Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining

THE potential to change the future of underground mine development is just around the corner as Australian construction and contract mining firm Macmahon awaits delivery of the biggest raise drilling machine in the world.
Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining Macmahon set to revolutionise underground mining

The RBR 900VF raisedrill

Marion Lopez

Confirming Macmahon’s global reputation as an industry leader, the custom-built RBR 900VF will have the capability to create a shaft size with a 6-8m diameter to a depth of up to 2000m.

Currently in its final building stage at German manufacturer Herrenknecht AG’s factory, the machine is expected to boast a continuous operating torque of 900 kilonewton metres (about 670,000 foot pounds) with a thrust capacity of 22,000 kilonewtons (5 million pounds).

Macmahon underground mining executive general manager Greg Miller said the raisedrill would not only create greater efficiency for existing operations but could change the way future mine development works were undertaken.

“The RBR 900VF could open up a whole new range of infrastructure opportunities for underground mining worldwide,” he said.

“The next biggest existing machine is not capable of reaming holes of this diameter range to depths beyond 1000 metres, so the RBR 900VF will drastically change what is possible in this industry now.”

RBR 900VF features include improved automation to provide greater safety and efficiency, as well as better mobility due to its relatively compact transport and set-up capabilities.

Macmahon chief executive Nick Bowen is excited about the drill, saying it is nearly 50% larger than any existing raisedrill worldwide.

“It has the capacity to dig up to a 2km hole, which no one can do at the moment, although interestingly enough, mines are getting deeper here in Australia,” he said.

“This machine will assist companies to be more high-performing and economical.”

The machine is expected to be delivered in November this year but Macmahon is still unsure of where it will be allocated due to the extreme competition there is among its clients.

However, Miller said the RBR 900VF would further boost Macmahon’s existing fleet of 13 raisedrilling rigs and would help the company continue tailoring its capabilities to meet its clients’ individual needs.

This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication

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