New ‘disruptive’ mine borer heads for Indaba unveiling

18 January – Martin Creamer


JOHANNESBURG ( – A new Proudly South African mine tunnel borer that requires no blasting, delivers higher production advances, comes with a collaboration imprimatur and can be retrofitted to existing operations, will be unveiled at next month’s Mining Indaba in Cape Town and commissioned in the third quarter of this year.


Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Master Drilling announced the upcoming “disruptive” mobile tunnel boring solution on Thursday, which, it said in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online, provides quicker orebody access at the capital stage of mining projects and increases productivity when opening up blocks of ground at the production stage.


Excavation, support and waste removal is continuous with the non-explosive process increasing on-face time.


“We believe this solution presents substantial future growth opportunities,” said Master Drilling CEO Danie Pretorius.


Internally conceptualised and internationally patented, the new machine can bore out diameters of 5.5 m at rates that far exceed conventional tunnel boring methods, the company said, adding that it bores declines, ramps, haulages and contact tunnels in hard rock with compressive strengths of 300 MPa-plus.


To realise the concept, the company collaborated with Italy’s Seli Technologies, a company with half a century of tunnelling experience.


The 30-year-old South Africa-based Master Drilling has 160 rigs in 20 countries, which provide drilling and raise boring services.