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FIELD TIPS

September 28, 2017

Drilling as an art form: complex surface ventilation raise

Any driller with a talent and a passion for their craft will tell you that drilling is an art form. They drill by speaking the language of their equipment and responding with subtle adjustments on the controls unseen to the average person. One such driller put on quite a performance in Canada.

Near the coastlines of Northeastern Newfoundland sits the Ming Mine, operated by Rambler Metals and Mining. Rambler was in need of an important ventilation raise to install 400,000 cfm ventilation exhaust fans for their ventilation system up to the surface. 

Rambler first started out on the project utilizing two different surface drills but were unsuccessful. Then they contemplated using an Alimak raise climber or mining a conventional raise using stoper drills.

However, both of these alternatives were unattractive due to their time and costs.

Rambler then discussed the situation with Brian Winsor, Boart Longyear long hole driller, who proposed using a Boart Longyear Stopemaster to complete the complicated drop raise.

Brian drilled his first hole but did not break through. Undeterred, Brian approximated the location of that hole using the deviation distance and offset his second drill hole which ultimately did break through. Brian drilled the remaining holes using a pattern based on the initial breakthrough hole. The drilling went smoothly and as per the plan Brian created, based on the initial breakthrough hole.

Brian blasted the raise, squaring up the face and bringing up the cut to breakthrough to the surface. He blasted the remaining drill holes to the full design of the ventilation raise.

No damage was sustained to any of the high-voltage power lines and surface installations which were in close proximity to the surface collar location and the blasting was completed without delays to the underground mining.

Brian was able to complete this project to Rambler’s satisfaction using drilling intuition, critical thought, and hard work. He was able to, as Dan Kirkey, Division Manager, Drilling Services and Production Drilling Services, commented “Drill the raise by “feel” rather than by engineered drawings making this especially impactful showing his skill as a driller.” Brian has recieved a Bravo! award and client recognition for his success. Congratulations!

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