Miners have known from the beginning that taking the ‘values’ and leaving the rest is the essence of quality mining. Although not always possible, this thinking has driven the narrow vein mining concepts that we use today. In the mechanized world, we have tried to make ever smaller machines that can still get the job done safely, efficiently and minimize dilution
In 2007, we commissioned a short study on handheld drilling and found that the risk of injury with handheld drills was seven times greater than with mechanized drills. Medatech made a proposal in 2007 to build a microbolter specifically for narrow vein headings. CAMIRO found six industry sponsors and the project started in July 2007. The microbolter was delivered in November 2008 and this paper describes the interactions with the industry to input to the design, the construction challenges, the field testing at NORCAT and ValeInco’s Coleman Mine and the final configuration of the bolter. The microbolter operates easily in a 2.44m (8 ft.) by 2.44m (8ft.) heading and was successfully tested in tighter quarters.