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August 17, 2022
State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) of Tanzania is increasing its fleet of Epiroc exploration drill rigs as part of a plan to expand nationally and in Africa as a whole.
The company currently has three operations underway in Tanzania, Geita and Mara (Buckreef and Buhemba Gold Mines) – but it is the Geita gold mine where the opportunities for growth are showing the greatest promise.
As a result, the company has decided to boost its fleet of Epiroc drill rigs there from two to five to step up production in challenging drilling conditions.
The company’s team of 11 operators currently has three rigs at their disposal (an Explorac 235 and two Christensen 140) but is scheduled to take delivery of three more (two Christensen 140 and one Explorac 100) later this year, 2022. Drilling Supervisor Mark Andrew Magesa explains the strategy behind the decision.
"These rigs are very powerful and generally perform very well. The operators all like them. But in these conditions, we also get a high level of wear and tear on the parts. So besides performance, the availability of parts from Epiroc Tanzania was a big factor in our decision to purchase the new rigs."
The Geita mine site is characterized by hard, often broken ground. This consists of basalt and andrasite with underlying banded iron formations. Most of the holes are started with HQ size diameters of around 90 mm and then continue with NQ size 70 mm until the target depth is reached.
Hole depths vary, depending on the mine plan, but mostly range from 250m to 600m. This means that the crews drill some 30m–40m per shift, with two shifts per day.
Sustainability and safety are both key issues for STAMICO. On sustainability, supervisor Magesa says as more rigs increase production and will eventually cause revenues to rise, it will have a positive effect on community life and national development.
On safety, he says it is simply good for business, lowering injuries, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity.
"For example, the Christensen 140 offers a very safe system for rod-changing while the Explorac 235 can be run by remote control,” he points out. “Both of these safety features reduce the risk of incidents."
In addition to these technical innovations, drilling safety at STAMICO has benefited from a training and commissioning program provided by the local Epiroc team in Geita.
When it comes to service and maintenance, the company’s capable maintenance team services the rigs on a day-to-day basis but counts on the full back-up of the local Epiroc service technicians for any critical issues.
With this new investment, STAMICO is taking its growth strategy to the next level as it looks to become one of the biggest drilling and mining companies in Tanzania and a major player throughout Africa.
The State Mining Corporation, STAMICO, is a wholly-owned government enterprise established in 1972. From its inception, the company was mandated to:
• Facilitate the transformation of the artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector in the country
• Offer commercial drilling services, geological, mining, mineral processing, and environmental consultancies
• Engage in refining, grading, producing, cutting, processing, buying, and selling minerals
• Carry out mineral exploration and development
• Develop and operate mine projects