Master Drilling Gears Up with New Equipment
July 18, 2014
As technology continues to improve and advance manufacturers of mining equipment are designing products that will require less people to operate the machinery. A good example of this is the leading role Master Drilling is taking when it comes to raise-bore drills that will be used in diamond mining.
The CEO of the company, Danie Pretorius, told Business Day Live, "One of the good things to come out of the platinum strike is that mining companies realize they cannot do things as they did in the past. They are looking for new technologies. We need to produce more tones with fewer people and greater efficiencies".
One of the new pieces of equipment Master Drilling is working on is an 11m-high raise bore drill that will be able to drill holes up to 8m in diameter. The company is also exploring the efficacy of horizontal raise-bore drilling at designated diamond mines to develop production tunnels quickly and safely, which should cut down on operation costs.
The strike Pretorius was referring to was a 5-month work stoppage in South Africa that is estimated to have cost platinum producers $2 billion. While skilled human labor will never be completely obsolete, mining companies are definitely seeking ways to cut down their reliance on staff, especially those involved with unions.
Master Drilling is also involved in a project in Chile that deploys remote drills. Human-operated machines are used for only 10 hours in a day following a blast due to noxious blasting gasses that have to be cleared before miners can safely work in the area. The remote drills can work continuously and begin immediately after a blast.
Master Drilling is expecting a robust 2015 and estimates 60% of revenue comes from Latin America and 39% from Africa. Master Drilling Group, Ltd. trades under the stock symbol MDI:SJ.