The new reverse circulation package helps the geologists to better locate and analyze the ore, which, in turn, increases productivity as more time can be spent drilling in mineralrich ground, compared to waste material. “It will also improve our mine planning, budgeting and reconciliations,” adds Rintoul, “and that makes good business sense.”
However, why spend time modifying an existing drill rig, when there are rigs specifically made for reverse circulation drilling?
According to Rintoul, the main reasons include uniformity with the existing drilling fleet, ease of sourcing parts, and easy transition for drillers who are familiar with the DM operating system.
In addition, a number of components are included with the optional kit, which can also be retrofitted on drills in the field. The cyclone arm allows for sampling from the ground or platform level, with a vertical raise and lowering function. A cyclone rotation of 160 degrees provides safe access for cleaning, maintenance, and attaching new sample hoses from ground level.
The cyclone assembly includes a hydraulic upper knife valve and pneumatic lower knife valve for collecting and isolating the sample; a hydraulic hinge between the dump box and cone splitter that allows for easy cleaning; and a fixed cone splitter with primary and duplicate sample chutes. All cyclone and sample functions are easily controlled from the operator’s cab. Along with the DM45, the RC kit is also available on the DML, offering hole diameters in the 114–146 mm (4½ – 5¾ in) range with maximum hole depths of 44 m (145 ft).
Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.