and rapid collection of samples. exploration drilling They work close to the cyclone and the rig mast. providing accurate samples for evaluation by the geologists using tried and tested techniques. Achieving high inside circulation sample return is achieved by having the correct clearance between the bit shroud and the hole wall. the normal safety requirements for the Explorac still need to be observed. If there is water in the hole. • Personal protective equipment (PPE): Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should be in use at all times. Summary RC drilling is a well-respected method within the exploration industry. hammers. • Falling objects: Due to the vibrations involved in percussion drilling there is potential for objects to shake loose from the rig mast. While engineering solutions have been made for most hazards. RC drilling is frequently used in conjunction with core drilling for a better result in certain circumstances. These items are considered as statutory requirements in most mining environments. and communication between the driller and sampler are essential here. Correct maintenance and regular inspections are required. It is also common to allow the hole to collar off above the hammer to help with sealing. cyclone tilt and rotate. and are usually used at each rod change to ensure the hole remains clean. Auxiliary compressors and highpressure boosters up to 100 bar are now commonly used with larger RC rigs. Dry samples split far more accurately. All HP air hoses. RC drilling requires one or more ‘Samplers’ or ‘Offsiders’ who process the sample from the cyclone and they are also often required to manually handle some of the downhole equipment. but some general rules will apply almost everywhere. so they can be exposed to hazards not usually encountered during standard production drilling. allowing the hole to collar off helps in keeping the samples dry. so safety is a major factor in the ongoing design process. thus creating a seal and forcing all sample up the inside. and the cyclone doors can all present some hazard. The customer should have a safety management system in place and all hazards should be assessed – most can be managed with procedures. Blowdown valves are fitted to almost all large rigs now to help clean holes. This collar will often breach when the water table is reached in the hole. Explorac 220 under testdrilling in Australia. producing a dry sample and also achieving far greater hole depths. • High pressure air: Can be extremely dangerous. Mast boom and rotation head movement. rod loader movement. hard hat and gloves. high pressures. transport and process. • Pinch points: There are many areas around the rig with potential for pinch or crush injuries. While there are some potential hazards associated with the RC system. Sample hose clamps should be correctly fitted and couplings tightened. It is almost inevitable that material will fall in behind the hammer or bit. Jan Jönsson 29 . Blowdown subs are available for insertion into the drill string. Safety with reverse Circulation Drilling There is a wide range of safety regulations and requirements that vary from site to site. including the sample hose should have sock type restraints on each end. The method is undergoing continuous technical development that will result in RC drilling being applied to deeper holes and more difficult geological conditions.
and to be able to drill deeper holes. continuous sampling from the hole bottom. The use of auxiliary compressors and highpressure boosters resulted in air pressures up to 100 bar. Combined with the Secoroc RC 50 hammer it is unbeatable for obtaining accurate and uncontaminated rock samples at high speed and low cost. exploration drilling . This technique provides a true sample from the bit face with minimum risk of contamination.Talking TeChniCally Reverse circulation drilling with new hammer concept accurate sampling Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling is gaining recognition and is already the most common mineral exploration drilling method used in many regions of the world. RC hammer With a conventional DTH hammer. straighter holes in 30 The RC50 hammer from Atlas Copco Secoroc is designed for both deep hole exploration drilling and In-Pit grade control. The method offers: representative samples with high recovery rate. bit and pipes. more accurate samples in low-grade ores. and the first true RC hammer was developed with sample collection at the face of the drill bit and removal of the cuttings through the centre of the hammer to the dual wall drill pipe. RC drilling is now a common method used for surface mineral exploration drilling throughout the world. uncontaminated samples. Explorac R50. the system is the most productive available. Atlas Copco produces the complete RC drill string including hammer. leading to necessary advancements in all aspects of the RC system. for both in-pit grade control and exploration drillers. and it is gaining increasing acceptance. Higher air pressures were needed to achieve higher productivity. there is a risk of contamination as the sample is transported between the hammer casing and the hole wall to the collector sub. Demands for cleaner samples were identified in the early 1990s. Mounted on a choice of Explorac 220RC. ROC L8RC and RD10 rigs.
is the outstanding service life of wear components. Cuttings Air flow Fig 1: The DTH hammer flushes cuttings out of the hole on the outside of the hammer. In Pit Grade Control returns an uncontaminated sample. along with three new RC drill rig configurations known as Explorac 220RC. the importance of knowing what grades to expect before the blast were identified. and penetration of unconsolidated formations with cavities without loss of circulation. but also reduced profit. giving increased efficiency of the ore process. low fuel consumption. simpler design and fewer parts. most of the RC drill rigs used today have a limitation in depth of 200-400 m. high recovery rate. One of the easiest ways to control dilution is to use in-pit grade control." The importance of grade control and minimized dilution is increasing around the world. but with increasing costs for the entire process. Another major application typical of. Secondly. Explorac R50. This information makes it possible to to reduce waste rock in concentrator feed (dilution) as well as minimize the risk of transporting valuable ore to the waste dump. These features give five main benefits for RC drillers: high productivity.Talking TeChniCally broken formations. Furthermore. The Secoroc RC 50 hammer is designed for the hole range 140-152 mm. ROC L8RC and RD10. The RC 50 hammer has the following features: higher stroke frequency performance. iron ores. The amount of waste raised from the mine is estimated by the geologists. making previously uneconomical ore grades viable. and variations in mineral content. So. The RC 50 was released in 2008. to the RC drill string. reduced drilling costs. and core drilling for deeper holes to identify future resources. Dilution means not only lower grade ore. for example. and decreased cost per metre drilled. RC drilling yields less information regarding the geological structure of the orebody. Conventional DTH hammer Reverse Circulation hammer The new RC 50 hammer In recent years Atlas Copco RC technology has evolved. while the RC hammer collects all cuttings through the centre of the hammer. many exploration contractors drill the first part of their hole with RC. because dual wall pipes add a lot of weight exploration drilling Fredrik gabrielsson 31 . Mineral exploration RC drilling has two shortcomings when compared to core drilling. in order to optimize ore recovery rates. in-pit grade control Atlas Copco has focussed on two main applications: in-pit grade control and normal exploration drilling. and during tests has proven to be more productive than any other RC hammer available on the market. high productivity. In-pit grade control is used in existing operating mines to define and map boundaries between waste and ore. Firstly. RC drilling is faster and more flexible. providing needed knowledge of what grades to expect as well as the possibility to select what bench to blast next. and then continue to the total depth with core drilling techniques. Gold processing techniques improved during the 1990s. large bulk sampling capability. quick and easy service. As a result. This is quite an important factor when estimating the cost of extracting mineral from ore. the two methods are often used in combination by mine operators. affording economic sampling over longer distances in the hole. but the actual process dilution is hard to measure. where RC drilling is the most costefficient and accurate method available. using RC for drilling shallow holes and in-pit grade control. Dilution is defined as waste rock in concentrator feed. and can vary from 5–40% between different mines. Another attractive feature that adds to the productivity of the hammer. while coring yields a good physical sample on which the geologists can rely. and the Secoroc RC 50 hammer concept has been tested and refined. built on the efficient Quantum Leap air cycle. as well as availability of the rig. "Mining operations had to improve their cost effectivness. is to define the different ore grades in order to be able to mix them into set grades.
Because of the potential risk for accidents with rotating rods and high pressure hydraulic hoses. but enough for good penetration. going hydraulic For the last 20 years. The focus on the rigs is to make them more user-friendly. Therefore a lot of effort has been put into the design of better In-The-Hole tools and bits with longer life.Talking TeChniCally Four decades of Diamec core drilling rigs The easy-to-move around Diamec 232 underground core drilling rig. but on the more remote sites helicopter transport may be necessary. crawler. time consuming. Transport on surface may be by truck. This article compares these functions in both hydraulic and mechanical rigs importance of control To get the best penetration rate and core recovery it is important to be able to control the speed of the rotation unit 32 and the feed and pull force in the feed frame. all of the rods have to come out of the hole. rod handling. It is important to understand what is happening in the bottom of the hole. and sometimes dangerous. Not too much. For example. all Diamec rigs delivered from Sweden today are equipped with a guard protecting all rotating parts. there are three main activities that control the productive effort: drilling. moving from mechanical to hydraulic transmission. and faster when handling rods. and to change the bit when drilling wireline. The chapter on bit selection elsewhere in this book is a useful reference. the feed force has to be compensated with the right amount of holdback when adding rods to the hole to ensure the right pressure on the bit in the bottom of the hole. To empty the core barrel when drilling conventionally. In core drilling. For underground applications exploration drilling . transport and setting up of the rig. For this reason. This involves rod handling which is a very heavy. and all rigs have oversized couplings and other crucial components. unproductive. or trailer. core drilling rigs have been following the same trend as most other construction equipment. operator contact with the rig is to be avoided as much as possible. ergonomic. part of the work.
so more lifting capacity is needed. so a truck may be used to move the rig from site to site. The conclusion is that the depth capacity of 33 . hydraulic system. helping to reduce rig downtime between profitable drilling periods. because of the friction in the hole. more torque is required to rotate the rod string. it is important to be able to both push and pull to get the rods out of the hole. This makes the move around even easier. especially in relation to their capacity. was introduced to the market in the early 1970s. The very short stroke length demands frequent re-gripping. rotation spindle with a hydraulic chuck. Drilling with a mechanical rig is harder than with the newer hydraulic rigs. ground formation and ITH tools is elusive. making for simple movement in remote areas. The main components in a mechanical rig are: diesel or electric engine with a coupling and a four. The rotation speed is rather difficult to control because of the reliance on gears. which is time consuming and sometimes risky. In the underground situation. Crawler mounted solutions reduce the setup time and make transportation much easier In the last couple of years. Note that these rigs have a hydraulic feed system. they are easy to assemble and disassemble. The rigs are in general rather heavy.Talking TeChniCally in mines and tunnels shorter distances are involved. reducing drilling efficiency and increasing the risk of core blockage. it is difficult to drill directionally and in tight underground locations. Diamec 250. When drilling angled holes. exploration drilling The service-friendliness of a Diamec U6 core drilling rig. On the positive side. the heavier the rod string. so the optimal speed for the application. The rods are pulled out of the hole with a main winch and a wire. hydraulic feed cylinder. and even more torque is required. hydraulic rigs The first hydraulic core drilling rig. To avoid the rods falling back into the hole a mechanical rod holder is used. mainly on account of their good reputation for robustness and easy service and maintenance. the core is taken out in a similar way to that used on hydraulic rigs. main hoist. If wireline drilling. and skid with mast. Because a mast is needed for mechanical rigs. the friction increases. All threads are opened manually with wrenches. wire line hoist. On long holes. Mechanical rigs The old type of mechanical core drilling rigs are still in production in some places.or fivestroke gear box. The feed system is similar to the hydraulic rig. but with the disadvantage of a short feed frame. Diamec rigs have been mounted on standard Atlas Copco Simba carriers. The deeper the hole.
They are opened when necessary using onboard hydraulic pressure. for vertical down holes. The rotation unit comprises a hydraulic motor. the higher the productivity because of reduced regripping. Optimal control A hydraulic driven rig offers optimal control of the drilling parameters. flows. and water pump. exploration drilling .Talking TeChniCally Underground core drilling in Canada with a Diamec U6 PHC core drilling rig. To design a good mechanical rod handling system that removes the human element is difficult. The rod holder is mainly used to hold the rods. which can result in vibrations in the rod string causing core blockage. Every re-grip loses time-. The rotation unit and the rod holder are mounted on the feed frame. a chuck and a hollow spindle. To have a reliable rod holder 34 is therefore a safety issue that has been solved on the most modern rigs using a gas accumulator that keeps the jaws closed. The number of rods used in core drilling compared with production drilling makes it difficult to design a productive system. and number of pumps. offering the most productive rod handling. Most underground rigs have the options of an 850 mm or 1 800 mm stroke length of the feed frame. rotation unit. rather than the stated depth capacities. The importance of setting up the rig in the right way cannot be overemphasised. When comparing one rig with another it is probably more correct to compare the power of the prime mover and the des ign of the hydraulic system. A hydraulic cylinder in the feed frame transfers the feed and pull force to the rotation unit. and penetration rate and rotation speed can be varied according to the ground formation. and is a heavy and risky task. A wall bracket is employed to fix the rig in the drilling direction. in metres/feet. including pressure. To take up and down a rod string at a depth of 1 200 m can take the whole work shift to complete. but some solutions are available on the market today. skid with a positioner arm or frame. mainly used for underground applications. The rotation speed and the feed and pull force can be adjusted exactly. has the following main components: feed frame. resulting in straight holes and low risk of core blockage. rod holder. power unit. wireline winch. the rig is set by at least two factors: pull force and torque. The longer stroke length. The control panel has the manometers and valves needed to control the drilling. The value given in technical data sheets are often just the depth capacities. so that they don’t fall in or out of the hole. A hydraulic rig. The most modern rigs use a telescopic cylinder that gives the optimal penetration parameters. and the rotation unit has to be stopped and restarted. The unique positioner arm used on the Diamec U4 and U6 helps set up the rig at exactly the correct angle. Most of the underground rigs are mounted on a skid that needs to be fixed to the ground. control panel.
The operator. or Automatic Performance Control. with controlled rotation speed. This is based on the well proven RCS. The computer stops the drilling as soon as the values are exceeded. producing better core recovery and longer life for ITH tools and bits. with the highest populations in North America and Europe. The operator sets the maximum and minimum values for the drilling parameters and the computer makes sure that focus is not lost. The result is an optimal drilling procedure. Nowadays. allowing the rig to be set in angles from vertical down to vertical up without moving the hoist. and water flow. penetration rate. all the time. 35 . David Petersson An operator with the control panel of the unique APC system for Diamec core drilling rigs. who no longer has to exploration drilling attend the drill rig. The drilling procedure can be started and the rig computer left to handle the operation until the core barrel is full and it is time to hoist the core up. automatic performance control The latest generation of Diamec core drilling rigs are computer assisted using APC. The wireline winch is placed on the positioner arm for optimal flexibility. or when the core barrel is full.Talking TeChniCally Diamec U8 PHC core drilling rig in operation in the US. has more time for maintenance and core handling. there are more than 1 000 Diamec rigs in operation worldwide. resulting in more profitable drilling.
Smooth control of feed force. the higher the series number required. the drilling contractor needs a reliable bit supplier with the right hands-on experience to advise the best solution for every condition. The lift and feed force of the drilling rig. However. All products are designed to minimize downtime and maximize productivity. exploration drilling 36 . abrasiveness. depending on rock condition and machine capacity. and as a general rule. and accurate control of water flushing and rotation are key factors. including (ITH) In-The-Hole tools and core drilling bits which are designed to maximize customer profitability. The numbers correspond to the different rock groups by hardness. by which time substantial resources have already been spent. other factors bear on the choice of bit. Core bit selection is based on the size and depth of hole and the hardness of the rock. and this must be taken into account. Impregnated diamond bits should generally be used with a peripheral speed of 2-5 m/sec. Atlas Copco core bits range from a Series 1 bit for the softest application to Series 10 bit for the hardest application. together with its rotation speed and chuck and rod holding capacity are other factors.Talking TeChniCally Selecting the right core bit Driller checking outside diameter of an Excore core drilling bit. followed by surface set diamond bits. its hardness. formation. most important of which are the characteristics of the rock Drilling with a core bit is introduced at an advanced stage of the exploration operation. taking into account the rig capacity and condition. The quality and continuity of the captured core is crucial in the assessment of a potential mine. and will recommend and supply the type and designation most suited to the application. The impregnated diamond core bit is most popular. competence. grain size. along with the driller’s technique. and the skills of the driller. tungsten carbide and polycrystalline diamond composite bits. making the core bit a key component of a core drilling rig. To ensure the correct core bit. the flushing medium. This includes rigs and a full range of high technology and high quality products. Some rigs have better controls than others. Crucial operation Selection criteria Atlas Copco is an experienced ISO certified supplier offering a full range of equipment for all underground and surface exploration drilling applications. Atlas Copco manufactures the entire range of core drilling tools. the harder the formation. and whether the strata is fractured or changing. A variety of core bit types is available based on the diamond cutting elements used in their construction.
and are particularly recommended in the hard to extremely hard formations of rock groups 6-10. The diamonds are carefully selected by quality and size for the application. channel flushing (CF). They employ a hard type of matrix for all formations. If the formation is soft a larger stone is utilized which results in fewer sones per carat. impregnated bits are more economical to use than surface set bits as they provide additional benefits: greater resistance to wear in most formations. Semiround profile is used for conventional and thin kerf wire line bits. Continuous control at each step in the manufacturing process ensures that all bits are of identical high quality. This consistent high quality means more drill metres per bit. The combination of diamonds and matrix determine the bit performance. and adaptability to changing formations that characterize this type of bit. S and P diamonds suitable for hard to soft formations. and face discharge (FD) waterways can be selected. The setting patterns are important to the long service life. with some bits using natural diamonds as gauge stones. granular size. and the simultaneous erosion of the matrix and the diamonds makes the bit self-sharpening. Step profile is normally used for standard and thick kerf wire line bits and is suitable in almost all kinds of formations. for the ultimate in drilling performance. and use selected and processed diamonds with a highly polished surface. Synthetic diamonds are used in the manufacture of Atlas Copco impregnated bits. but in hard rock impregnated diamond bits are normally more cost effective. Impregnated diamond bits are the bit most commonly used in exploration drilling. which has introduced new generations of synthetic diamonds. with a choice of CF waterways for consolidated rock or FD waterways for use with triple tube core barrels to avoid core washing out in soft formations. Extended Channel Flushing Surface set diamond bits Surface set diamond bits can be used to drill in soft to medium hard sedimentary formations. The revolution per rate of penetration is normally in the range of 150-250 rev/in (RPI) or 60-100 rev/cm (RPC). The impregnated bit matrix is available in a Series 1 through to Series 10 exploration drilling according to rock hardness. These stones have a high impact resistance. metal alloy and improved production processes. As a result. Atlas Copco uses best quality processed N. The consistency of quality. Most common Torpedo "V" Jet Face Discharge Diamond Surface Set (SS) Poly Crystalline Diamond Composite (PDC) Tungsten Carbide Insert (TCI) 37 . and rotation speed. where they offer good penetration rate and stability. rough handling and improper use. impregnated bits can be used in almost all applications except clay. high penetration rate. along with Torpedo “V” and JET crown profiles for competent formations. Productivity has constantly improved due to intensive research and development.Talking TeChniCally impregnated diamond core bits In most geological formations. Atlas Copco surface set bits are manufactured to the highest standards in the industry. less sensitive to abuse. and strength make synthetic diamonds superior to natural stones. which erodes away at the same rate as the diamonds become worn and rounded. Diamonds are embedded in an infiltrated or sintered matrix. The ideal combination of optimal penetration rate and wear resistance is matched to achieve the ultimate in drilling economy. shape. Atlas Copco manufactures core bits in 10. and have been developed from many years of practical field experience. Extended channel f lushing (ECF). Surface set bits are designed to utilize specific diamond size and quality according to the application. as do fluid volume. Through advanced manufacturing technology an extensive range of drilling requirements can be satisfied. they are available in step and semi-round crown profiles. Thus new sharp diamonds are exposed to continue cutting through the rock. Harder formations require smaller stones. chalk and other unconsolidated formations. In terms of drilling parameters. weight on bit and rate of penetration have to be taken into account. Impregnated diamond drill bits are designed to perform as grinders. (particularly in hard and fractured formations). 13 and 16 mm crown heights.
is important because the harder the rock. from unconsolidated overburden to broken. The size of diamonds. processed diamond. the smaller the stones. and all clients’ requirements are different. and clay stone with no crystalline or chert or similar intrusions. 38 Poly-crystalline diamond composite bits (PDC) PDC bits are an alternative to TC bits and surface set diamond bits. such as for the removal of steel fragments from a drill hole. Reaming shells are designed with a tapered leading edge to ream the hole. abrasive formations. They are used for soil investigations and geotechnical drilling. There is no substitute for testing the system at site. reinforced with PDC pins. normally larger than the bit diameter. Well designed waterways. The longer reaming shells have to be used together with an optional extension sleeve for the inner tube. and can also be used for mineral exploration for coring in softer rock formations. limestone. Atlas Copco representative discussing diamond tool selection with driller. Double and triple ring reaming shells are used to improve hole deviation problems. Tungsten carbide (TC) bits TC core bits are used for drilling in non-consolidated formations and in overburden. while Tripax bits have brazed cubic or triangular PDC inserts embedded Summary To maximize drilling efficiency. This provides a constant hole diameter independent of bit wear. when drilling in non-consolidated and medium hard rock formations such as salt. suitable for almost all applications.Talking TeChniCally in the matrix and are recommended for harder sedimentary formations. facilitate effective flushing and contribute to long service life and good drilling economy for both reaming shells and drill bits. reducing vibration and prolonging the life of the bit. Atlas Copco offers two types of PDC bits known as Diapax and Tripax. Diapax bits have brazed round PDC inserts. Another type of tungsten carbide bit with more cutting edges than standard TC bits is Corborit. Reaming shells A reaming shell should always be used in a coring system. designed with two or three diamond set gauge rings. and for cleaning drill holes. Impregnated reaming shells full hole profile are also available. all formations are different. which is a natural. or stones per carat. potash. and accommodates changing the bit without getting stuck in the hole. It is a core barrel component. gerry Black exploration drilling . All TC bits can be used in clean-out operations. when added stability is required. recommended in medium to mediumhard sedimentary formations. choose the right drill bit and utilize sound drilling practices. quality is S. Impregnated standard and heavy duty casing shoes as well as surface set casing shoes are available. which joins the bit to the core barrel outer tube. selected-. because all sites are different. Casing and rod shoes are manufactured to handle a broad range of conditions. The outside surface of the reaming shell is set with diamonds to a specified diameter. longer than the standard. For some core barrel systems there are optional reaming shells. rod shoes are available only in an impregnated design. They also serve as a stabilizer. Atlas Copco manufactures two different types of bits with octagonal tungsten carbide inserts.
Talking TeChniCally exploration drilling 39 .
Core recovery is a quantifiable measurement defined as the total linear amount of physical core sample extracted over the total linear advance in a borehole. typically in the target zone and/or for the entire borehole. and is influenced by the personnel. but their selection and use are hugely significant to the outcome and overall success of a drilling project. typically made with synthetic diamonds. Driller. and compensated for. created by the advancement of a rotating hollow centred diamond drill bit through an in-situ formation. tools and accessories used in given ground conditions. Vital information Recovered core samples are used to extract vital information where chips or other data gathering techniques do not provide an elevated level of confidence required to make decisions. The quality of recovered core samples is of paramount importance. Core drilling is typically carried out either by contracted drilling companies. consulting companies or governmental bodies who have their own drilling departments. As the drill bit penetrates through the material. In The Hole (ITH) tools represent only a small component of total project cost. expressed as a percentage. Recovery is often measured against a section of advance. influences how efficient coring and commercial solutions are developed and implemented. so nobody wins without “putting core in the box”. Understanding the end user. The core barrel is a mechanically designed device consisting of many interconnected engineered components. and in particular his application.Talking TeChniCally efficient core recovery Efficient Team: Geologist. Atlas Copco representative. which is the core cutting tool. capital and support equipment. a retrievable sampling device called a core barrel. his goals. and subsequently extracted by. Core recovery Core can be generally defined as a volumetric cylinder of material. and subsequently removed. it exploration drilling . be they related to mineralization or ground 40 mechanics. CR (%) = Length of core X 100 Length of advance The core being created is encapsulated within. providing representative and quality physical core samples to their customers. It is connected to a consumable core drilling bit. Core in the box The end users of exploration core drilling products are generally in the business of. diamond products. or directly by some mining houses.
entering the core barrel until it’s recipient tube is full. at which time the sample recipient tube is removed. flushing circuit. and evacuate them from the borehole. Fluid is primarily required to cool and flush the cuttings from the advancing diamond core bit. The flushing medium can be clear water. emptied of its core. drill rod string. As a general rule: the larger the core diameter.Talking TeChniCally creates a core in its wake. primarily needs to transmit rotation. but typically consists of one or more pumps. 41 . Flushing circulating Casing tube Casing shoe Drill rod Conventional Wireline Drill rod Drill rod Fluid flushing The fluid flushing circuit can vary significantly. Core barrel Core barrel Reaming shell Core sample Bit Core sample Reaming shell Bit Drill rods Drill rods play an important role in efficient core recovery. properly anchored at the borehole collar. but capital and tools must be adequately sized and suited for each other and the objective to yield efficient recovery. replaced and drilling resumed. Core drilling rigs come in many shapes and sizes. focus on the flushing circuit to improve core recovery. As a general rule. or the core’s entry is impeded. or collar. the available borehole annular area and the peripheral accessories for controlling delivery. As a general rule: the smoother the transmission of rotational force. core barrel. The rig. or include additives or muds to condition borehole integrity and complete the circuit. treatment and handling. the better the core recovery. Drill rod Drilling diameters A drilling application comprises the borehole starting point. Their tool joints are exploration drilling Fig 1. the drill rod string. Typical application. most of which are not economic drivers and are beyond the scope of this basic overview. thrust and pullback forces. the fluid media itself. the better the core recovery. and diamond tools. with deteriorating ground conditions. and depths of 3 m to 3 000 m share the following: diamond core drilling rig. Selecting which diameter to drill for a given application is dependent on a variety of factors. the target and the path in between. Boreholes ranging from 48 mm to 146 mmdiameter.
predictive and preventative maintenance is the easiest way to maximize recovery.Talking TeChniCally leak proof. As a general rule: to improve core recovery. the design will typically be configured as a double tube system consisting of an outer tube and inner tube. but exploration drilling The objective is 'core in the box'. the inner tube is meant to remain stationary during advancement though the in situ material. The core barrel is sandwiched between the drill rods and the diamond bit. after travelling through the drill rods. (see Fig 1) Whether conventional or wireline. Core lifter The drilling fluid circuit operates within the available annular area provided. ensure that components are serviced and bearings regularly greased. Connected to the drilling rig. At the bit end of the inner tube. permitting the f lushing medium to efficiently travel over great distances within the string to discharge through the face of the bit under remotely controlled volumes and pressures. 42 . As a mechanically engineered device consisting of dozens of inexpensive individually interconnected and interdependent components. As a general rule: proper care and handling of rods and a vibration free rotation are key to improved core recovery. While the outer tube rotates with the drill rod. core lifter case adjustment and core lifter selection are of great importance. There it is channelled between the inner and outer tubes. More specifically. the fluid enters the core barrel. The core lifter case needs to be placed close enough to the throat of the bit to allow for efficient core breakage. exiting via the throat of the diamond bit. Core barrel The core barrel is most critical to efficient core recovery. Triple tube systems using a split inner tube are common in broken ground. and back out between the outer tube and borehole wall to the collar (see Fig 2). a straight rod string combined with smooth rotation and borehole conditioning will turn vibration free in the hole while transmitting the feed pressure to the cutting tool.
by virtue of the core being firmly wedged by the lifter. By design. or "blocked". We still push. wedging and securing itself onto the core during core recovery and breaking. Broken ground its adjustment gap should not create an undesirable increase in fluid pressure and/or sample washing from the drilling fluid. When this happens. At this point. damaging blows and mishandling to the inner tube in order to improve core recovery. As a general rule: to improve core recovery. when Per Anton Craelius started in the business.Talking TeChniCally Double tube Triple tube Flushing medium Reaming shell Inner tube Split tube Stop ring Core lifter way into the inner tube with consequential effect on measurable recovery. transferring the substantial lifting force from the inner tube to the drill string until the core breaks away. cut and collect. or the sample is impeded. Crown profile. Bit Sample Solid ground Fig 2. Bit /ground interface. preventing sample washing (see Fig 2). As a general rule: choose the largest triple tube system possible in bad ground to improve core recovery. The split tube is located within the regular inner tube and uses core lifter cases and diamond bits designed to direct the drilling fluid though the bit blank instead of though the bit throat. A core sample will enter the inner tube until the tube is filled. In broken or friable ground. and that minimize back-pressure and sample washing. The bit cuts through the material that makes its way into the core barrel. the flushing medium’s pathway can wash away some of the sample before it makes its Peter Balen 43 . and the bit. However. flushing. continuing to advance the drill string will likely result in grinding and degradation of the desired core sample. is a metallurgical marvel. the drill string is raised slowly. flush. the core lifter case nests into the bit. the tapered core lifter slides along the inside of the core lifter case. As a general rule: avoid deformations. As a general rule: to improve core recovery. remains stationary until the bit throat adjustment gap is closed. advances by Atlas Copco in tooling and equipment have continuously improved the efficiency of core recovery. As a general rule: the adjustment gap should never exceed the available compression spring travel to improve core recovery. thrust and flushing parameters. turn. cool. from entering the tube. Core breaking During core breaking. The spring-loaded exploration drilling inner tube assembly. in particular. In these poorer ground conditions the core barrel can be configured to accept a third ‘split’ inner tube. and gauge design characteristics react differently with changes to rotation. choose bit designs that protect ID run out. choose an optional fluted core lifter in difficult ground. Core lifter case Minimal clearance Gap clearance Diamond tools The diamond tools are the business end of the string. usually because of a fracture in the sample. The fundamentals for diamond core drilling have not greatly changed since 1887.
Mechanical rigs Mechanical rigs are still manufactured. hydraulic system. the rig needs to be equipped with variable rotation speed and variable feed or hold back force. and their operation involves a lot of manual handling. drill rig performance has improved through development. main winch. Most mechanical rigs are currently employed as surface machines. Movement between individual drill holes can sometimes be carried out manually. rigs can be 44 LJ Huges' Christensen CT14 surface core drilling rig drilling in the coal fields of West Verginia. wire-line winch. there is a clear development trend towards fully hydraulic rigs rather than the older mechanical rigs. and transportation and setup. especially the rotation speed. Across poor terrain. This is very hard and time consuming work. The drill rig components are: diesel engine with a clutch and 4 to 5 step gearbox. At the same time. In the core drilling industry. This section describes the general principles for mechanical and hydraulic surface exploration rigs. usually by helicopter. a straight cut gear.Talking TeChniCally hydraulic and mechanical surface drill rigs Principles and trends Core drilling rigs are designed to rotate the drill string. Drilling: for the driller to have full control of the drill process. in order to provide a good working environment for the drill bit and produce the best core. while providing pressure. in-hole equipment has improved significantly. so are useful in remote locations. and the flow and pressure of the flush water. and drill bits are giving much longer life. he uses the gear ratios of the gearbox and the variable revs of the diesel engine. and rod handling is carried out with the help of the main winch. Mechanical core drilling rigs are not very efficient. and for core recovery during conventional drilling. Drilling On mechanical rigs the driller has limited control of the drilling process. Straight vertical holes are not so common. both of which also change the available torque. Over the years. and mast. Transportation and setup: for movement between different drilling areas the rig can be truck mounted. The feed system on these rigs employs hydraulic cylinders. hydraulic feed cylinders. air transported. The rotation force is transmitted from the diesel engine to the rotation spindle via the 4 to 5 step gearbox. the drill rods have to be pulled out of the hole. while all other functions are mechanical. A pair of hydraulic cylinders mounted on the rotation spindle provides feed force. using the mast and a separate rod clamp. though the numbers are decreasing from year to year. On the other hand they are fairly easy to maintain. rotation spindle with a hydraulic chuck. or a truck may be used for towing or carrying purposes. and a 90 degree angle gear. with most holes being drilled on some angle. Three aspects Three different aspects of these machines are important: drilling. In the absence of variable speed control. rod handling. Setup for surface rigs is typically between 90 to 45 degrees. which will exploration drilling . with a few regional exceptions. feed frame. It is crucial to control these parameters. to produce the core. The core drilling rig population can be divided according to whether they work on surface or underground. as in general construction. The straight cut gear is equipped with a high and low setting. during which great attention has to be paid to safety. Rod handling: when changing the drill bit for wire line drilling.
The long mast is in sections. which is useful for movement by helicopter. For core drilling. the mast can slide down to the ground with the help of a mast slide cylinder/dump cylinder. The drill pipes are stored in a rod rack in the mast. 45 . frame for carrying the mast and the mast dump arrangement. control panel. The rotation unit is equipped with a variable hydraulic motor connected to the spindle/chuck via a multiple step gearbox. and can be up to 3. The mid gears are used while drilling in large diameters and/or in angle holes. slowing drilling and increasing the risk of core blockage. Drilling down the casing requires lower revs/min and higher torque than for core drilling. The longer feed system offers less risk of core blockage. power pack. usually with four gears. The drill angles are commonly between 90 degrees and 45 degrees. which is often slower than on a hydraulic drill rig. better core recovery and longer bit life. This means lower core recovery and increased wear on the drill bit. Handling of the inner tube while drilling with a wire line system is done with the help of a separate wire line winch. main winch/ hoist. rotation unit. The rotation unit can handle P-size rods.5 m on the bigger machines. and carrier. the mast is usually designed as a welded structure or a beam. despite their comparatively low capacity. Using the main winch and the wire. They are heavy. or telescopic. and most rigs are equipped with some kind of compensation system for the weight of the drill string. or laid horizontally on a rod tray in front of the rig. which is then lifted from the hole with the help of the main winch. the rig can slowly pull itself into the drilling position.Talking TeChniCally increase the available spindle speed. and a rod holder that can handle the casing pipes. hydraulic system. The feed and lift force have variable control. The drill head/rotation unit and rod holder/rod clamp are mounted on the mast. the individual components are easy to take apart and reassemble. In order to get a stable drill position.9 m. Feed lengths start at 1. The feed cylinders have very short stroke length compared to modern core drilling rigs. The winch is driven by the diesel engine through a planetary gear equipped with brakes. while a separate rod clamp holds the drill string and prevents it from falling down in the hole. A Christensen CS3001 surface core drilling rig in operation in Canada. a casing pipe may be used when starting the hole in order to create a stable hole through exploration drilling the topsoil. but is not sufficient for effective core drilling. On surface rigs. With this arrangement variable control of the rotation speed is achieved. Rod handling On mechanical rigs rod handling is very heavy and slow work. The main components are: mast. However. The reverse operation is used for lowering the drill string. A wire rope connected to a lifting plug is threaded on to the drill string. water/mud pump and mud mixer. along with lower speed and higher torque for drilling down the casing pipes. Hydraulic drill rigs designed for surface applications have rotation units capable of a wide speed and torque range in combination with a long feed stroke. All the making and breaking of drill rod joints is carried out using a pair of pipe wrenches. Short stroke involves frequent re-gripping with the chuck. Transport and setup Mechanical drill rigs are normally mounted on a skid. a high gear is used to provide higher speed needed when drilling with modern high productive diamond bits. hydraulic rigs In surface applications. Optional equipment may include rod rack in the mast. so that it can be shortened for transportation. wireline winch. rod holder.
so only every second or third joint is broken when tripping/hoisting the drill string. lifting force. the rig has to be both lightweight and easily disassembled. and mud mixers. or the complete rig. It should be noted that a 6 m NO wireline rod weighs approximately 45 kg. A rod holder capable of handling the drill string is mounted at the bottom of the mast. such as operations in remote areas. can by covered by a tent. For very special applications. For the complete setup. and its capacity heavily influences the capability of the rig. The main hoist is used for hoisting the drill string. is needed in order not to damage the threads. 3 m drill rods are commonly used.Talking TeChniCally upwards. A thread compensation system. For cold weather conditions. If the terrain is fairly flat. Surface rigs seldom have synchronization between the rotation chuck and the rod holder. Smaller rigs can be mounted on a wheeled trailer for towing from hole to hole. a drill rod truck is needed. Making and breaking of the rod joints is accomplished with the help of the rotation unit and the rod holder. it is fair to say that the current transition from mechanical rigs to the more modern hydraulic rigs is a very stable trend. above 3 000 m ASL. and will result in reducing numbers of mechanical rigs. safer operations. are also common options. the rig may be mounted on an all-wheel drive truck. and the rig has to apply a lifting force to relieve bit pressure. When drilling deeper holes. Direct feed is preferable. because they need the capacity to drill Mechanical vs hydraulic rigs With today’s demands for high productivity. or through a chain feed arrangement. The feed force is transferred to the rotation unit by feed cylinders mounted in the mast. The drill pipes or sections of drill pipes are stored either in a rod rack in the mast or on a tray in front of the drill rig. connected either directly to the rotation bed. and water flow. as well as a water truck. part of the rig can be enclosed in a container. but for the vast majority of ap-plications the hydraulic drill rig will take over. since it requires less maintenance. and less work intensive. or at least H. Separate oil coolers or over sized engines are options for drilling at very high altitudes. pressure. even bigger casing dimensions can be used. This feature is common on underground drill rigs. more versatile rigs. Rod handling In surface applications. and transported between sites by truck and low bed trailer. or on modern rigs by gas springs. Transportation and setup Core drilling rigs are mounted on the most suitable carrier for the particular terrain. If vehicles cannot traverse the terrain to the drilling site and everything has to be carried by helicopter. enabling it to stand alone while the truck is used elsewhere. If it can be brought to the side. The rod clamp/rod holder is closed with mechanical springs. the weight of the drill string is greater than the feed force. and opened hydraulically. feed 46 exploration drilling . The rig can be crawler mounted for more difficult terrain. The machines are capable of pulling 6 m or even 9 m rods. and they lack the capacity to hold the drill string with the main winch. The drill platform can be equipped with hydraulic jacks. and an H size rod around 70 kg. which are considered to be large diameters for core drilling. The diesel engine in the power pack of a modern surface drill complies with emission requirements in US and Europe. lars gellerhed Drilling The driller has full control of the drill parameters such as rotation speed. Flush pumps capable of handling mud. A Christensen CS4001 surface core drilling rig mounted on crawler during on-site transportation. and between sites. All rigs have a system that can compensate for the weight of the drill string. or floating head. Time is saved by pulling longer sections of drill string. specialized mechanical rigs will still have to be considered. including the mast.
Talking TeChniCally exploration drilling 47 .
The most important part of the balance is to keep the total costs low. based on years of experience striving to gain the most economic and efficient performance on thousands of rigs in the full range of environments. Monitoring service and maintenance in a more professional way. The cost of lead time and breakdowns should always be taken into the availability calculation. the opportunities to put core in the box are increased. It consists of three main pillars. but can be extended with more pillars depending on customer or product.Talking TeChniCally keep the rig and business running lifetime return on investment Every business decision is based on the return on investment. Consistently we have found that rigs with Atlas Copco service contracts yield the highest return on investment. Care program A well adjusted service and preventive maintenance program will ensure that your equipment is looked after in the best possible way. of training of the operator. For a new rig. if service costs increase due to the age of the rig. day after day. profitability is decreased. increased revenue There are two ways of increasing revenue on an exploration drill rig. Secondly. Care is the common name throughout the CMT business area for a tangible and simple service product for our capital equipment. regardless of whether the customer is purchasing a single machine or a whole fleet of drill rigs. and the owner’s attitude to maintenance. Of course. The care program has been developed to match the high availability expectation of our customers. The challenge is to maximize the return on investment in every decision made. if availability is maximized. will result in lower costs. The service cost is normally related to the age of the rig. Atlas Copco always recommends what is best for individual customers. worldwide. Firstly. not only due to lifetime of components but also because operators tend to take better care of new equipment. the service costs are generally lower than for a comparable 10 year old rig. The three main pillars are: scheduled services in which we visit the machine every 250 or 500 hours and change exploration drilling . major factors in the equation are the level 48 A Service engineer from Atlas Copco visits a drill site during a Christensen Care program to check the rig on a recommended interval. overall care of the equipment. There simply is no better service than that performed by a trained Atlas Copco Service technician. using a service program adjusted to the specific equipment. The capital cost of a new rig is money well spent if the cost of service decreases dramatically compared with its predecessor. but the setup of the program will secure its maintenance and productivity. The program doesn’t ensure a certain percentage of rig availability. both in daily running costs and in residual value.
A complete and current service book also secures the resale value of the equipment.76 12.90 33. on selected parts. All costs in the tables (above and below) are specified in SEK. Atlas Copco Service will also protect your investment.00 18. or three years.33 30. lack of electricity.00 Meter 29.25 1. Of course. The extended warranty is for products up to one year old. Atlas Copco will reduce your total cost of ownership. Atlas Copco will visit the rig at the recommended intervals.23 Comparison between atlas Copco care program and normal/average in-house service The calculation is based on experience from a number of customers during the last 5 years working in various kinds of environments. application knowledge to optimize drilling with our Service technician evaluating the overall drilling operation. the care program can be used for older rigs. During the care program.83 528. inspection protocols whereby we carry out inspections according to a standard list. with less downtime due to the better performance of genuine spare parts and the professional services of trained engineers and technicians. Power unit and Trido. where the CARE program is the tool we use.00 25. We can only act together with our customers with a goal to achieve the above. ** Change of location.00 125.00 600.90 8 160. *** Standstills due to brake-downs or service. protecting your investment and your overall business.00 60. Timely delivery of the correct parts ensures quality and availability. and extended warranty where we offer extended warranty up to 5 000 hours.00 50.69 33.00 25. input data of rig Financial Purchase price* Depreciation time (number of years) Residual value Interest Insurance/tax cost/year availability Total workdays/year Number of shifts (number/workday) Length of shifts (h) Standstill due to misc reasons** (days) Mechanical availability*** effective operational hours 220 2 8 20 85% 2400 2 000 000 7 300 000 5% 10 000 * Total price including rig.73 13. increasing the mean time between failures on many parts. set-up time. When using our care program you will benefit from correct service and genuine spare parts.39 Outdata with Care program Fixed costs Depreciation Interest Insurance/tax Operating costs Energy Water Labour Bits ITH Spare parts PM/Service Unplanned service Total cost Metres per year income/metre core 60.00 125.00 50.00 84. fuel. software upgrades. Outdata without Care program Fixed costs Depreciation Interest Insurance/tax Operating costs Energy Water Labour Bits ITH Spare parts PM/Service Unplanned service Total cost Metres per year income/metre core 60. or 1 000 hours.38 469. Other pillars in a care program can be: satellite monitoring system on surface rigs.00 95. exploration drilling 49 . Profit as % of income per meter Profit as % of income per meter anders Björk Cost/meter core Profit/meter core Cost/meter core Profit/meter core Note: Figures serve as an example from existing customers and Atlas Copco can not be held responsible if the outcome is not according to the above figures.00 600.89 1. water or ITH. but without the extended warranty option.33 30. Protecting the investment Keeping the rig running is not only about having high availability and quality assured production.90 7 200. in much the same way as for private cars.00 Meter 33.Talking TeChniCally filters and oils.
The chosen fleet comprised two Christensen CS14 core drilling rigs capable of drilling to 1 540 m with B size wireline. and negotiations with clients at all the main Zambian mines. Luanshya Mines. 2007 and already proud owners of five Atlas Copco core drilling rigs. because Atlas Copco was in a position to provide favourable credit and equipment leasing terms. and monitoring the execution of the projects. he adopted a hands-on approach. contract proposal writing. equipment leasing Through managing the Mpelembe drilling equipment fleet. earning their respect and trust.luanShya. Kris worked for Mpelembe Drilling for 22 years. long experience Based in Kitwe. Prior to starting Blu Rock. drilling for replacement of copper ore reserves is essential to the long term future of the local mining industry. and three Christensen CS 1000 exploration drilling . taking responsibility for project planning. Redrilza Ltd. ZaMBia Confirming the future of Zambian copper new player A recent addition to the ranks of Zambian deep drilling firms is Blu Rock Mining Services. and is currently carrying a high priority. The founder. This was a considerable help when he decided to plan the establishment of Blu Rock Mining Services. Blu Rock Mining Services has long and specific experience in the deep drilling sector. and business is booming for Blu Rock and its affiliates. the strategic hub of the Zambian mining industry. and was a member of the management buyout team that took over the operation from Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) in 1997. Consequently. Exploration drilling with a CS1000 core drill rig at Muliashi. he got to know most of the country’s senior mining executives. Offering technically-advanced equipment for drilling the accurate holes required for what are very carefully monitored geotechnical and exploration projects seems to have found a niche in the market on the Zambian Copperbelt. This enabled the company to get up and running with five new Atlas Copco rigs. formed in March. engineers and experienced drill operators. Polish-born Kris Jedrzejczyk. On contract drilling jobs. Kris Jedrzejczyk established a constructive and professional relationship with Atlas Copco. and also as a 50 director of the specialist underground diamond drilling company. After many years of depletion. has worked in drilling and shaft sinking for nearly 30 years.
Baluba should then be able to increase mine production to 6 000 t/day while Muliashi is presently expected to contribute 60 000 t/y copper and 1 500 t/y cobalt at full rate output. with the overall aim of confirming future copper and cobalt resources. luanshya improvements The LCM management team.5 kW diesel engine. Managing Director. and so. Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM). which can now process 10 000 t daily. Power is supplied by a Tier 3 Cummins diesel engine rated at 153 kW. and USD 354 million to develop a new open pit mine at Muliashi. LCM. Now LCM intends to invest a further USD 50 million at Baluba. coring for process metallurgy test work needed for the feasibility study. in particular. This rig may start core drilling waste dumps in the area. as they drilled 2 000 m in the first two months of the contract. Foreman. 2006 through to September. 2008. The contracts involve exploration. 2008. Using the new fleet of Atlas Copco rigs has paid off. in particular to modernize the hoisting shaft. Baluba has been mining 5 000 t/day. At Kakosa. north of Chingola in the direction of Chililabombwe. the company has started a feasibility study for mining the Mashiba sulphide orebody. It has 40 kN hoist lifting capacity and 90 kN pull from the 1. or 208 hp. Blu Rock. which could add a further 6 000 t/y to LCM copper output. is working at the Fitwaola open pit to monitor the dip and grade of the orebody. Atlas Copco and Kris Jedrzejczyk.5 m feed with main hoist capacity of 80 kN and 138 kN hydraulic feed cylinder. expects to employ a further 1 000 people during construction. which first appeared in Atlas Copco Mining & Construction magazine 1-2008. initially extracting oxide ore reserves. and is expected to produce 24 000 t in 2007. a CS 1000 is exploration drilling to an average depth of 200 m to find a continuation of the Chingola orebody. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is very grateful to Kris Jedrzejczyk and his company Blu Rock for assistance received in the preparation of this article. Chingola-Chililabombwe in the west. geometallurgical and geotechnical drilling within two of the Copperbelt’s long-established mining areas. following up on a reverse circulation drilling programme that KCM has started. The rigs were delivered and commissioned over a period from December. John Kakumbi. The third rig is drilling a limited number exploration drilling Reviewing the progress: From left: Luciano Chikabo. of which 9 000 m had to be completed by April. of holes to assess lime resources that KCM might be able to use. Power is from a Cummins 4 cylinder 86. Sales Manager. The pit is in operation on a daily basis.83 m stroke feed system. Blu Rock’s rigs were contracted to drill a total of 15 000 m. Meanwhile. The Christensen CS 1000 is a lightweight basic rig of simple design that can be flown to site. headed by CEO Derek Webbstock. They are currently working under contract for two of the regions’ new generation of companies. Other recently won contracts seem to confirm Blu Rock’s winning formula. to check for residual metal content. Blu Rock. 51 . The CS14.COnFiRMing The FuTuRe OF ZaMBian COPPeR P4 rigs for conventional or wireline coring down to 1 030 m with B size wireline. has already invested USD 50 million in upgrading both the Baluba mine and the concentrator. are drilling for LCM on the Muliashi and Mashiba projects near Luanshya to provide information for the detailed design of new surface mining and processing facilities. The trailer mounted Christensen CS14 is equipped with a 3. one of the CS1000 rigs was used to recover 48 mm core from a depth of 450 m to provide geometallurgical information for the mine planners and process engineers working on the Muliashi project. a CS14 and a CS 1000. 2007. where they had drilled a total of 10 000 m by the end of June. and Luanshya towards the eastern end. which presently employs 2 400 people. a much higher rate than previously achieved. although only 400 will be required for the operational phase. and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2009. The remaining two rigs. Meantime. yielding 21 000 t/y of copper. in order to avoid vibration damage to the drill string it is necessary to pull the rods each time production blasting is undertaken. long-term goal KCM has employed one CS14 and two CS 1000 rigs in the Chingola area. Phase 1 engineering has started at the Muliashi project. The CS14 drilled holes ranging from 20-70 m for the Mashiba project.
where the contractor drills BQ-size. Power is delivered from a 212 kW Cummins Tier 3 diesel engine with a exploration drilling 52 . complete units are supplied. This is evident in South Africa. eliminating manual making/breaking with pipe wrenches. resulting in more requests for bigger drills. including rig feed. bit life almost doubled. The CS 3001 is built on a well-proven concept that is continuously upgraded. Zaaiman Exploration Drilling commenced a five-year plan in 2006 to replace all of their existing conventional type rigs with Christensen CS rigs. On order are a further 2 x CT14 and 2 x CS 3001 that will be in operation by January. SOuTh aFRiCa atlas Copco exploration rigs prove reserves CS 15000 in operation at Polokwane. 9 x CS14 and 4 x CS10 machines. improving safety and productivity. 2009. As a result of the efficiency of the Christensen CS rigs. main hoist and powerpack. With a main hoist single line pull of 139 kN and feed stroke of 3.WiTBank. handling 6 m rods with ease. a recent large platinum exploration project in the Northern Province was finished six months ahead of schedule. Currently Zaaiman Exploration Drilling operates 2 x CS 1500. Drilled metres increased on average from 800 to 1 200 m/machine/ month. As an added bonus all rigs are equipped to make and break the drill string with the rig. Powerfully efficient The current range of exploration drill rigs from Atlas Copco Christensen offers great benefits to contractors in the industry.35 m. Speeds range from low to high to handle diamond drilling. Platinum exploration The trend in South Africa in platinum exploration is towards deeper holes. control panel. For this reason Zaaiman ordered another two CS 3001 drills. Directors Thinus and Rudi Zaaiman state that changing over to the CS machines has increased production substantially. it can drill B-size to 2 300 m and N-size to 1 830 m. Designed for truck mounting. from an average of 130 m to 220 m. Christensen rigs are powerful. it is equipped with four hydraulic levelling jacks. Five year plan From its head office in Witbank. as demonstrated in increased production and very little downtime. Importantly. and long masts pull 6 m to 9 m rods. w h e re Z aa i ma n E x p lo ra tion Drilling is operating 35 rigs in mainly coal and platinum exploration. In platinum. with enough torque to drill deep and with high productivity. For Zaaiman.
and now sets the trend for other to follow. With safety being such a big factor in the industry. ergonomics and safety and increased productivity all contribute to the market acceptance of the new generation. Reduced maintenance Atlas Copco Christensen rigs are built on the time-honoured concept of easy operation. the CS range has kept on developing. improved power. along with its legendary Aftermarket support. where maintenance costs dropped by two thirds because of less downtime and breakdowns compared to the old conventional type drills. Easy. and high capacity. the Christensen CS range of rigs are being used as the benchmark for production and safety standards in coal exploration in South Africa by major companies such as BHP Billiton. Anglo and Total Coal. The CS rigs have certainly proved their worth for Zaaiman Exploration. This type of performance. simple and durable technology. timesaving setup. exploration drilling 53 . have led Atlas Copco to its position as preferred supplier of all exploration drilling equipment and consumables to Zaaiman Exploration Drilling. The standard rig is equipped with hydraulic P-size rod clamp and hydraulic mud mixer. Coal benchmark Because of the built-in safety features. This is a relationship of many years standing. One of the first CS 1500 machines drilling for platinum. and are much more in line with safety requirements and standards than their counterparts. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to Drill Africa and Kyran Casteel for their assistance with the production of this article.CRaeliuS exPlORaTiOn RigS PROVe ReSeRVeS large 950 litre fuel tank. and is certainly one that will continue in the future.
The operators and supervisors always have to ensure that contracts are finalized in time. which are moved between sites after finished contracts. using mother holes drilled close to 500 m. offering superior bit life and penetration rate. Prelaunch testing of Excore was rigorous. In 2009. To meet these demands.ORkney. The fleet includes more than 40 drill rigs. Atlas Copco developed Excore as the next generation of diamond drill bits. but soon discovered that the ground at the mine posed some challenges. Some 46 holes were to be drilled. the drill bits did not cut. At that level of performance. The efficiency of the drilling tools is often a decisive factor in maintaining productivity and profitability. Challenging ground conditions Drillcorp is a South African based drilling contractor. as well as Brazil. when more pressure was applied it simply lifted the drill rig instead of cutting faster. The bits did not cut the hard rock as expected and. values of the ore 400-500 m below surface datum. Not surprisingly. At around 350-400 m depth wedges were placed. In the toughest spots. By the time that 10. drillers are always looking for diamond drill bits with faster penetration rates and longer service life. with operations in several countries in Southern Africa. Drillcorp had been running two drill rigs on separate locations to define the 54 Drillcorp in South Africa was one of the contractors where the Excore bit was tested successfully. The goldfield Drillcorp operated on has a well known ore. Orkney is a small town 250 km west of Johannesburg. the ground was fractured. but merely polished the bit.000 m had been drilled. The mine had been operated since 1991. Drillcorp was awarded a fivemonth contract for 20. and complicated to drill without getting stuck. as a new drill site is waiting for them somewhere else. with the first exploratory holes having been drilled as far back as the 1930s.000 m core drilling to define the ore values. and deviated holes were drilled out in steps of approximately 10 cm from the mother hole to define the ore around the centre. and is close to a goldfield with several mines. even when rock conditions change. SOuTh aFRiCa excore optimizes performance for Drillcorp More for less Core in the box determines exploration drilling company revenues and driller’s wages. exploration drilling . Drillcorp deployed drill bits similar to those used at earlier drill sites. but was closed during a change of ownership to explore and evaluate the prospects of further development. In addition. with thousands of metres drilled in six different countries under a wide range of conditions. Drillcorp was managing about 30 m/shift with a bit life of 60-70 m. To meet the timeline of the contract.
000 m of drilling. of which the last half was drilled with Excore. This gives a better result for the same 55 . added up to a significant productivity improvement! During the drilling operation. The Excore bit could be used throughout the operation to cut through all formations. and there is a risk for hole deviation or lower core sample recovery. As the rock conditions change. while wear on the drill string is reduced. Drillcorp did not change any settings on the drill rigs. coupled with a more than four-fold increase in bit life. This is not only important from an inventory perspective. excellent results At this stage. the rods may have to be pulled to change bit type.exCORe OPTiMiZeS PeRFORManCe FOR DRillCORP more drill rigs were needed to close the contract on time. This 80% higher penetration rate. with changes in design specifications. After closing the contract. on which Excore returned an average bit life of 280-300 m at a production rate of 54 m/shift. that Excore is simpler and more flexible. and a global team of experts put their heads together to re engineer the bit from basics. even for a few decimeters. They reason. it is easier to achieve straight holes and higher core sample recovery. With a longer bit life. When ground is difficult. where they knew that the rock conditions were not as challenging. The previously most successful bit designs were taken one step further. The higher penetration rate means a lot more to the driller than mere productivity. The experiences from the preceding diamond bit ranges were substantial. less frequent bit changes and rod pulling are required. Design and metallurgy in harmony The Excore drill bit technology is anything but a result by chance. The results were astounding on the remaining 10. by new matrices achieves an optimized balance between design and metallurgy. and used a variety of operators with differing levels of experience to get a fair result. but also operationally. The design and composition of the Excore bit line offers the world’s exploration drillers new levels of productivity in terms of longer bit life and higher penetration rates. it is possible to lower the weight on bit (WOB) and still hold a penetration rate equal or better than with other bits. They intend to try Excore again at this new site. allowing for more time to be spent on drilling. whereas Drillcorp had previously needed to stock six different bits on the shelf. the newly-developed Excore bit from Atlas Copco was introduced on the advice of engineers at Atlas Copco Exploration Products Africa. They found that a single Excore bit type could handle all of the formations in the Orkney area. and drilling will be easier. Drillcorp moved on to another drill site in the same region. With less pressure on the bit. Improved crown designs complimented exploration drilling Drillcorp had a contract of 20 000 meters core samples.
56 exploration drilling .exCORe OPTiMiZeS PeRFORManCe FOR DRillCORP Caption? The Excore diamond bits set a new standard for production rate and bit life as it was released to the market.
Bit for purpose Willie Smit is Drillcorp’s site manager. The driller does not need to have experience and knowledge of the rock conditions hundreds of metres below surface. It is also a bit of simplicity. there is an Excore bit for every formation. It saves us a lot on not needing to do this. very abrasive to slightly abrasive and very fractured to slightly broken formations (Matrix series 1-4). the JET profile for fast cutting in competent formations. abrasive to slightly abrasive. Drillcorp ordered 20 additional Excore bits to enable the contract to be finalized on time. “This is an excellent bit. Drillcorp normally would expect to change bit at least three more times for that hole. A solution using the newly-developed Excore bit was suggested by Jimmy Erasmus. And the logistics manager will benefit with less overall inventory. of pulls to replace bit Time to pull rods Capacity Total time to drill Total time per hole 65 m 8 bits 7 pulls 14 hrs 30 m/shift 118 hrs 132 hrs Excore 290 m 2 bits 1 pull 2 hrs 54 m/shift 74 hrs 76 hrs More performance with fewer bits Excore is not only a bit of performance. Table 1: a calculation shows that for a mother hole of 500 meters. “If we need to pull rods to change the bit it may be for only a few decimeters. adding “especially for the ground conditions we have experienced. and I would recommend it to anyone”. and Face Discharge design for extremely broken and triple tube applications. As the Excore bit had not yet been released to the market.” Statements: “The new bit replaces six other bits needed in stock”. Store supervisor and buyer for Drillcorp. Combining these features with different available crown heights. The first test showed 302 m bit life compared to the normal 60-70 m using the previous bits! After the trial. site manager. Normally a variety of bits has to be stocked at site to cover all expected rock formations. meaning that fewer bit types will be needed. With fewer choices. However. the new Excore bit. His background. Says Willie Smit. the bit still had some life left. when rock conditions allow the driller to push for maximum speed. sales engineer from Atlas Copco Exploration Products Africa. moderately fractured to competent formations (Matrix series 5-8). and Very hard to extremely hard. with 17 years of experience of core drilling.” “We need bits for hard and soft rock. because the Excore bits will help him in his judgment. Excore bits optimize the drilling rate vs WOB. performance and attitude have earned him the title of supervisor of the year at Drillcorp in each of the past two years. On the other hand.” acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to the management and engineers of Drillcorp South Africa for the contribution to this article. This bit was introduced into a partly drilled hole which had 250 m left to drill. Medium hard to hard. This results in a time saving of 40% to drill a 500 m hole. The Excore bit range is divided into three application segments: Soft to medium hard. “This makes our operation much more efficient. slightly abrasive to non abrasive. The bottom line is that Excore gives better results in a wide range of drilling conditions.exCORe OPTiMiZeS PeRFORManCe FOR DRillCORP operating parameters. emphasizing the fact that he has great pride in his worksite and equipment. a great result for the company and for Willie and his team. we don’t know which until we are in the formation. completed the hole without need for replacement. Drillcorp was offered a bit that had been part of the test program. very competent formations (Matrix series 9-10). of bits needed No. Indeed. and drilled another 52 m in the next hole. Each Excore type is available in various crown designs like the ECF (Extended Channel Flush) for broken to competent formations. comments Willie. time saving was: Previous bit used Bit life No. confirms Charl Sommers. Excore’s unique metallurgy and design ensures each bit type will cover a wider range of rock conditions. from 10-16 mm. exploration drilling 57 . needing at least six hours to pull rods. selecting the right bit is simpler. Willie and his drilling crews were not satisfied when it became clear that the drilling contract could not be fulfilled in time because of inadequate bit performance.
Guizhou. silver and other metals. one of which recently set a new record depth for a core drilling rig. and in their first year of exploration drilling . The country is already a major mineral producer. speed is of the essence. which is rich in gold resources. Better technology In 2007. 2007 by No 112 Geo-Survey Team Exploration Company of Guizhou Bureau (Team 112) which has been responsible since 2002 for exploring the Zhexiang section. The two rigs have been generally employed on exploration drilling to depths of 700-1 400 m. global production of mineral gold exceeded 2 447 t. and higher productivity is required. The combination of high price and demand in domestic and international markets has resulted in heightened interest in gold exploration. The rigs were bought in January. Guizhou Geo-mining Exploration Bureau (Guizhou Bureau) employed the latest exploration drilling technology at Shuiyindong gold mine at Zhenfeng. and is both a consumer and a world trader of its mining products. record that exceeds the drill’s maximum rated depth of 1 200 m.411 m. Shuiyindong mine A pair of Atlas Copco Christensen CS14 core drilling rigs are operating at Nayang section of Shuiyindong gold mine. of which more 58 than 10% came from China. Mining prosperity The mining industry in China is growing rapidly to fulfil huge demand for iron ore. In Guizhou province. Recently.guiZhOu. As always. coal. about 260 km away from the provincial capital Guiyang. China new record depth for CS14 core drilling rig Close-up of CS14 core drilling rig at work. where an Atlas Copco CS14 core drilling rig drilling NQ (75 mm) reached a depth of 1. The mine is located at the town of Zhexiang in Zhenfeng County. driven by improvement of drilling technology and equipment. where the basic geologic exploration is the responsibility of the Guizhou Bureau. extensive mineral exploration drilling is underway using Atlas Copco CS14 rigs. gold. The 176 000 sq km Guizhou province is in a plateau area comprising typical karst topography.
The orebodies in the Zhexiang section are usually at the bottom of the strata and explored using the wireline core drilling. operating 24 h/day.9 m/h. improved productivity During the initial trial operation. So far.33 times greater! During their first year of operation. and hole quality is under strict control. Their average penetration rate is a stunning 6. both CS14 core drills achieved a maximum penetration rate of 18 m/h in HQ (95 mm) hole sections. Team 112 is using three drill rigs. 2.83 times that of the XY-2000. 59 . amounting to 15 100 m. the two CS14 drills achieved maximum monthly productivity respectively of 1 618 m and 1 705 m.3 times and 1. The allowable tolerance of borehole zenith angle is 2 degrees for 0-100 m and 4 degrees for 100-200 m. recording maximum penetration of 70 m in a single 12 h shift. Their average monthly productivity was 1 074 m and 757 m. The rock core extraction in a hole exceeds 85%. The distribution of exploration boreholes in the mine is on a square grid measuring 160 m x 160 m. and there has been a very high rate of successful drilling.neW ReCORD DePTh FOR CS14 CORe DRilling Rig operation drilled a total of 17 holes. The two CS14 drills reached their record maximum depth of 1411 m in 42 days. Wireline coring is a relatively mature method of exploration in China. and the error must not exceed one thousandth. and achieves higher productivity through proper selection of penetration parameters and techniques for deep hole drilling. of which two are Atlas Copco CS14 core drills and the third is a locally-designed XY-2000 drill.5 m/h and 4. with high penetration rate and low labour input. while that of the XY-2000 drills was only 694 m.24 times that of the XY-2000. no cores have been discarded.56 times and 2. Their average hourly productivity in the year was respectively 4. which is 5. Rectification is a must for every 100 m. The CS14 displays superior speed and stability to that of the XY-2000 rig. At Zhexiang section.6 times that of the XY-2000. exploration drilling Collecting core samples from the inner tube. equating to 2.
60 exploration drilling .neW ReCORD DePTh FOR CS14 CORe DRilling Rig Core washing at the rig shows perfect recovery.
and carries out vigorous cooperation with domestic and foreign mining companies such as Aohua Mining from Australia. lead and zinc. Safety and training A project office has been set up at the Zhexiang section. and increases customer confidence in Atlas Copco products. operation and maintenance training has been provided by Atlas Copco to teach the operators about the drill functions. the Bureau has accomplished a total mechanical core drilling of 6. the two Atlas Copco CS14 rigs drilled a total of over 14 000 m. The site follows standard operation procedures. and geological disaster prevention for Three Gorges.neW ReCORD DePTh FOR CS14 CORe DRilling Rig with deviation controlled within the allowable tolerance. coal. with the CS14 rigs being maintained by specially assigned people. so it is necessary to carry an inventory of exploration drilling exploration bureau Founded in 1957. Guizhou Geo-mining Exploration Bureau is a government institution at the provincial department level with comprehensive functions including: basic geological survey and research. and how to improve productivity. geological environment survey and evaluation. mercury. phosphor. Installation. and a first class safety record. aluminium. Typical CS14 core drilling site in the Guizhou region. When unstable rock or stratum conditions are encountered during the drilling operation. The target for 2008 is 20 000 m. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to the management and engineers at Guizhou Bureau who contributed to this article. and the diameter of the rock core is over 40 mm. The CS14 uses imported Atlas Copco drill strings. and ordered ancillary equipment such as drill strings and drill tools along with the CS14. The bureau is satisfied with the aftermarket service of Atlas Copco. By the end of March. The Bureau also takes an active part in some infrastructure projects including coal exploration to enable power transmission from west to east. spares in order to shorten the supply cycle. In 2000. along with low noise. The Bureau has made breakthroughs in exploration of minerals like gold. Localized production and supply in China means quicker deliveries. good hydraulic system tightness. and mineral rock identification and testing. and praises the prompt response to problems. high degree of safety. Each group comprises 12 personnel working in shifts of three people. APC Mining from Canada. 61 . the Bureau established its business pattern: basic geology survey and research. and Zijin Mining in Fujian. providing a complete range of conventional and thin-wall wireline core drill strings along with traditional steel and aluminium core drill strings. quick installation. and are quick in installation and relocation of drill rigs. Atlas Copco is now a major world supplier of ISO certified exploration drill equipment and tools. iron. lead and zinc. and to Caroline He of Atlas Copco (Shanghai) Trading Co for collation of the performance data. slurry or pipes are usually used to protect the hole. Deep impression The CS14 has many merits including high penetration speed. The proven performance of Atlas Copco products and aftermarket service were big influences on the purchase decision. 2008 CS14 No 1 had achieved a total penetration of 8 446 m and No 2 had drilled 6 432 m to average depths of 770 m and 716 m. good borehole quality. Guizhou Bureau investigates all options before importing technically advanced drill rigs. The drill operators have a high level of enthusiasm. and compactness of the CS14. geological disaster survey and prevention. whose average service life is around 3 000 m. the diameter of the finished hole is 75 mm. hydrological engineering. XY-2000 drill uses home made drill strings. being a third smaller than traditional drills. manganese. Any burial of the drill bit will be immediately handled using a reverse thread drill string. and geological engineering. which is a great time saver. mineral exploration and development. As a safety precaution. In 2007. manganese and copper. mineral exploration and development. whose average service life is 8 000-9 000 m. Spare part supply is difficult to arrange in such a remote location. the machine is fitted with emergency stop buttons.6 million m and a total pit excavation of 280 000 m. In the last 50 years. The diameter of hole opening is 130 mm using locally produced drill pipes. which stop the drill immediately. It completed comprehensive survey of 180 000 sq km of land in the whole Guizhou Province and part of Tibet. The CS14 rig does not require derrick installation. managing three drilling groups with one drill rig apiece. and submitted many reports on mineral reserves including gold. and barite.
Three main ore types corresponding to mill products were mined. However. the mineralization had a Cr2O3 content of about 26 % and a chromium to iron ratio of 1. often introducing new proprietary technology that has been sold by Outokumpu Technology. and decided to try to develop a processing system to upgrade the ore. These were fine concentrate (12-100 pm particles). at the start of the 21st century. which at that time was primarily a base metals mining and smelting company. and Kemi is now the only mine owned by Outokumpu. The operation gained ISO 9002 quality certification in 2000. but satellite pits immediately east and west of the main pit were developed and mined out in the intervening period. Outokumpu was thus able to enter the stainless steel business. has resulted in Kemi utilizing advanced mining technologies for chromite extraction. of whom 130 work at Kemi. OTW became the company’s primary focus. in what has been a high wage economy. and traced back to a large stratiform deposit north of Kemi town. now known as the Outokumpu Tornio Works (OTW). The need to keep mining costs as low as possible. For the grade control drilling function. A pilot plant was set up at Kemi in 1966 to prove the feasibility of upgrading the Cr2O3 content sufficiently. It now comprises the mine. cost-effective feed to the ferrochrome smelter. Eventually. upgraded lumpy type (34-36% Cr2O3) exploration drilling . hot rolling mill and cold rolling plants and employs approximately 2 300 people. Moving underground Mine production started in 1968 on an open pit mineable part of the chromite deposit that comprised 11 ore bodies within a 4. The ore grade at Kemi still demands very careful mining and grade control to ensure the mineral processing plant can deliver competitive. These were identified as lumpy chromite.keMi. accurate grade control is crucial for the economic operation of the Kemi mining and processing system. 62 The Diamec U6 APC mounted on a crawler chassi. to other producers. steel melting shop. Equally. started in 1968. At that time Outokumpu intended to improve the chromium to iron ratio as part of the ferrochrome smelting process. the average being 40 m.5 km-long zone and varied from 5 m to 105 m in thickness. Even so. both properties being substantially lower than those of any chromite ore then in use for making ferrochrome. was interested. ready for operation. Outokumpu. the mine relies on an Atlas Copco Diamec U6 APC core drilling rig. but this plan was effectively overtaken by the development in the United States of the argon-oxygen-decarburizing process for making stainless steel which can utilize low chromium to iron ferrochrome. assisted by about 100 contractor personnel. Open pit output reached a maximum of about 1. which it subsequently expanded several times. During the summer of 1959. somebody reported finding “strange black rocks” in Kemi parish on the northernmost shore of the Gulf of Bothnia in Finland. Black rocks The main event that led to the creation of the integrated stainless steel operation is something of a legend.5 to 1. The first main pit to be developed continued until open pit mining ceased. and ferrochrome production at Tornio using hydroelectric power. Both mining at Kemi. The company had already embarked on nickel production as the basis for making stainless steel. Hence there has always been a need for rather precise grade control. probably to a greater extent than most other producers. FinlanD grade control at kemi mine Kemi mine is a crucial part of the Outokumpu stainless steel making operation at Tornio in Finland. which is drilling up to 12 km every year.2 million t/y ROM ore. and now Outotec. ferrochrome works.
gRaDe COnTROl aT keMi Mine The Diamec U6 APC set up for horisontal drilling. The primary mining method is bench cut-and-fill. as well as the equally important broader array of management information needed to maximize mine efficiency. which involved developing the underground mine from the side of the open pit while production continued in the pit. Five ore bodies with a dip of 70 degrees NW make up the 1. so the open pit mine was able to build exploration drilling up stocks of the feed types. The open pits had yielded a total of 31. Ore grade control in the open pit involved wireline diamond core drilling to determine boundaries and qualities of specific ore types. In addition.2 million t/y rate required to feed the ferrochrome smelter early in 2008. Physical separation techniques are used to produce the lumpy ore and metallurgical grade fines. This system has been extended and upgraded more or less continuously. Their geometallurgical and rock mechanical characteristics vary quite widely.5 km-long ore zone that is now being mined below the main open pit.15 million t of chromite ore when mining stopped. The Intelligent Mine Programme provided the mine and process plant with an advanced communications system to access and complement the information on Kemi’s master database. Sublevel caving provides a fall back option for maintaining the delivery of ore to the plant if the main mining operation is interrupted. As the output rate from the underground mine grew from 150 000 t/y in 2003. for instance if 63 . with some sublevel caving possible in parts of the mine where the blasted ore can be trucked out directly to the surface crushers. all blastholes were sampled. 2005 and until underground output reached the 1. so planning the stoping schedule to achieve the required feed grades needs very careful attention. from which the processing plant made (and still makes) 220 000 t/y lumpy concentrate (36% Cr2O3) and 420 000 t/y metallurgical grade concentrate at 44% Cr2O3. a Diamec 264 rig for grade control and other core drilling was deployed in 1996 for inventory drilling. In the 1990s Outokumpu planned a switch to underground mining. and only one type was produced from a specific working area because the initial process step will not work effectively with mixed ore types. and super upgraded lumpy (+36% Cr 2O3). To obtain the geological data. grade control Grade control and mineability were key factors considered in detailed underground mine planning for Kemi. To continue providing the data necessary for grade control from the underground operation. These were used after open pit mining ceased in December. Outokumpu developed an Intelligent Mine Information Technology programme.
minimizing feed variation and maximizing process stability. 2006 the mine geology team decided to acquire a new core drilling rig. Designed to cope with weak hanging wall rock and very variable 64 fragmentation. The crawler platform has the advantage that no disassembly is required before it moves. the A–N rotation unit with a 60 cc hydraulic motor. four or five stopes in the five ore zones are mined at any one time. The new machine augmented the Diamec 264 until the older rig was sold to Suomen Malmi Oy (Smoy). the optimal choice when ITH drilling at AQ size. However. Basic mineralogical data and process results for each ore stope are logged on a daily basis. As in the open pit. this is not possible with bench cut-and-fill. PU55E electric power unit with 55 kW motor and two hydraulic pumps. rather than the equivalent U4 model. 1 300 m wire line winch. The choice of the crawler platform rather than a skid reflects the main use that Kemi makes of the Diamec. The process team tries to . this technique typically yields only 7 000 t/blast. 2007. and then moving to another stope drive. and has an extra working platform with seat for using the APC unit. was a new Diamec U6 APC Automatic Performance Control rig. These standard components are mounted on the tracked crawler unit option. which trams with diesel power rather than the alternative skid mounting. and can be compared with daily and blast-specific production histories from the database. drilling relatively short holes from a stope drive to determine the ore boundaries. can provide. and 40-45 in a year. which has average width of 40 m and can yield reasonably consistent ore types. Diamec u6 aPC In August. Typically. on price and availability. has installed an internal water tank and retrofitted Atlas Copco’s RCS remote control system. the five ore bodies can still be differentiated along the ore body. The choice. together with historical processing data and current drilling data. mounted on the positioner arm. and most of the mine’s Atlas Copco units have it fitted. Trido 80H hydraulic flushing water pump with a capacity of approximately 80 lit/min. a major Finnish exploration drilling contractor. The specification selected included: the standard 1 800 mm feed frame. Kemi has added a cable drum at the back. The Kemi machine also has extra working lights. The RCS system works very well with Kemi’s W-LAN based communication system. In addition to this set up delivered by Atlas Copco in February.gRaDe COnTROl aT keMi Mine separate the ores for heavy medium separation and for milling between the two silos. the hoist is out of operation. exploration drilling The driller in action handling the drill rods. in order to yield appropriate feed tonnages for lumpy ore and metallurgical grade concentrate processing. The rig can tram at 2-3 km/h. and APC panel. Kemi’s mine production objective is to obtain the best possible mix for the process plant that mine planning. but for long moves uses a special carrier. whereas each 60 000 t ore blast in the open pit provided sufficient tonnage to be treated selectively at the concentrator. The powerful rotation unit of the Diamec U6 APC.
which can take at least a month. The Diamec is maintained by Kemi personnel. Carl Hansen. in dialogue with a Kemi operator. The core barrel is 48 mm-diameter. Fast rotation Kemi selected a fast rotation unit because the rig is drilling for narrow core. The Kemi operators. The skid mount is more cost-effective for drilling long exploratory holes up to 1 000 m. The sensitivity of the APC control contributes to the excellent bit life at Kemi. In a few places faulting has made the ore wider. particularly like the joystick control. but only an experienced driller can set the system parameters. penetration rate varies from as low as 20 cm per minute but is typically 30-35 cm/min. a very large amount by any standard. and automated microscope image analysis is used for establishing grain size distribution. Mining expansion Kemi chose the APC hydraulic control system rather than the Pilot Hydraulic Control PHC option for a number of reasons. but only an experienced driller can set the system parameters.gRaDe COnTROl aT keMi Mine whereas the power components must be disconnected from a skid-mounted feed frame. The sensitivity of the APC control contributes to the excellent bit life at Kemi. Not surprisingly given the ore variability. risking the entry of damaging particles into the equipment. who previously worked with the Diamec 264 and are therefore used to the APC system. Some drilling upwards into new mining levels is also underway. Kemi does not presently use the performance data downloading facility because the ore is too variable for the data to be of use in subsequent operations. assisted by the Atlas Copco technician on site if necessary. The APC is very easy for inexperienced drillers to use. However. Particular mention goes to Jyrki Salmi. rather than the usual two. All core is analyzed by OMS-logg downhole logging. accommodating 30-32 m-diameter core. automatic Performance Control Kemi chose the APC hydraulic control system rather than the Pilot Hydraulic Control PHC option for a number of reasons. mitigating the grinding effect of the extremely hard chromite. chief geologist. at the high end of the performance range for Diamec U6 machines. managermining.8 m feed and uses 3 m rods behind the core barrel. to over 100 m in some cases. at the high end of the performance range for Diamec U6 machines. a very large amount by any standard. The deepest core drilling to date has reached the -650 m level. which is 600-700 m with a recorded high of 900 m. penetration rate varies from as low as 20 cm per minute but is typically 30-35 cm/min. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to the management and staff at Kemi for their helpful inputs to this article. which is 600-700 m with a recorded high of 900 m. Kemi’s Diamec has a 1. which means the rig can be operated by only one person. The Diamec is maintained by Kemi personnel. Kemi does not presently use the performance data downloading facility because the ore is too variable for the data to be of use in subsequent operations. and Smoy has already carried out a core drilling programme at the -475 m level. assisted by the Atlas Copco technician on site if necessary. 65 . mitigating the grinding effect of the extremely hard chromite. The Kemi operators. so moves are infrequent. Rod life has been enhanced by fitting the bits with a reaming facility to bore an annulus around the rods. the Diamec usually drills three to five holes 40–70 m-long holes sideways from the stope drive wall through to the other side of the orebody. Timo Huhtelin. which means the rig can be operated by only one person. Atlas Copco colleague. It can also be used for remote control for operator safety. rather than the usual two. APC gives the driller freedom to empty core while the Diamec is drilling on automatic. Rod life has been enhanced by fitting the bits with a reaming facility to bore an annulus around the rods. using the new machine with Kemi operators to drill 2 in holes intended to yield geomechanical information. The mine is drilling 900-1 000 m/month in this application. The APC is very easy for inexperienced drillers to use. However. The mine is drilling 900-1 000 m/month in this application. Not surprisingly given the ore variability. who is now at Talvivaara. Additional sludge colour information is obtained from blasthole drilling. It can also be used for remote control for operator safety. and Jukka Pitkäjärvi. who previously worked with the Diamec 264 and are therefore used to the APC system. exploration drilling particularly like the joystick control. Since the orebody is normally 40 mwide. selection of the Diamec U6 did take into account the possibility of drilling very long holes when necessary. APC gives the driller freedom to empty core while the Diamec is drilling on automatic. However.
The Explorac 220RC has a full length underbody hydrocarbons spillage tray and Euro 3 emissions level rated deck engine. Collaborative design The new rig was designed by Atlas Copco in conjunction with Metzke Engineering in Australia. an integrated cyclone and sample collection system allows continuous. Among the key health and safety features on the rig are noise suppression to 82 dB(A) at 7 m distance. head of SBD Drilling. There are several critical factors in the design and use of the Explorac 220RC that combine to make this equipment efficient and profitable for the RC contractor. providing exploration drillers with the only RC drill rig on the market that is truly tailor made for the job. Sheldon Burt.PeRTh. a remote driller’s console. describes the Explorac 220RC reverse circulation rig as a world class rig that takes reverse circulation drilling to the next level. with userfriendly controls and hands-free handling of most downhole gear. Exploring for iron ore in West Africa down to 350-400 meters. exploration drilling . and the slips table height can be adjusted up to 1m to allow easy access to the drill hole collar. Atlas Copco has developed a completely new concept in its Explorac 220RC reverse circulation rig. and high-pressure plumbing mounted under the deck. Fast hydraulics. speed. Now. SDS Ausminco fire suppression system. means faster rod pulls and less time spent on other non-productive tasks. The variable position sliding dumping mast on the Explorac 220RC can be positioned at any angle from 45 to 90 degrees. drillers have had to modify existing rigs for RC drilling of deep exploration holes. a KL rod handler. In addition. Explorac 220RC reverse circulation rig mounted on crawler with 50 pipes rack. dust-free sampling with little or no pause in the drilling process. Until recently. metre rate drilled. 66 Downhole gear that has been optimized to match the rig air and hydraulics is important in order to maintain low drilling costs. Right equipment RC is a method known for its advantageous cost structure. WeSTeRn auSTRalia Reverse circulation drilling in australia expectations satisfied The technique of reverse circulation (RC) drilling is rapidly gaining ground as the method of choice for obtaining consistently high quality rock samples with speed and efficiency. maintained accuracy and sampling efficiency.
67 . All air lines are steel and designed for 70 bar (1 015 psi). but also clamps and holds any downhole gear or casing when breaking out. providing unequalled operator safety and maximum visibility of the drilling and tool handling processes. using 4½ OD RC dual wall pipes. adjustable panel gives comfortable and precise control over all drilling. The ergonomically designed. It can be positioned up to 10 m from the rig. The integrated display screen is clearly read in any conditions and shows all drilling information. both from the rig and from a rod truck or from racks that can be positioned anywhere within a 210 degree arc to the side or rear of the rig. it can be made available in the form of a Hurricane 6T booster rated to more than 1 133 lit/s at 69 bar (2 400 cfm at 1 000 psi). it is ideally rated for RC drilling and requires low engine power leading to significant fuel savings. and an Atlas Copco XRVS 466 auxiliary compressor rated to 453 lit/s at 25 bar (950 cfm at 365 psi). Multiple connection points are provided for safe positioning of an auxiliary compressor and/or booster compressor. Convenient controls The unique control panel is portable and rugged. With its high on board air capacity of 519 lit/s at 31 bar (1 100 cfm at 450 psi). A hydraulic sliding key/spanner retains the drill rods in normal operation. if backup air is required. exploration drilling Explorac 220RC reverse circulation rig mounted on truck. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to Metzke Engineering and Sheldon Burt for their assistance with the production of this article. the rig can drill to greater depths than conventional RC rigs. easy drilling The KL rod handler on the Explorac 220RC is a proven and versatile component. The onboard Atlas Copco XRX 12 compressor is a new. However. The front opens to 310 mm and not only guides the drill string. An intelligent engine management package linked with all other systems on the rig can adjust critical functions to provide optimum performance. It is operated by remote control. it has quickly become the mining industry benchmark unit for safety and performance. rod handling. and the hands-free hydraulic wrench performs all breakout functions safely. It provides hands-free loading. Troubleshooting is simplified because the electronic control unit manages all functions The Explorac 220RC is powered by the latest generation electronic Caterpillar C18 engine which exceeds Euro 3 emission standards. a version of which first appeared in Atlas Copco Australia house magazines. reliability and fuel efficiency. 30 bar pressure. unloading and stacking of drill pipes. RC drilling for gold deposits in Western Australia.ReVeRSe CiRCulaTiOn DRilling in auSTRalia Performance with safety Because the Explorac 220RC is designed specifically for the job. The fully hydraulic breakout table is extremely versatile. sampling and rig management functions. which also allows the head to be easily removed from the mast without disconnecting the feed chains. Adjustment. The rotation head is a proven. without the need for boosters and auxiliary power units. robust unit that has two high torque variable speed hydraulic motors driving through a single reduction. compressor and hydraulic system information and service data. This hands-free loading. alignment and maintenance are simplified with a unique mounting system. two stage rotary screw compressor. unloading and stacking of drill pipes makes the job easier and safer. parameters and warnings. reliable and easy to maintain. It also monitors and displays all engine. The integrated abovehead RC air and mud swivel is compact. Compact and lightweight. either by the driller or off-siders.
the drilling contractor does not have to rely on mining operations equipment for moving the unit. As the Diamec MCR moves by itself. Barminco has been one of Australia’s leading underground mining contractors. Saving time and effort The Diamec MCR (Mobile Carrier Rig) was developed to improve rig flexibility and mobility. and as all components such as power unit and control unit are fixed on the rig. taking only 25% of the time when compared to a traditional Diamec rig. The first standard product was based on a Diamec U6 PHC or APC carrier. Canada and Scandinavia. strength. both of which are well proven components. making aftermarket support much simpler. Diamec u6 MCR Key features of the Diamec U6 MCR are safety. Also. APC.COunTRyWiDe. Computer assistance. auSTRalia Diamec MCR in australia Diamec U6 MCR underground core drilling rig. and latterly expanding to other Australian states. boom and drill unit. As core drilling is heavy drilling. Ore definition drilling. plus Chile and Mexico. and reaches further in wider angles. The Diamec MCR has more flexibility. no disassembly is required. For 20 years. The main markets for the MCR rig are Australia. the 1. These features particularly suit the drilling of shorter holes in underground operations.8 m feed frame enables higher productivity. The greater mobility and ease of transport makes the rig independent from other mining production equipment. A major strength of the Diamec U6 MCR is that a single manufacturer supplies carrier. Barminco experience Customers for the Diamec U6 MCR are typically underground contractors and in house contractor teams in larger mining companies. and a well-proven solution with a high level of engineering. there is a need for a robust carrier. Setup and moving of the rig is much shorter. Both the Simba 1257 carrier and the Diamec U6 drill unit are robust. where the rig needs to be moved more often. The contractor has a range of experience with most underground mining methods from narrow vein small deposits to large scale sub-level caving exploration drilling 68 . well proven components. initially providing services to the mines in Western Australia. is available as an option. benefits by a reduction of one working shift per move.
creating more drilling time and increasing drilling output. for his inputs and assistance with reviewing this article. pinning of the rig base and the faceplate is also reduced. USA. By using stingers for short holes. and has gained a high regard for safe and efficient performance. The moving time of the drill rig has reduced greatly. All of these regions have mines where ore definition drilling is a necessity. and there is no need for jacking up the rig and power pack to fit wheels and tow bars. The chance of contaminants entering the hydraulic system is reduced by not having to de-hose when moving site. in Western Australia. they are achieving the expected savings in rig moving time. and a reduction in the trip hazards in the vicinity of the drill rig. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to David Miitel. while the drilling rates are comparable with other rigs. and now have three at work at different sites. Summary The Diamec U6 MCR is aimed at the main exploration markets in Australia. They are finding that. and where the MCR can reduce costs by increased availability to drill. by moving all of the drilling components as one piece from site to site. General Manager Diamond Drilling with Barminco Limited. exploration drilling 69 . and Scandinavia. Safety advantages include a reduced need to work at height when pinning the rig on up-holes. Canada. they are seeing a reduction in heavy manual labour when lifting gear onto the utility truck or trailer. The Diamec MCR in operation in Wiluna Mine. Barminco are using Diamec U6 MCR models in the Australian underground operations. One major advantage reported by the company is that. Secondary markets are in South America. The robust carrier and drill unit are designed for mobility and heavy usage in the underground situation.DiaMeC MCR in auSTRalia operations.
the biggest local producer of metallic nickel in South America. Rotary core drilling was employed as the sole method when dimensioning the original mineral bed to be exploited in Niquelândia for the Caron process. São Paulo State. Since 1957. and processes it to the metallic product in the district of São Miguel Paulista. This is being built alongside the existing mine and processing plant in Niquelândia. producer of nickel carbonate. the company has exploited the nickel ore in the district of Niquelândia. where annual world demand is growing by 4% to 6%. which is the main input for production of metallic nickel in São Miguel Paulista. BRaZil Reverse circulation technology wins in Brazil Complex task The prolonged run of high prices for nickel and its by-produc t cobalt on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has sparked a worldwide revolution in the nickel sector. irrespective of the ore being prospected. mainly due to the excellent results obtained with this method by Australian miners. exploration for nonferrous metal in Brazil was carried out by conventional diamond core drilling. Changing times Until two years ago. The new mine is located alongside the mineral bed being mined by the Caron unit. Goiás State. occurring along a strike of 20 km in the NNESSW direction. exploration drilling . so RC drilling was introduced by VMetais to supplement their core drilling effort. In Brazil. new reserves To support this new industrial project. the company needed to identify and to measure a new reserve of nickel ore. 70 The team members of V Metais standing in front of the Explorac R50 Reverse circulation rig. conventional core drilling is giving way to reverse circulation (RC). the portfolio of nickel-related projects is valued at US$4 billion and will add more than 240 000 t/y of the metal to the existing production of 37 000 t/y as concentrate. and contains total resources of up to 35 million t with a content of 1. the volume of drilling required for the new reserve warranted a faster system. however. Motivated by the continuing high international demand for nickel and its derivatives. matte and Fe-Ni alloys. and existing operations expanded. to supply heavy demands from emerging markets such as China and India. It is of the saprolitic type.gOiaS. Reverse circulation (RC) drilling using Atlas Copco Explorac R50 technology has been introduced at Votorantim Metais to speed things up. In the case of nickel ore exploration. The latter is widely employed in stainless steel production. following Canadian models which have been adopted as the parameter by virtually all Brazilian mines. To identify and define new reserves. metallic. are changing and new technologies are being introduced. to produce 10 600 t/y of contained nickel by the pyrometallurgical process. The times. and then to extract the nickel ore. is a complex task for which the start point is generally an exploration drilling project. The new reserve is distributed along the dunitic unit of the mafic-ultramafic complex of Niquelândia. New mining projects are being started. with an average thickness of 5 m. However. or 42 400 t/y of Fe-Ni alloy. VMetais has decided to increase capacity with a new project for Fe-Ni alloy production.3% nickel. The prime example of this change of methods is at Votorantim Metais (VMetais).
The chemical results were very similar to those obtained by rotary diamond drilling. it is necessary to have a compressor towed by a tractor to allow the operation of the drill. or at least be towed by a tractor on an improvized skid or crawler track. Detailed research was initiated in 2007 with a pattern of 25 m x 31 m to define the resources of the ore body in the category of “measured reserves”. the diamond core drill must be disassembled for transport and reassembled at each new workplace. while the two RC rigs drilled 8 000 m. In reality. and presented high recovery. whether drilling through loose material or solid rock. and was used as a test bed to establish the recovery and quality of samples using RC drilling. because of the better overall quality of the job. some only 8 m deep. and the existing Caron. improved drilling speed. To meet the target. The speed and mobility of the rig was monitored in steep and wet terrain. along with the volume of recovered samples and their chemical analyses. For 2009. In 2008. the Explorac R50 produces five times more than the conventional method. high mobility The RC drilling method was first utilized by VMetais in another nickel ore project.ReVeRSe CiRCulaTiOn TeChnOlOgy WinS in BRaZil Defining resources To identify the new ore body for the Fe-Ni project. However. or 10 to 15 m/shift. and the drilling speed in dry material was superior. VMetais plans to continue using RC drilling to define the resources in the ore body. The rig returned above 90% of each drilled metre. The Explorac R50 moved very well over differing terrain. Rod handling. Even so. and this makes the machine’s mobilization more difficult. in plain and dry areas. the company now employs the RC method using equipment supplied by Atlas Copco in all three lateritic nickel projects: Montes Claros. approximately 13 000 m were drilled by diamond core drilling. RC was quickly integrated into the company plans. VMetais are well satisfied with the drilling system and its productivity. and higher quality of the samples obtained. VMetais drills up to 150 m/ day of shallow holes that are close to each other. After comprehensive comparisons between core drilling and RC. Because the rate of rotary diamond core drilling could not keep up with the required schedule at Niquelândia. and with problems promptly attended to and solutions found. and appreciate the support given by Atlas Copco. Fe-Ni. they say. some 18 conventional rigs were needed to achieve 13 000 m of drilling. with diameters from 5 in to 5. The holes in the exploration area were shallow. Because the rig is equipped with crawlers. where study of the lithologic contact was better than metre-by-metre sampling. compared to a maximum of 45 m/day obtained by the rotary diamond core drilling system. and ideally suited to the mobility of the Explorac R50. In more steep topographies. The result of the chemical analyses varied only at the ore to waste rock transitions. By comparison. Montes Claros in Goiás State. it can move easily in the difficult terrain of the drilling sites in Niquelândia. Significantly. which. This proved to be the most important function of the low productivity of the core drills. The comparative test involved drilling of a hole with the Explorac R50 at a 2 m distance from an existing core drilled hole. and 8 000 m performed by reverse circulation process using rotary percussive equipment. this does not affect the final result. diamond core drilling was abandoned in favour of the RC method. The Atlas Copco technical team has made many visits following startup of the Explorac R50 to help with maintenance and to advise on operation of the drilling system. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to the management at VMetais for their inputs to this article and for permission to publish. easier transportation flexibility of the equipment and its operation. after a comparison of the results from the chemical analyses involving the two drilling methods. an Atlas Copco Explorac R50 was introduced. In 2007. is always very rapid. 2007 and. was faster. RC production is as much as 10 times that of the conventional method. the company decided that all future exploration drilling will use the rotary percussive method with reverse circulation. exploration drilling Shallow holes Due to the fact the holes are very shallow. and a total of 18 000 m of exploration drilling was undertaken using the new method. of optimum quality.125 in. This was the first such unit to arrive in Brazil. so is inconsequential in this situation. production delays were minimized. Comparative testing Tests were initiated in August. 71 . because the rig needed to move many times each day. and dimensioning of the mineral reserves for the Fe-Ni project was spee ded up. some 38 000 m of core drilling on a pattern of 62 m x 50 m was undertaken between 2004 and 2007. Using RC drilling with the Explorac R50.
The improved control panel on the Diamec U6 enables full control over drilling. and located in the Canadian province of Manitoba. drain the water and get the overshot off. moving the rig to different drilling locations in a single operator environment made it an impractical proposition. The mine is also impressed with the drill’s design. It needed to be portable enough to be moved from station to station. consumable. unique challenges Developed in 1957. complemented by high performance diamond bits. Gerald Carrier D1 Diamond Driller and Supervisor exploration drilling . based on past experience. at a 850 m hole depth (2789') it is hard to hold the tube. for a total of 1. Until this point. Diamec u6 The compact design and flexible positioner allows a single operator. because it is an integrated unit. manoeuvrability and overall production. and safe enough for one-man operation. Atlas Copco supplied a capital. working alone.95 million kg of nickel. mechanical availability and durability. They needed to commission a new drill for the exploration project and. they had been using a skid-mounted Diamec 252 core drilling rig. narrow enough to fit in the cage. a helper is not required and. “I’m very pleased with both the ease of use. With the Diamec U6. the turntable option enables the drill to quickly be positioned in the horizontal plane. I would absolutely recommend this unit to my drilling colleagues”. In addition. it is much faster to move around to different set-ups. Canada is a situation where Atlas Copco has been quick to respond to the customer’s need for innovative products and after market services for exploration in extreme conditions. To satisfy the rigorous demands of this project.ManiTOBa. where unique challenges had Vale Inco’s Manitoba Operations seeking innovative and efficient solutions. the Thompson T-1 shaft first began production in 1959 and to date has produced more than 70. It is currently at a depth of 1 341 m. giving the driller more time for emptying core barrels and preparing equipment. However. which had given consistently good performance. mine. Vale Inco needed a rig that would work on multiple levels in the same 72 Drilling with BOTW Thin wall core barrels in underground application.7 million metric tons of ore. were chosen to optimize the mobility and ergonomics of the Diamec U6 core drilling rig design features and realize the full productivity efficiencies of the complete package. In addition. and total care solution. CanaDa Thin wall core barrels improve productivity lighter means faster Vale Inco’s ore body exploration in the T-1 shaft at its Thompson minesite in Manitoba. their first call was to the Atlas Copco office in the provincial capital of Winnipeg. and Atlas Copco impregnated diamond core bits. Vale Inco Manitoba Operations is using exclusively Atlas Copco ITH products for this project. noting improvements over what they have used in the past. Highly productive double tube thin wall core barrels with light weight wireline drill rods. Exploration is now being conducted at the 2800 ft level (850 m). to set the feed frame in any vertical position from +90 to -90 degrees without moving the wireline hoist. including older areas with spacerestricted access and different electrical requirements. Most drills run as a two-man operation because.
The NPS survey involves the entire Atlas Copco organization and considers transactional surveys. Atlas Copco and Vale Inco are taking their relationship to the next level by working together to develop an in-house drilling programme at the Thompson mine. the weight reduction is a benefit for Vale Inco operators. and all the tools in between. D1 diamond driller and supervisor. Canada and Bradley Woytkiw. For drill rods. require less feed force and yield higher penetration rates. which assists them in product development and actively triggers improved service and communication with customers such as Vale Inco. Atlas Copco staff are experts on what the bits and core barrels have been designed for. and effectively extends the depth capacity of their drill. such as when drills are delivered and when on-site maintenance and technical services are performed. having to cut less rock surface area. ( core diameter ) but they’re a lot more durable for the conditions and depths we’re dealing with here. checking the operating parameters against productivity and figuring out which product combinations work best under each specific condition. a customer-centric feedback survey. acknowledgements Atlas Copco is grateful to the management of Vale Inco. testing them with the operator. Customer communication The commitment to superior productivity through dependable and innovative quality In-The-Hole products is a two way street.” Bradley Woytkiw Driller Diamec U6 core drilling rig using a Thin wall drilling package. for their contributions to this article and permission to publish.exPlORaTiOn PaCkage SOluTiOn iMPROVeS PRODuCTiViTy in ManiTOBa Thin wall The project is taking full advantage of the AOTW and BOTW double tube thin wall core barrel designs. 73 . from the drilling rig to the bit. thin wall core barrels are used in all borehole orientations at Vale Inco. Vale Inco Manitoba Operations uses exploration drilling the full Atlas Copco line of exploration products and services. driller and Gerald Carrier. The Winnipeg location makes getting tools. without any increase to nominal borehole diameter. which translates into lighter weight drill rods and thinner diamond bits. These are a little larger barrel. Some calculated trial and error is employed when finding the perfect combination of In-The-Hole tools for this type of underground project. supplying a range of products. Atlas Copco uses their Net Promoter Score (NPS). parts and service to the operator much more streamlined. Complementary diamond bits. Thin wall systems are built around speciality application tubing having thinner cross sections. “We’re averaging between 24 and 37 meters (80 to 100 feet) per shift. Like many other end users. and are often extended to increase the total amount of productive drilling time by reducing tripping of the tools in deeper holes. Ruggedly built by design. Vale Inco extract a more representative sample volume and increase measurable core recovery with a larger diameter core sample.
uncommon ground While core drilling technology has advanced steadily since the 19th century. magma. there are still several basic. or molten rock. CanaDa groundbreaking technology in the Valley of gold Forage Mercier crew at Val D’Or. Cadillac fault During the early part of the 20th century. The magma carried with it precious metals such as gold and silver. directly along the fault. rose and solidified within the fracture. Drilling to depths of 1 200 m to 1 800 m is common where the ground is mainly hard rock. testing contractors and equipment to the limit. Jean-Claude Gendron. all of them located along what is known as the Cadillac fault. Major investment The Cadillac fault is a major structural feature of the geology of the area. The introduction by Atlas Copco of its BT rods. some 80% of all the investments in Quebec’s mineral exploration and ore deposit development are currently made in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Nord-du-Quebec regions. exploration drilling conditions have always been difficult. It is a break in the earth’s crust that extends from Timmins in the west to Val D’Or in the east. limiting factors that will determine the depth to which a borehole can be drilled. but with limited success. has produced a marked improvement in results. However. Subsequently. many mines were developed in ore bodies discovered near these communities. a exploration drilling 74 . Drilling contractors have to put their skills and experience to the test on every hole. During the upthrust. These included coppergold at Rouyn-Noranda in 1922 and gold at Val D’Or in 1925. covering a stretch of ground approximately 400 km-long and 5 km-wide.QueBeC. geological challenges demand not only superior product technology and performance. Since the first discovery of gold in the 1920s. major discoveries in precious metals were made in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Québec. the ability to explore at any significant depth along the Cadillac fault has been tested again and again. as well as copper and zinc. part of the upthrust that created the Canadian Shield billions of years ago. Vice-President of Operations for Forage Mercier Inc. In Val D’Or and other regions along the Fault. formed when the Canadian Shield broke over 3 billion years ago. with a rated depth capacity of 2 600 m. but also superior contractor competence.. Because of its economic importance.
75 . the drillers went through some very bad ground and had to cement more than exploration drilling ten times. As a result. and allow more torque to be used without danger of damage or galling. during which time Gendron and his team have developed a strong relationship with the staff at the Atlas Copco office in Val D’Or. has been doing mineral exploration along the Cadillac fault for over 43 years. giving them the information to solve specific problems. readjustment would be required frequently because of worn threads shifting the rods off angle. Normally. Once the wedge is placed and the deviation of the hole has been achieved. This is due primarily to the fact that there is a wait of at least eight hours between grouting to allow for drying. but not with BT rods. so they feel this is really a superior product across the board. This would have been very hard on the threads prior to the change. When Atlas Copco technical personnel visit the job sites they work with the drillers. The entire procedure involved in positioning a wedge in a drill hole to achieve a required deviation can often take up to two shifts. this is no longer the case. operators have noted that the drill string doesn’t bend at the joints due to worn threads. which is fairly steep. Because of the stronger threads. plus a couple of wedges. where previously the O-threads were experiencing a lot of strain. along with the BT rods. the corebarrel is re-inserted on the drill string and normal drilling resumes. exceeding their expectations not only for depth. In the event additional deviation is required. on the recommendation of his representative from Atlas Copco. Gendron says the BT threads are tougher. Straighter holes More than depth. He is involved in gold exploration for a Val D’Or-based client where the prospect straddles the fault. to maintain the integrity of each hole. including drill rods and diamond bits. for over 20 years. and in particular Jean-Claude Gendron. mud. which are exclusive to Atlas Copco.gROunDBReaking TeChnOlOgy in The Valley OF gOlD company specializing in surface exploration diamond drilling in Val D’Or. the goal of this project is to drill a straighter hole. sand. Furthermore the Tuff Rod allowed the Forage Mercier team to reach a record depth of 2 378 m. another wedge is installed after 60 m and the process is repeated. for their assistance with this article and permission to publish. However. From the left to the right: Jean-Claude Gendron. The standard setup is for drilling at 85 to 87 degrees. and has presented his team with unique geological challenges. At one location. meaning replacements can be required every 16 000 m. He reports that the new rods work very well in the broken ground. Forage Mercier and Christian Bergeron. The Forage Mercier team is using an upgraded Atlas Copco B15 drilling rig. Wearing metal against metal in abrasive cemented and wedged ground is known to be extremely hard on the rod joints and overall rod life expectancy. Sales representative. Gendron replaced the BO drill rods he had been using with BT rods. has given them excellent results in the field. or 7 800 ft. They are drilling through layers of abrasive ground. as part of their own project team. acknowledgements Atlas Copco would like to thank Forage Mercier. 2008. It is a time-consuming process and can be hard on the drilling rigs and in-the-hole tools. considerable cementing and wedging is required. but also for overall integrity and life of the rod threads. Tougher threads In April. and very hard and broken rock in which. the company now spends more time drilling with the string. commonly reducing the life of the rod string by about 20%. Forage Mercier observes that the resolution of the difficulties with the rods at Cadillac fault is typical of the way in which Atlas Copco supports its clients. all of which is important for the drillers and conditions at the Cadillac fault. which. Vice-President. Atlas Copco. and less time pulling and replacing rods. Forage Mercier has been relying on Atlas Copco inthe-hole tools. or 50 000 ft.
with only minor modifications. the choice was easy. The threading and unthreading operations on the Christensen CS3001 were exploration drilling 76 . location of the project The Hilarion project is located 50 km south of Antamina. Perú. Christensen CS3001 selection The Christensen CS3001 was chosen for this project mainly due to the capacity of the equipment and the good results obtained in similar campaigns where deep drill holes of 1 000 m in NQ were required at up to 45 degrees inclination. PeRu Christensen CS3001 works well in extreme conditions Discussions about the performance and design of a Christensen CS3001 surface core drilling rig at 4800 m above sea level. The local climate suffers extreme weather conditions due to 4 200-5 000 m altitude and temperatures as low as -15 degrees C. the drilling capacity. The total number of drilling rigs engaged on the project is 16. The prospecting licence area covers some 8 512 hectares of a skarn type polymetallic reserve of ZnAg-Pb. The Christensen CS3001 surface core drilling rig has the mobility. and the power to operate under extreme conditions of altitude and weather. in the department of Ancash.anCaSh. Problems and challenges When long-standing Atlas Copco customer Lucho Rodriguez from Geotec in Peru needed to get big drilling performance on his Hilarion contrac t in the high Andes. and 13 km south of Mitsui’s Huanzalá mine. three of these are Christensen 3001 core drilling rigs. the world class Cu-Zn reserve. The campaign demanded 85 000 drilled metres to 1 000 m depth using NQ pipe in limestone with presence of silica.
Service Manager at Geotec in Peru for his contributions to this article and permission to publish.5 m/ hour at 87% availability. Two shifts every day are spent on drilling operations. The main hoist capacity is 133 kN. the Christensen CS3001 is equipped with a high altitude kit to ensure operation in situations where the air is much thinner than normal. exploration drilling 77 . The worksite is located at extreme altitudes in the Andes. improved visibility of main and wireline hoists. Rated at a drilling capacity of 1 830 m. Feed length is 3. As this type of drilling rig may find its way into high terrain. and lift capacity of the feed is 155 kN. and a drillhead with P size 117 mm spindle.to deep-hole exploration drilling rig. this truck mounted model features a hydraulic slide mounted control panel with all drilling and engine controls in one location. Christensen CS3001 specification The Christensen CS3001 is a field proven concept that has become exceedingly popular amongst contractors looking for a tough medium.35 m. contaminating the oil.3L turbocharged aftercooled diesel engine. The rig’s main features are a Cummins 6 CTA 8. One shift/day comprising three mechanics and two foremen is spent on maintenance of the fleet of rigs. maximum 1 300 rev/min. where the previously accepted risks of accidents and breakdown were replaced by safety and speed. and fourspeed transmission. requiring one driller and two helpers. Maintenance and service talks between Lucho Rodriguez and members of the drill crew. and rod pull length is 6 m. These were resolved by replacing the excluder seal on top of the head by two oil seals. acknowledgements We thank Lucho Rodriguez. in particular.ChRiSTenSen CS3001 WORkS Well in exTReMe COnDiTiOnS known to be much safer and more efficient in similar long hole drilling projects. The drilling rate achieved by the Christensen CS3001 at Hilarion is 3. This provides fingertip control of all functions and facilitates a good view of the worksite and. One of the three Christensen CS3001 surface core drilling rigs at the Hilarion project runned by Geotec. Some problems were experienced initially with the Christensen CS3001 drill head when water and mud entered the unit. maximum torque 4 800 Nm.
The Diamec 232 is also aluminium-free for use in coal mines. This in turn offers quicker moves between drill sites. The rig is equally efficient for surface drilling operations. power output Main optional equipment • Electric or diesel driven power unit with a basic design and with a double hydraulic pump set-up for optimal operation • Column mounting Main specifications Diamec 232 Basic data Max depth Diameter Max speed Max torque Feed force Feed length Modules Flush pump Power unit* 120 m (A) 50 mm 2 200 rpm 250 Nm 20 kN 850 mm Trido 45 PU 20E or PU 20D 400 ft (A) 2" 180 lbf ft 4 500 lbf 33 1/2" 500 230 0 151 * Electric (E) or diesel (D) 1400 Visit www. makes the Diamec 232 easy and fast to set-up for c drilling. Features • All hydraulic operation • Mechanized rod handling • Hinge mounted rod holder and rotation unit • Low weight and compact design for easy to move around • Impressive rod running speed • Variable hydraulic motor on rotation unit for step less regulation of spindle speed keeping max. ideal for coring in narrow tunnels or galleries as well as in other cramped spaces underground and for grout hole drilling. thereby complying with another statutory requirement in underground coal mines.com 78 exploration drilling DIA ME C2 32 . or grouting sequences in dam galleries.atlascopco.CORe DRilling RigS Diamec 232 Diamec 232 is an all-hydraulic drilling rig. Compact design and light weight. this machine can be used with HFC (water/glycol) flameproof liquids in the hydraulic circuit. without disturbing normal production routines in the mine. Combined with a special designed power unit.
Diamec U4 is ideal for both conventional and wire line drilling. Ideal for both underground and surface drilling.com exploration drilling 79 . user-friendly and productive core drilling rig in it's size available on the market today. two chassis models and two types of control systems. for optimal underground drilling • All new rod holder with the latest gas spring technology • State-of-the-art hydraulic system • Turn table mounted on skid for easy to set up in horizontal plan • Impressive rod running speed Main optional equipment • Two options for control system: PHC – Pilot Hydraulic Control and APC – Automatic Performance Control • WL hoist (500 m) mounted on the positioner arm • Electric or diesel driven power unit with a basic design and with a double hydraulic pump set-up for optimal operation Main specifications Diamec U4 Basic data Max depth Diameter Max speed* Max torque* Feed force Feed length Modules Flush pump Power unit** 500 m (A) 78 mm 1 800 rpm 660 Nm 52 kN 850 mm or 1 800 mm Trido 80 PU 45E or PU 40DT 1 650 ft (A) 3 1/16" 490 lbf ft 11 700 lbf 33 1/2" or 70" 62 0 35 5 * Also available as high torque ** Electric (E) or diesel (D) DIAMEC U4 28 20 2260 Visit www. easy-to-use positioner. including two feed frames.atlascopco. The push-equals-pull feed cylinder also allows for maximum capacity uphole and downhole exploration drilling.CORe DRilling RigS Diamec u4 Diamec U4 is a compact and powerful core drilling rig for its size and easy to set up. for setting up the rig -90 to + 90 • Robust feed frame with a telescopic feed cylinder • Equal pull and push capacity. Features • A versatile. it can be equipped with a long or short feed frame and wire line equipment. APC the Diamec U4 is the most modern. two rotation units. In combination with the optional control system. There is also a wide choice of equipment available for the Diamec U4.
including two feed frames. They are both at home in underground and surface exploration. easy-to-use positioner. for optimal underground drilling • All new rod holder with the latest gas spring technology • State-of-the-art hydraulic system • Turn table mounted on skid for easy to set up in horizontal plan • WL hoist (1 300 m) mounted on the positioner arm • Impressive rod running speed • Two options for control system: PHC – Pilot Hydraulic Control and APC – Automatic Performance Control • Electric or diesel driven power unit with a basic design and with a double hydraulic pump set-up for optimal operation • Feed extention for optimal surface operation Main specifications Diamec U6 and U6DH Basic data Max depth Diameter Max speed* Max torque* Feed force Feed length Modules Flush pump Power unit** U6 1 000 m (A) 3 300 ft (A) 78 mm 3 1/16" 1 800 rpm 700 Nm 515 lbf ft 65 kN 14 600 lbf 850 mm or 33 1/2" or 1 800 mm 70" U6 Trido 80 PU 55E or PU 100DT U6DH 1 000 m (B) 100 mm 1 400 rpm 1 375 Nm 89 kN 1 800 mm 40 0 Main optional equipment 3 300 ft (B) 4" 1 020 lbf ft 20 000 lbf 70" 0 70 29 00 U6DH Trido 140 PU 75E or PU 100DT 2645 * Also available as high torque ** Electric (E) or diesel (DT) Visit www.CORe DRilling RigS Diamec u6 and u6Dh Diamec U6 and Diamec U6 Deep hole (DH) core drilling rigs are truly flexible exploration core drilling rigs. This powerful and compact rig has become very popular amongst those wanting to drill deep and large holes. The unique positioner allows you to move the feed frame through 180°. four rotation units. There’s also a wide choice of equipment available. two chassis models and two types of control systems.com 80 exploration drilling .atlascopco. for setting up the rig -90 to + 90 • Robust feed frame with a telescopic feed cylinder • Equal pull and push capacity. Features • A versatile.
the Diamec U8 is and will be an important rig to meet the needs both underground and on surface.com exploration drilling 81 D IA M EC U 8 . WL-hoist with high capacity (2 000m) • Two options for control system: PHC – Pilot Hydraulic Control and APC – Automatic Performance Control • Electric or diesel driven power unit with a basic design and with a triple hydraulic pump set-up for optimal operation. Main optional equipment Main specifications Diamec U8 Basic data Max depth Diameter Max speed Max torque Feed force Feed length Modules Flush pump Power unit* 5 45 2 000 m (B) 100 mm 1 200 rpm 2 300 Nm 133 kN 1 800 mm Trido 140 PU 110E or PU 160DT 6 600 ft (B) 4" 1 630 lbf ft 29 000 lbf 70" 31 00 77 0 * Electric (E) or diesel (DT) 2320 Visit www. providing for safe and comfortable operation and improved rod handling. Ergonomics and safety are also a consideration in the design. and with a WL-hoist (1 300 m) and Surface version (long mast extension to handle 6 m rods.CORe DRilling RigS Diamec u8 Diamec U8 is a true deep hole core drilling rig. As a trend in the exploration segment. With userfriendliness and safety as highest priority the Diamec U8 will be a state of the art rig for many years to come.atlascopco. It’s quite simply the most powerful exploration rig for its size on the market today. Underground version (compact. Features • Robust feed frame with a telescopic feed cylinder • Equal pull and push capacity. Often operating for weeks working the same bore hole. to drill deeper. it’s imperative that the rig keeps running efficiently. for optimal underground drilling • All new rod holder with the latest gas spring technology • State-of-the-art hydraulic system • Impressive rod running speed • Available in two different versions. At home both above and below ground.
The time saving can be more than 50% depending on distance etc! Less people and equipment needs to be involved.com 82 exploration drilling . • Everything needed for optimal core drilling installed on the carrier (drill unit.atlascopco. with the robustness and mobility of a Simba carrier! This combination provides the exploration driller with unmatched productivity in underground mining The Diamec MCR™ is completely self sufficient and can swiftly move from one drill spot to another. and the entire core drilling equipment is moved in one piece. Less setting up time of course means higher productivity. water pump. Setting up for next drill hole is done within minutes. when drilling – drill fast! Features • Robust feed frame with a telescopic feed cylinder • Equal pull and push capacity. power cable etc) • Flexible boom system for variety of drill angles • Self-sufficient and gives a safe transport between drill locations • Two options for control system: PHC – Pilot Hydraulic Control and APC – Automatic Performance Control • Support jacks Main optional equipment Main specifications Diamec MCR Basic data Max depth Diameter Max speed Max torque Feed force Feed length Modules Flush pump Electric power unit 1 000 m (A) 78 mm 1 800 rpm 700 Nm 65 kN 1 800 mm 3 300 ft (A) 3 1/16" 515 lbf ft 14 600 lbf 70" DIAMEC MCR U6 8700-11000 Trido 80 PU 75E (To be used when drilling) width=3100 Visit www.CORe DRilling RigS Diamec u6 MCR The Diamec Mobile Carrier Rig (MCR) combines the best of two worlds: the high productivity and accuracy in core drilling of a Diamec core drilling rig. for optimal underground drilling • WL hoist (1 300 m) mounted on the boom arm • For drilling an electric driven power unit is used with a double hydraulic pump set-up for optimal operation. hydraulic power pack. This is also the case for the Diamec U6 MCR. the idea is that when moving – move it fast.
this flexible drilling rig can pull a 6 m core barrel without disconnection the over shot. Trido 140 • Water flow and RPM meter kit • High altitude version (for operations higher than 3 000 above sea level) • Hydraulic mud mixer Main specifications CS10 Basic data Depth capacity (NO) Drill rod size.atlascopco. wire line Main hoist Lift capacity. Even though it is a small drill it is equipped with all the common standard safety and operation features a modern drill rig should have such as making and breaking including thread compensation.l. 4 cyl Tier III 111 kW 148 hp 5 000 kg 10 200 lb 11100 CHRISTENSEN CS10 Width = 2200 5900 Visit www.com exploration drilling 83 . feed Feed length Rod pull length Engine (up to 3000m a. this trailer-mounted drilling rig has a robust long mast that is split-able into three sections.5 kN 12 000 lb 90 kN 20 200 lb 1. CS10 is a small yet highly productive core drilling perfect when small to medium depth capacity is needed.s.5.) Engine power at 1800 rpm Weight (including Trido 140) 800 m 2 625 ft B-P 53. Sharing many of the components with Christensen CS14.83 m 6 ft 6m 20 ft Cummins QSB4. With a drill capacity of 800 m (NO).CORe DRilling RigS Christensen CS10 Christensen CS10 is the smallest core drilling rig in the range. Features • Hydraulic P-size rod holder • Mast in three sections • Hydraulic mast raise • Wear lines on lower mast • Safety guards • Large crown sheave wheel • 4 hydraulic levelling jacks • Making and breaking including hydraulic tread compensation • High quality fuel filters and water separator Main Optional equipment • Water/mud pump.
high capacity and reliable performance. In addition the rig is equipped with many features that ensure easy. Christensen CS14 is a trailer mounted medium sized core drill rig for surface exploration applications. With its relatively small dimensions and the built in power and safety this rigs is capable of taking on the vast majority of core drill projects. why it is safe to say that this is the work horse of the Christensen range.com 84 exploration drilling . • Hydraulic mast dump • Foldable mast in two sections • Large crown sheave wheel • Hydraulic mast dump • 4 hydraulic levelling jacks • Wear lines on lower mast • Safety guards • Making and breaking including hydraulic tread compensation • Hydraulic P-size rod holder • Towing package • High quality fuel filters and water separator Features Main Optional equipment • Water/mud pump. CS14 is built on the well proven Christensen concept meaning easy operation. wire line Main hoist Lift capacity.5 ft 6m 20 ft Cummins QSB6.CORe DRilling RigS Christensen CS14 Christensen CS14 represents one of the most flexible drilling rig sizes in the Christensen range with a drilling capacity of 1200 m. 6 cyl Tier III 153 kW 208 hp 7 000 kg 15 430 lb 9970 CHRISTENSEN CS14 Width = 2200 6127 Visit www. This model is operation in all markets around the world. safe and high productive operation.5 m 11.atlascopco.7. simple technology. feed Feed length Rod pull length Engine Engine power at 1800 rpm Weight 1 200 m 4 042 ft B-P 80 kN 18 000 lb 138 kN 31 020 lb 3. Trido 140 • Water flow and RPM meter kit • High altitude version (for operations higher than 3000 above sea level) • Hydraulic mud mixer Main specifications CS14 Basic data Depth capacity (NO) Drill rod size.
5 m 11. Features • Hydraulic mast dump • Making and breaking including hydraulic tread compensation • Large crown sheave wheel • Hydraulic oil reservoir with fill pump and filtration • Mast lightening kit • Rod kicker hydraulically operated • Water flow and RPM meter kit • Hydraulic mast raise • Extendable control panel (for drilling angle holes) • 4 hydraulic levelling jacks • Wear lines on lower mast • High quality fuel filters and water separator • Water/mud pump. The Christensen CT14 is a powerful. placed in a logical grouping in order for the driller to have full attention to the drill operation/helper. A truck mounted rig offers great flexibility. With its depth capacity of 1200 m (NO) this rig will suit the majority of core drill projects. The main control panel offers the driller access to all drill controls.5 ft 6m 20 ft Cummins QSB6. has all the equipment required mounted onto the rig chassis. Trido 140 Main Optional equipment • High altitude version (for operations higher than 3000 above sea level) • Rod rack including ladder and helpers platform Main specifications CT14 Basic data Depth capacity (NO) Drill rod size. With the extendable control panel the driller can get a good view of the drill operation regardless of drill angle. 6 cyl Tier III 153 kW 208 hp 9 000 kg 19 840 lb CHRISTENSEN CT14 10243 Width = 2280 6767 Visit www. safe and ergonomic surface core drilling rig.atlascopco. The large platform provides a very stable drill set up.7.com exploration drilling 85 . wire line Main hoist Lift capacity. capable of accessing terrain as well as offering easy transportation between different drill areas.CORe DRilling RigS Christensen CT14 CT14 is the smallest truck-mounted drilling rig. feed Feed length Rod pull length Engine Engine power at 1800 rpm Weight 1 200 m 4 042 ft B-P 80 kN 18 000 lb 138 kN 31 020 lb 3.
As this type of drilling rig may find its way into high terrain.3. the Christensen CS3001 is equipped with a high altitude kit to ensures smooth operation up to 5000 m (16 400 ft) above sea level. The current version of CS3001 is the third why it is safe to say that a lot of drilling experience has been designed in to the current model.CORe DRilling RigS Christensen CS3001 The Christensen CS3001 is a field-proven concept that has become exceedingly popular amongst contractors looking for a tough medium to deep hole exploration drilling rig. this truck-mounted model features a hydraulic slide mounted control panel.atlascopco. The truck mount offers great mobility. both when transporting the rig and while going from hole to hole at the drill site.com 86 exploration drilling . Trido 140 Main Optional equipment • Rod rack and helpers platform • Rod spinner tool • Rope tentioner Main specifications CS3001 Basic data Depth capacity (NO) Drill rod size. Rated at a drilling capacity of 1830 m. All models have achieved great results even where the drilling conditions have been really difficult – the CS3001 will get the job done. 6 cyl Tier III 212 kW 285 hp 12 810 kg 28 240 lb 11483 Width = 2438 6071 Visit www.35 m 11 ft 6m 20 ft Cummins QSC8. This facilitates a good view of the worksite and full control of the operation. Features • Making and breaking including hydraulic tread compensation • Four hydraulic jacks 610 mm (24 in) stroke • Hydraulic P-size holding clamp • Control panel hydraulic slide • High altitude version (for operations higher than 3000 above sea level) • Hydraulic mud mixer • Fuel tank 950 l (250 gal) • Hydraulic swing out of the rotation unit • Rod centralizer • Water/mud pump. wire line Main hoist Lift capacity. feed Feed length Rod pull length Engine Engine power at 2000 rpm Weight 1 830 m 6 000 ft B-P 133 kN 30 000 lb 155 kN 35 000 lb 3.
Features • Making and breaking including hydraulic tread compensation • Four hydraulic jacks 610 mm (24 in) stroke • Hydraulic P-size holding clamp • Control panel hydraulic slide • Hydraulic slide on the rotation unit • Rod centraliser • High altitude version (for operations higher than 3000 above sea level) • Hydraulic mud mixer • Fuel tank 950 l (250 gal) • Water/mud pump.CORe DRilling RigS Christensen CS4002 This truck-mounted drilling rig is the most powerful Christensen unit ever built. wire line Main hoist Lift capacity. feed Feed length Rod pull length Engine Engine power at 2000 rpm Weight 2 450 m 8 030 ft B-P 178 kN 40 000 lb 200 kN 45 000 lb 3. 6 cyl Tier III 212 kW 285 hp 13 864 kg 30 500 lb 13835 Width = 2438 6071 Visit www.1 M (30 ft) pull • Rod rack and helper’s platform for 9. This rig is a stronger version of the well proven CS3001 incorporating all the design features of that rig. Having inherited all the design features of the very well proven CS3001 the strongest Christensen rig will offer unsurpassed productivity for really deep applications.atlascopco. A foldable mast extension is available as an option. Trido 140 Main Optional equipment • Folding mast extension for 9.35 m 11 ft 9m 30 ft Cummins QSC8.1 m pull mast • Rod spinner tool • Rope tentioner Main specifications CS4002 Basic data Depth capacity (NO) Drill rod size. The well proven design also leads to minimizing down time as well as keeping the maintenance cost to a minimum.com exploration drilling 87 . capable of drill down to 2450 m (NO). then offering a 9 m (30 ft) rod pull capacity.3. Together with the rod rack this offers excellent productivity when rod tripping in deep hole drilling.
A special casing handling tool attached to the rotation head gives full safety and control.4-2. With the standard 1. 435 bar 1 800 cfm 0. which positions directly over the hole.6 cfm. 305mm • Hydraulically activated slips with integrated holding clamp • Hydraulically operated sliding key • Hydraulically operated handsfree breakout system • Noise level of 82 dB(A) at 7 m distance • Splitter • Wireline hoist • Rod handler • Fire suppression Main specifications Explorac 220RC Basic data Pullback Engine Engine power Rotation head. Explorac 220RC handles all heavy lifting requirements. 1 300 psi 3 370 lbf 1 080 cfm.5 ton winch. In addition. with a slewing boom. The Explorac 220RC rigs can be used for RC drilling as well as water well drilling with just a few adjustments.ReVeRSe CiRCulaTiOn RigS explorac 220RC With safety and ergonomics as key issues together with latest tehnology the Explorac 220RC is made the safest and most user friendly rig of it’s type. max torque Rotation head. Tier III 522 kW 14 000 Nm 101 rpm 75 lit/min.0 lit/hour 21 300 kg 33 090 kg 49 438 lbf 700 hp 10 294 lbf ft 2. opening 12 in.atlascopco.014-0. Integrated air swivel with blow down valve • Slipstable max.com 88 exploration drilling 4200 . 90 bar 15 kN 510 lit/sec.071 cfh 47 000 lb 73 000 lb Main Optional equipment 4280 12100 Visit www. hands-free breakout and rod handling systems ensure rapid and safe handling of all drill string components. Features • Feed beam with hydraulic rams and guide chain for hydraulic hoses • Single reduction gearbox fitted with two 630 cm3 hydraulic geroler motors • Spindel adaptor thread 4½” IF. 30 bar 850 lit/sec 0. The Explorac 220RC takes over much of the physical effort required from the driller. max rpm Foam/water pump Handling hoist Compressor Cyclone Line oiler Total weight without truck Total weight with truck 220 kN CAT C-18.
atlascopco. The explorac R50 is an extremely well proven workhorse with simple design. especially when operating in remote areas.4 m 14. 4 cyl 68 kW 91 hp OMT 250 0-97 rpm 5 750 Nm 4 240 lbf ft 4.9 kN 18.4 ft 3.8 kN 11.2 k lbf Deutz BF4L914. Separate drill rig subframe design permits stable mounting on various standard trucks as well as special vehicles or on crawlers depending on which terrain the rig will be used in. The proven technology and the ease of maintenance provides the driller more efficient working hours. including mast support • Four hydraulic jacks • Mast complete with 4.4 m stroke length.8 ft 5 400 kg 11 900 lb 6580 R A O L P E X 3510 2550 4000 Visit www. reverse circulation drilling and rotary drilling. The high accessibility and reliability makes it particularly interesting for drillers operating in remote areas. This is of course of great use and interest. max Feed travel length Drill pipe length Total weight without carrier 48.com exploration drilling 89 R50 C .ReVeRSe CiRCulaTiOn RigS explorac R50 The Explorac R50 is a robust and reliable drill unit ideal for remote areas.0 m 9. and less downtime. It is designed to perform as an versatile base platform for down-the-hole percussion drilling. Features • Platform. hold-back 60 kN • Hold-back control scale • Break out table max opening 310 mm • Hydraulic break-out tong type Ridgid 48 • Rotary head powered by two hydraulic motors OMT 250 • Operators folding platform • Gardner Denver mud pump 5 x 6 hydraulic driven • Mast for 6 m drillpipe length • Welder/generator powered by diesel engine • Rotation unit hydraulic motor alternatives Main Optional equipment Main specifications Explorac R50 Basic data Pulldown Hold back/lift Engine Engine power at 2150 rpm Rotation head Speed Torque.0 k lbf 80.
17 2.0 54.0 2.86 4.3 4.7 7.8 16.5 1.20 1.13 1.9 45.5 3.60 1.9 15.3 45.3 35.G** G3/Q3** Hole diameter mm in 48 1.39 1.2 46.52 1.7 54.3 33. The Excore bits are available in different profiles ECF (Extended Crown Profile) for slightly broken to broken abrasive formations.7 42.6 53.8 29.8 9.36 2.5 35.36 28.3 35. patented Jet and Torpedo V profile for fast cutting in competent formations. DCDMA design Size A Design Q** GM.89 Core diameter mm in 26.5 85.8 13.31 1.3 44.34 3.9 68.6 45.29 18.77 1.5 59.7 56.37 N 75.5 56.98 45.88 2.4 59.0 1.22 Core diameter mm in 35.3 64.06 1.8 24. face discharge and sand discharge for extremely broken and triple tube applications.78 Hole area cm2 in2 16.0 6.76 8.86 Core area cm2 in2 9.2 47.5 51.4 55.9 2.7 3.0 59.OTW** QTK** 48 JKT 48 LTK 48 TT Q3** Q** QTK** GM.1 50.7 56.0 13.52 1.3 31.0 2.7 90 exploration drilling . The Excore bits are engineered with new matrices and optimized crown profiles that provide bits with exceptional penetration rates as well as extended service lives in the toughest of drilling conditions.7 44.24 * Hole diameter with pilot bit ** Wire line core barrel system Metric design Size 46 56 Design TT TT Hole diameter mm in 46.6 56.3 30.21 2.0 44. This means a contractor can drill both faster and deeper without changing drill bits. The Excore.3 9.8 8.81 4.5 36.96 H P 96.1 50.41 2.1 61.97 1.7 56.78 4.0 45.02 2.45 2.1 24.81 Core area cm2 in2 5.6 3.2 1.4 40.52 2.88 1.9 30.8 117.8 17.7 122. which results in fewer bits required on the job site by the drilling contractor to cover a wide range of drilling conditions and simplifies bit selection for the driller.0 1. is a series of diamond drill bits that sets the standard for the mineral exploration industry.2 15.39 1.26 Hole area in2 cm2 18. 66 1.3 7.2 11.5 4.1 0.43 1.38 Cutting area % of hole area 68.39 1.6 50.8 15.47 3. B2** 60 LTK Q3** 3/50** Q** Q2** GM** Q3** Q** Q.0 60.52 1.0 83.73 1.35 2.12 3.6 2.1 122.CORe DRilling TOOlS excore core drilling tools Excore diamond bits are the culmination of decades of diamond drilling experience in combination with the latest in metallurgical and manufacturing technologies.39 1.82 2. The operating range of each diamond bit has been substantially increased.7 35.1 2.48 Cutting area % of hole area 41.1 63.13 1.81 72. OTW.0 2.8 B 60.91 8.19 1.9 19.76 3.8 20.8 9.9 45.
andesite. Highly metamorphosed volcanic. Rock type Unmetamorphosed or weakly metamorphosed shales. Serpentinite and metaperidotite.hard Moderately abrasive Slightly fractured to competent Hard Slightly abrasive Competent Very hard Slightly abrasive Very competent Extremely hard Non-abrasive. very abrasive to slightly abrasive and very fractured to slightly broken formation. Metamorphosed granitic rock and quartz rich gneiss. Unmetamorphosed or weakly metamorphosed diorite. amphibolite. very competent formations. Quartz rich skarn. Limestone and dolomite. peridotite and gneiss. Chert and jasperite. slightly abrasive to non abrasive. Weathered granite and gneiss. Diabase. Sandstone and limestone.CORe DRilling TOOlS Bit selection chart To simplify bit selection for the driller rock formations have been categorized into three applications. Metamorphosed diorite and gabbro. abrasive to slightly abrasive. Granite and pegmatite. Application 1 (Green) – Soft to medium hard. Each application has a series of matrices designed specifically for that type of drilling condition which will provide optimum performance. 1-4 5 6 7 8 9 10 exploration drilling 91 . Gabbro. fine grained Very competent Application 2 (Blue) – Medium hard to hard. Metabasalt. Application 3 (Red) – Very hard to extremely hard. Basalt. moderately fractured to competent formations. Quartzite. Rock group Rock characteristics Soft to medium hard Very abrasive to slightly abrasive Very fractured to slightly broken Medium hard Abrasive Moderately fractured to slightly broken Medium hard Moderately abrasive Moderately fractured to slightly broken Medium hard .
choose one of the three surface style systems. Drill rods Wireline drill rods are manufactured from high quality cold drawn seamless tubes. for underground style selections. They are constantly being upgraded to exceed the expectations from the market. Choosing a drill rod is based on the preferred thread connection and the overall length that can be handled efficiently. allow them to be used in all orientation and are typically used in shorter boreholes. Underground core barrels are available in double tube and double tube thin wall wireline core barrels and are used for flatter and up hole applications where gravity does not permit unassisted movement of the inner wireline components. Conventional drill rods are available in mid-weight steel and/or aluminium. determine if the application requires a double tube or triple tube design. used when ground conditions and drill rig selection are appropriate. If a double tube design is preferred choose if a standard wall or thin wall design is favored. Determine requirements of the application. 2. with WJ type threads used with conventional style core barrels. Choose the accessories that you require to complement the core barrel and drill rod selections. determine if a standard wall or thin wall design is favored.in-The-hOle TOOlS in-The-hole tools Atlas Copco offers a full range of In-The-Hole tools such as drill rods. all based on advanced technology. If the borehole will be drilled between vertical down to 45 degrees from vertical down. Their rugged construction and design features ensure optimization of productivity in soft to medium hard formations. which provide superior yield and ultimate strength. Determine direction of the core drilling. 1. Conventional core barrels produce a larger core diameter compared to the equivalent wire line nominal size. Likewise. Determine threads. Don’t forget to consider the limitations of the drill design and the envelope within which the drill will be operating. For flatter or up holes. For surface style selections. Core barrels Surface core barrels are available in standard double tube designs with the option for easy conversion to triple tube configurations in broken ground. core barrels. Surface core barrels Double tube design Standard wall Thin wall For larger core sample Thread connection Overall length to be handled Standard wall Thin wall For larger core sample Accessories needed Triple tube design For better core recovery in broken ground Underground core barrels 92 exploration drilling . Rod threads for mineral exploration applications are typically T or O for wireline. rods and accessories. offer the end user an opportunity to increase sample size within a nominal bore hole size. 3. choose within the two underground ranges of corebarrel systems. Thin wall core barrels.
4 76.1 25.9 31.6 125.3 22.00 4.19 2.36 2.75 2.00 4.8 25.9 88.19 1.7 96.75 1.9 34.6 63.4 13.91 2.0 75.50 length 10 ft lbs 15.25 2.83 imperial system (in) hole diameter Core diameter 1.9 7.65 2.7 Metric system (mm) hole diameter Core diameter 45.3 iD 34.7 2.5 55.10 76.5 OD 44. Double tube surface and/or underground Size (Surface-underground) BO/BO-u nO/nO-u hO/hO-u PO 60.8 50.9 16.2 56.5 44.9 114.0 88.3 42.80 85.60 112.9 15.7 Metric system (mm) hole diameter Core diameter 30.6 56.5 m Rods aO /aT agM / aTT BO / BT BgM / BTT nO / nMO / nT hO / hMO / hT PT Casing aW BW nW hW / hWT PW /PWT 57.40 33.2 38.50 4.50 4.70 37.0 75.40 26.38 1.88 2.0 imperial system Diameter 5 ft OD 1.45 1.89 2.81 1.41 3.8 17.1 83.0 50.27 Double tube thin wall surface and/or underground Size (Surface-Underground) aOTW / -u BOTW / -u nO2 48.0 61.50 5.30 Metric system length 3.70 123.7 38.0 2.7 96.3 19.4 60.40 68.0 20.70 13.75 3.3 76.50 3.3 15.7 48.8 69.1 25.0 m kg 6.9 114.98 3.88 3.0 34.in-The-hOle TOOlS Dimensions A summary of the relevant data when evaluating core sample size for corresponding core barrel systems be they double tube.8 51.5 85.3 77.0 40.0 2.38 3.9 36.10 153.78 2.7 1.06 4.83 imperial system (in) hole diameter Core diameter 1.9 31.6 iD 1.8 5.4 17.1 73.0 Dimensions Size Diameter 1.1 122.98 3.92 2.98 imperial system (in) hole diameter Core diameter 1.1 122.94 18.7 Metric system (mm) hole diameter Core diameter 36. A summary of weights and dimensions of tubular products to help you choose complimentary rod and casing.5 69.38 3.1 16.8 60.6 11.8 46. triple tube or thin wall double tube for O surface or O-U pump in configurations.0 56.8 101.9 11.9 8.0 60.80 42.34 Triple tube surface Size (Surface-Underground) nO3 hO3 PO3 75.78 4.50 1.3 139.4 47.36 2.0 48.23 2.2 101.2 33.5 8.78 4.10 55.00 exploration drilling 93 .43 1.
48 in 38 lb 2. The air cycle utilizes a special poppet valve to drive air pressure to accelerate the piston to higher energy levels.2 6.1 2.4 in 50.5 53.8 Hammer size 4½ - 5" 4½ - 5" 4½ - 5" 4½ - 5" 4½ - 5" Hole diameter mm in2 127-152 127-152 127-152 127-152 127-152 5-6" 5-6" 5-6" 5-6" 5-6" Weight Inner tube ID kg2 198 132 100 152 80 lbs 436 291 220 335 176 mm 49.5 in 6 in 4.7 13.8 19. you can be assured of high performance. Atlas Copco's reverse circulation hammers are specifically designed for both deep hole exploration drilling and in-pit grade control applications.5 in 158 lb 4 in 5. The Quantum Leap air cycle maximizes efficiency and develops greater power for large or small compressor capacities.4 Secoroc RC pipes Pipe OD Pipe mm in M45 M45 M45 DR115 DR115 114 114 114 114 114 4½ 4½ 4½ 4½ 4½ Pipe Length mm ft 6 000 4 000 3 000 6 000 3 000 19.65 5. Whether you are exploring potential sites or working an existing mine.59 5. in Secoroc RC50 4½" Remet BOX 132 134 137 139 140 142 144 147 150 153 157 163 5.9 6 6.5 in 145-500 psi 5 000 ft-lb Secoroc RC 50 bit assortment Drop centre. Longevity and reliability are due to a larger piston-struck end. mm Outside diameter.94 2. exceptional reliability and dependable support. mm Outside diameter.7 mm 17 kg 64 mm 10-35 bar 6 800 Nm 5.1 9.2 5. a heat-treated collection tube and the use of the Quantum Leap- valve cycle.52 5.RC TOOlS Reverce circulation tools The Secoroc RC 50 reverse circulation drill stands for simplicity.2 49.47 5.28 5.94 1.13 in 45. performance and reliability.7 9. Extra flushing head design Outside diameter. in 140 143 146 152 165* *For setting casing 5-1/2 5-5/8 5-3/4 6 6-1/2* Secoroc RC 50 chuck sleeve assortment Outside diameter.1 94 exploration drilling . creating a high frequency hammer with world class performance and reliability.94 1.4 5. A Quantum Leap cycle is incorporated into the RC hammer. Secoroc RC 50 reverse circulation hammer Outside diameter Length without bit Length with bit extended Length with bit retracted Weight without bit Spanner flat on tob sub Minimum recommended bit size Maximum recommended bit size Cylinder bore Piston weight Stroke length Working pressure Make up torque Shank Thread connection 130 mm 1 152 mm 1 276 mm 1 232 mm 72 kg 102 mm 140 mm 152 mm 113.77 5.2 in 48.2 53.2 49.5 inch 1. The Secoroc RC 50's high frequency enables it to perform well in all rock formations.
nOTeS exploration drilling 95 .
Consult your Atlas Copco Customer Center for specific information. Stockholm. Publisher: Daniel Misiano. Lars Gellerhed. This publication.com/rock. 96 exploration drilling . anders. Sweden. Hans Fernberg. Atlas Copco Craelius AB. rules and regulations in the country where the photo has been taken but not necessarily in other parts of the world.atlascopco.atlascopco.surname@se. Gerry Black. Örebro. rules and regulations. fax +46 8 591 187 82. Atlas Copco is committed to comply or exceed all applicable laws. All rights reserved. Tom Ekström.net Contributors: Anders Björk.atlascopco. Legal notice © Copyright 2010. daniel. Magnus Ericsson. as well as specifications and equipment. Sweden. We also thank all contributors of editorial material for case stories. is subject to change without notice.Produced by: Atlas Copco Craelius AB. SE-195 82 Märsta. all name. Digital copies of all Atlas Copco reference editions can be ordered from the publisher. mike@tunnelbuilder. tunnelbuilder ltd. Reproduction of individual articles only by agreement with the publisher. Sweden. Anders Gustafsson. Cardiff. United Kingdom. tel +46 8 587 785 00. or online at www. Photos in this publication may show situations which complies with such laws. Daniel Misiano. Jan Jönsson.com Editor: Mike Smith.com Senior Adviser: Anders Gustafsson. Fredrik Gabrielsson. Printed by: Prinfo Welins Tryckeri. eye. Märsta. Sweden.misiano@se. David Petersson. address above. Märsta. head and other protection to minimize risk of personal injury.atlascopco. In any case think safety first and always use proper ear. Örebro. Sweden.com Layout: Rafaella Turander. Sweden.gustafsson@se. Peter Balen. turander@ahrt. ahrt informationsdesign.com.
speed and strength. Atlas Copco has developed the new Excore™ diamond bit. durability.Excore . longer lasting coring bit that performs in a wider range of drilling conditions and formations. . To meet this demand. This means fewer bits needed on the job site .excellence in core drilling An exploration contractor’s success is dependent upon the efficiency of the drilling equipment. Excore™ is a faster drilling. Excore™ from Atlas Copco is a series of diamond drill bits that is in the absolute top range of what is available today– a bit that stands for excellence. which offers the latest in diamond drilling technology.both in operation and on the shelf and increased productivity throughout the entire operation . Atlas Copco has combined scientific research and innovative new technology with more than 100 years of field experience to create a diamond bit that will revolutionize mining exploration.from purchasing to retrieving core.
so too do we look within ourselves. Printed matter no.The power within Just as our coring drills explore deep inside the earth. The result is the most comprehensive range of dependable exploration products to power you towards your goal. constantly searching for improvements to products and manufacturing processes. 6991 1722 01 .
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