Bolting head upgrade gives Sandvik DS300 drills new life at New Afton

New Gold (TSX: NGD)’s New Afton underground mine just outside the city of Kamloops, B.C., now has more than just abundant copper […]
Replacing the old bolter head with the upgraded RD314 on existing Sandvik drills boosted production 25% at the New Afton copper-gold mine. Credit: Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

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New Gold (TSX: NGD)’s New Afton underground mine just outside the city of Kamloops, B.C., now has more than just abundant copper and gold to be pleased about. Launched over a decade ago, it is now ageing Sandvik DS300 drill rigs are being given a new lease of life, thanks to an upgrade that sees a current generation bolting head fitted in a simple like-for-like replacement.

Not only are maintenance more straightforward and spare parts easier to source, the new bolting head is delivering a remarkable productivity increase of 25%. In fact, so successful has the mine’s 2021 upgrade been that New Gold has recently ordered a second of its Sandvik DS300 drill rigs to be given the treatment.

The upgrade features the latest RD300 series drill, making it perfect for rock bolting in underground mines with small-and-medium cross sections. Different bolt type and length configurations are available, while a full bolt carousel ensures the DS300 is capable of installing up to 15 bolts, ranging from 1.6 metres to 3 metres long. The upgraded carousel can handle cement grouted, resin grouted, anchor point, and friction bolts.

The SBH upgrade itself is straightforward, comes in kit form and can be conducted by the mine’s in-house technical teams, using the included comprehensive instruction manual. Taking at most a couple of shifts to complete, customer feedback regarding the installation process has been universally positive, according to Sandvik.

With several hundreds of Sandvik’s D300s still working around the world, Sandvik expects that this SBH – and productivity – upgrade will be as popular with other mines as it is at New Afton.

“The new SBH is already proven in the field and gives an instant performance boost, thanks to the RD314’s much improved penetration rates, said Francois Nell, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ head of rebuilds and upgrades. “Added to that is the convenience of being able to source readily available current parts more easily, as well as increasing mine’s parts commonality across more drills. Also, the new SBH doesn’t put the rest of the D300 under additional strain. In fact, due to the lighter RD314 drifter compared to the drill it replaces, machine strain is, if anything, reduced.”

Find the nearest Sandvik dealer on the company’s website.

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