Mining equipment and services provider Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology continues to set the pace in underground mining with the launch of its rock-reinforcement cable bolter with automated one-hole drilling designed to improve safety and productivity.
The Sandvik DS221L will significantly improve safety in mines by removing operators from the danger zone and providing immediate and active reinforcement on hanging walls when cable bolts are installed. This means the rock is already secured when the cable bolt is attached and mining can safely continue underneath areas where the grouting – which protects the bolts from corrosion – cures and hardens.
The automated operation of the rig means that no hands-on operator intervention is needed, leading to faster and more precise drilling, cable pushing and grouting – and a process that can be reliably repeated. Bolt lengths can also vary according to the strata of the rock and can range from 1.5 m to 6 m.
The prototype machine – which was developed in close collaboration with mining company African Rainbow Minerals’ Two Rivers platinum mine, in Steelpoort – was developed to specifically address productivity challenges faced by modern mines in South Africa and reduce the risks in the cable-bolting process.
According to Sandvik underground drills business line manager Saltiel Pule, the Sandvik DS221L is capable of rapidly installing pretensioned cable bolts. An onboard batching plant and grouting system ensures bolts can be quickly grouted and protected from the elements.
“These cable-bolting operations are tedious in low-profile mining, prone to accidents and slow,” he says, adding that Sandvik’s system is pretensioned and ensures immediate permanent support.
In line with modern underground mine requirements, the Sandvik DS221L is engineered for safety with a variety of features that ensure reliable, efficient and precise bolting, and reduce the risk of unsteady or hazardous ground. It is compliant with current South African and European mining requirements and meets the specifications proposed by a knowledgeable team of geotechnical, engineering and mining professionals – as well as miners.
It is also built to be robust and durable with a compact turret that ensures smooth operation in low-seam areas. In digitalised environments, the rig is compatible with Sandvik’s OptiMine monitoring system. As for suitability, the Sandvik DS221L cable-rock bolter has completed a 12-month trial at the Two Rivers mine, where it successfully drilled and installed more than 1 000 m of cable holes of different lengths and diameters on a single-shift-per-day cycle.Pule
notes that, as the company moves toward completion and the final industrialisation of its bolter, it is rewarding to see its success knowing that this machine will save lives and offer higher productivity in mines.