World-first remote drill strikes gold at mining awards
A TOWERING piece of machinery has broken through a technological world-first, and by doing so improved safety and efficiency on mine sites.
The first ever multi-pass drill with remote operational capacity has been recognised as a game changer for the industry at this year's Queensland Mining Awards.
The drill, pioneered at Anglo American's Dawson Mine, was awarded the JCB CEA Innovation Award.
The mine's general manager Clarence Robertson said the team behind the drill was driven by a commitment to make their open cut operations safer by removing operators from the field.
He said over 18 months they were able to create the world's first known rotary blast hole drill rig to be able to complete multi-pass operations remotely.
"This allows the drill rig to continually add and remove multiple drill rods during the drilling process without operator intervention, making it more efficient and consistent," he said.
"The drill can reach depths up to six times deeper than a standard single-rod drill, including angled and vertical holes, to reach the coal seams more easily.
"Most importantly, the innovation is improving safety by removing our people from an operational area where they could be exposed to noise, dust, vibrations and vehicle movements."
Mr Robertson said a remote operations centre had been set up to use the new one-touch drilling technology.
He said the success of this inspired Anglo American to invest in developing two more drill rigs over the next six months.
Anglo American Metallurgical Coal business chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said the project was a great example of the positive impacts innovation and technology could have on daily operations.
"(It has) come together to make our operations safer, more sustainable and more productive," Mr Mitchelson said.
Anglo American was also a finalist in the innovation, the community and staff engagement, equal opportunity, and the collaboration award categories.