Specialist mining services provider Aquirian Limited (ASX: AQN) has successfully completed the Stage II prototype trial of its Collar Keeper System (patent pending).
The Stage II prototype unit was deployed on an existing drill rig operating in a hard rock gold mining environment in the mid-west of Western Australia. The trial successfully tested fitment to existing drill rigs and delivered marked improvements to drilling rates and drill hole quality.
Drilling rates were improved by approximately two minutes per drill hole on a 5m blast bench during testing, which equates to an improvement of more than 20% over conventional drill methods. Further benefit in time savings as compared to a traditional collar piping process is expected to be realised during Stage III testing in December 2021.
Managing Director, David Kelly, said the prototype testing was conducted over numerous blast holes, testing system functionality and speed of deployment.
We are excited by the successful trial of our Stage ll prototype last week. The system can be quickly and easily retrofitted to existing drill rigs and the improvements to drilling rates and blast hole quality exceeded our expectations. We will continue trialling the Collar Keeper® System in alternate conditions with the aim of commercialisation over the current financial year,” Mr Kelly said.
The Collar Keeper System (patent pending) is a combination of Aquirian-developed, retrofittable drilling apparatus combined with its existing Collar Keeper product to improve blasthole quality control across the mining industry. This technology represents an exciting step change in managing blast hole quality and is targeted to provide a unique solution to a range of different blasting environments with global applications.
The initial focus for the technology will be on mines operating in Western Australia with smaller diameter holes in challenging ground conditions, where high-cost collar piping is traditionally used. The traditional method of collar piping has not changed in over 40 years and introduces significant hazards as well as cost, time and quality issues, and poor blast outcomes for clients.
In addition, the poor blasting outcomes lead to further downstream costs in load and haul, and the processing of In addition, the poor blasting outcomes lead to further downstream costs in load and haul, and the processing of mined material. The current development focus will target approximately 200 operating drill rigs in WA alone, pending the commercialisation of the technology intended for FY22.