Dilution — planned and unplanned – remains a significant cost impairment in the mining process. A series of trials were held over a six-month period in fiscal year 2018 (FY18) that established the cost-benefit of new technology as it applies to the alignment accuracy of production drilling rigs in underground mining, thus confirming its ability to limit drilling as one of the causes of dilution. The trials identified three underlying factors affecting drilling accuracy, measurable by blast-hole deviation surveys of planned versus actual toe data. These were rig alignment error, collar location change/error and in-hole deviation.
The trials involved a comparison of existing rig setup processes and technology, with the new technology (Minnovare’s Production Optimizer system). The trials were undertaken in the same environment: the Cracow gold mine, an operating underground mine. The comparison first revealed the extent to which rig alignment impacts blast-hole deviation. Secondly, the new technology was proven to limit rig alignment error, thereby reducing average blast-hole deviation and increasing the number of holes drilled within tolerance by 160 percent.