Redpath rolls out the big guns

CANADA-based mining contractor Redpath is delivering on its promise to bring the world’s most powerful raise drill, the Redbore 100, to Australian shores.
Redpath rolls out the big guns Redpath rolls out the big guns Redpath rolls out the big guns Redpath rolls out the big guns Redpath rolls out the big guns

The Redbore 100 drill


Local miners will be able to use the drill when it arrives in Perth in June.

Redpath Australia general manager of raiseboring Allan Brady told that introducing the Redbore 100 to Australia had been part of Redpath’s raise drill strategy for years.

“The current growth in the Australian mining industry presents a wealth of opportunities for a raise drill like the Redbore 100 and we believe that now is the perfect time to introduce it to the Australian market,” Brady said.

“It will now be staying in Australia as a major part of Redpath’s Australian raiseboring fleet.”

Brady said Redpath was in discussions with several companies to use the drill but refused to be drawn on specific customers.

“We are in discussions with several large mining houses at some key Australian mines aiming to start work as soon as the Redbore 100 arrives in June,” he said.

He said more information would be released once a final site had been confirmed.

The Redbore 100 can apply 3.5 million pounds of thrust and up to 750,000 foot pounds of rotational torque and amounts to nearly $A20 million worth of equipment including the rig, head and drill rods.

In the right conditions the rig can drill an 8m-diameter raise up to a depth of 1000m.

Brady said the rig’s operational costs could vary and were job specific dependent on the depth and diameter of the raise as well as the rock type encountered.

The Redbore 100 is Redpath’s seventh Australian-based raise drill. It plans to have nine in the country by the end of the year.

“Instead of doing a raise in two passes companies can now pull it in one, minimising the costs associated with the multiple mobilisation and installation that other rigs require,” Brady said.

“This gives mining companies an unprecedented number of options in how they design and structure their mines, which is very exciting for Australia.”

The rig is being shipped from Iamgold’s Westwood gold project in Quebec in Canada, where it completed the fourth largest raise hole ever undertaken.

“We designed the Redbore 100 to make sure that it was not only the most powerful in the world but one of the simplest to manage and manoeuvre,” Brady said.

“We are hitting Australia running with one of the most experienced raise drills in the world to install mounted cameras and diagnostic equipment that continually communicates with headquarters in real time, so any operator working on a remote site here in Australia will never be alone.

“Its variable speed drive computer-aided drilling system allows each drill rod to be torqued to the correct amount, reducing over-torque to the drill pipe.

“This can prevent the loss of expensive reaming heads while also allowing the Redbore 100 to run on a third of the power of smaller raise drills.”

Brady said other raise drill designs with smaller capacities could be 10.5 metres high without the ability to come apart as easily as the Redbore 100.

“Our raiseboring division is growing from strength to strength and we have big plans for the future with a number of exciting developments in the coming years,” he said.

Redpath began rolling out its Redbore drill range in Australia in 2010 starting with its Redbore 40 raise drill in July of 2010, followed by a Redbore 50 MDUR and Redbore 50E.

At the time the company said it would introduce the Redbore 100, when it hoped the market would be strong enough for the entire range to be on Australian shores.

However the expected June arrival date comes months after its previous forecast for the Redbore 100 being available in Australia.

In 2010, Brady said that depending on final government policy on the then resource super-profits tax, the Redbore 100 could be in Australia as early as 2011.

“Once the industry has stabilised we will be in a better position to make a final decision,” Brady said at the time.

In 2010 Redpath Australia chief executive Gordon Shannon said despite proposed government policy, key Australian operations still need sophisticated raiseboring services and equipment.

Redpath has sent several personnel to North America for training on the drill by the Canadian team which has operated the rig at the Westwood project for the last three years. The team will then accompany the drill to Australia.