Self-contained air and vacuum system for underground drilling without water
The MacLean Small Section Bolter was a preceding iteration of the MacLean bolting approach. It was released in 2009 and brought the MacLean bolting philosophy to smaller-heading mines. In 2015, MacLean worked with Petra Diamonds’ Finsch mine in South Africa, the second largest diamond mine in the RSA, to develop a dry drilling option that was required for Finsch’s unique application / mine plan needs.
The Rig: MacLean Small Section Bolter with dry drilling capabilities
The Mine: Petra Diamonds’ Finsch mine, South Africa
Brent Alting of Petra Diamonds approached MacLean Engineering with a need to drill and bolt into diamond-bearing kimberlite rock without using water.
A fully self-contained drilling system with air capabilities for drill flushing and front-head cooling. The power pack end of our Small Section Bolter needed to be repackaged to carry a vacuum system, air compressor and integrated control/hydraulic cooling system to allow for the drilling functions to be carried out without water. The hydraulic cooling system traditionally accomplished with the water from our drilling circuit was changed to rely solely on the hydraulic power of the machine. Power management of the MacLean electric/hydraulic power pack was key to the success of the dry drilling system.
A testimonial from Brent Alting clearly speaks to the results of this custom solution request put to MacLean: “Finsch mine has a unique challenge of not being able to use water to drill in the orebody. MacLean was contacted to provide a solution to drilling of cable anchors of up to six (6) metres in a confined domed drive of 4 x 4 metres, without water. MacLean rose to the challenge and although the product was not available off-the-shelf, they came up with an answer. The MacLean SSB dry drilling unit has proven to be a reliable solution to our unique challenge that worked as soon as it was delivered. It is safer and more productive than previous solutions.”