A strategic alliance between JSW Australia and leading international drill rig supplier BBurg has enabled the development of a leading technology drill rig to tackle challenging terrain at FMG's Solomon Hub, located around 60km north of Tom Price in the Pilbara.
Applying its learnings from working at Solomon over many years, JSW shared ideas and concepts with BBurg to provide the foundation for the development of the new drill. The new HD2500 RC machine will be put into operation at the mine in November 2019 with another set for delivery to the project during the first quarter of 2020.
One of Germany's most innovative drill rig suppliers, BBurg takes a customer-driven engineering approach, allowing it to tailor drill rigs to the specific requirements of each application. It is this ability that resonated with JSW, which has established itself as an industry leader in the provision of customised drilling services.
Drilling challenges at Solomon
JSW has a long association with FMG at Solomon, drilling the first holes that defined the original Solomon orebody in 2007. The mine's current production capacity is 72 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) and the expected mine life is 20 years.
In May 2014, JSW and its joint-venture partner and traditional owners Eastern Guruma (EG), were awarded a contract for RC grade control services at Solomon.
The terrain at Solomon makes the preparation of drill pads difficult and expensive, which created an urgent need for a high-powered, small footprint drill rig.
Features of the new drill rig
Drawing on the JSW EG JV's understanding of the unique challenges at Solomon and applying BBurg's knowledge and experience in the development of top hammer and down-the-hole machines for mining applications, the HD2500 RC was developed with the following key features:
- Low footprint with a width of 3.5m
- High power with capacity to push 1150 cfm of air at 500psi down the hole
- Rod handler to increase productivity and improve safety
- 330m of rod capacity on board
- Full wireless remote control
An opportunity to develop talent
Working with Eastern Guruma at Solomon has enabled JSW to support the development of Aboriginal trainees into fully-qualified drillers, with 40 percent indigenous participation in the Solomon project presently.
This activity supports JSW's goal to increase indigenous involvement in the drilling industry through regional employment and training programs.
Advances in customised drill technology through partners such as BBurg will create broader, long term opportunities for indigenous employment.