Drilling contractor maintains sound platinum order book

Drilling contractor maintains sound platinum order book

JSE-listed drilling services provider Master Drilling CEO Danie Pretorius tells Mining Weekly that the company has maintained a sound platinum order book this year, despite labour unrest in the sector.

Drilling contractor maintains sound platinum order book

Publication: Mining Weekly
Source: www.miningweekly.com
Journalist: Chantelle Kotze

JSE-listed drilling services provider Master Drilling CEO Danie Pretorius tells Mining Weekly that the company has maintained a sound platinum order book this year, despite labour unrest in the sector.

“Although the industrial action idled several operations, it did not, to any large extent, affect the underground services that Master Drilling delivers to platinum mines,” he says.

The company was, therefore, able to over- come the risk faced in the sector by ensuring that it is handled as part of its risk manage-ment strategy and by redeploying its labour force to other commodities and areas.

Pretorius notes that Master Drilling aims to maintain its presence in the platinum sector, but on a smaller scale, owing to the volatility in the industry. It will operate between ten and 15 drill rigs in the sector over the next year.

Meanwhile, the company reports that it is undertaking work for the world’s third-largest platinum producer, Lonmin Platinum, at one of its mines, in the North West.

The contract, which was awarded to Master Drilling in March, entails undertaking 20 000 m of exploration diamond drilling over six months, of which 60% is already complete.

Pretorius says there are seven machines operating at the site at present.

The company was subsequently awarded an additional 10 000 m during July, to be undertaken over a further six months.

As of December 31, 2012, Master Drilling had committed to orders totalling $217.6 million, comprising orders worth $92 125 442 for 2013; $45 857 626 for 2014 and $79 617 746 for 2015 and thereafter.

Further, Master Drilling is commissioning a new deep-hole top-drive machine, the HYDX-8, for the platinum market at a site in Brits, in the North West, which will eventually provide the company with a fully automated machine with superior safety features.

Mining Weekly reported in July that Master Drilling was progressing its drilling automation strategies and that they would develop as the company progressed its in-house technology.

By year-end, the company hopes to see the implementation of fully automated insertion and removal of drill rods and automatic remote controlled spanners, besides others.

Meanwhile, Master Drilling plans to organ- ically grow its operations and form joint ventures, which will result in developing its revenue base from existing markets, such as South Africa, and expanding into new geo-graphical areas, specifically Latin America, West Africa and the Middle East.

Master Drilling intends to expand the mar-kets in which it currently operates by pursuing new applications for existing equipment and by entering into new lines of business.