Dry drilling in underground production
A scientific testing program, sponsored by the Mining Industry Research Organization of Canada (MIROC), was undertaken on the surface and underground facilities of Inco's Crean Hill Mine to investigate the effectiveness of using dry drilling with a dust control system.
The surface test work consisted of the monitoring of advance rates and bit life while a series of 165 mm holes, wet and dry, were drilled at both mine air (0.69 MPa) and high pressure air (1.72 MPa). The results, based on statistical evaluations of field data, indicated that penetration rates can be increased by an average of 24% when drilling dry with high air pressure and by approximately 27.5% when drilling dry with mine air as compared with wet drilling under the same conditions. Dry drilling also has the effect of reducing button wear by approximately 69% using high pressure air. The underground test work employed a dust collection system developed for use with large diameter holes (165 mm) and high pressure drilling. The testing program has indicated that an average increase in penetration rate of 35% can be achieved when dry drilling in rock (waste) and of 49% when dry drilling in ore with high air pressure. Although preliminary dust monitoring did not indicate any appreciable increase in dust concentration during dry drilling, further dust monitoring is still required.
A comparative cost analysis has indicated the potential for reduction in drilling costs when dry drilling is utilized. Further testwork is to be conducted to develop a reliable dust collection system for underground production.
Dry drilling, Drilling, Underground mining, Dust control.