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Africa|Business|Business Growth|Coal|Construction|Copper|Cutting|Energy|Exploration|Logistics|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|rail|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|Resources|Road|Safety|Surface|Sustainable|Systems|Technology|transport|Underground|Maintenance|Solutions|Drilling|Operations

Exploring a better way

23rd November 2023


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Hundreds of exploration projects across Africa have firmly entrenched Mitchell Drilling International (MDI) as a premier exploration partner of choice to leading mining corporations from around the world. MDI is partnering with KoBold Metals Zambia on an extensive deep-hole drilling project along the border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The far north of Zambia is arguably as off-grid and challenging as any landscape can get, even by African standards. This vast country – known as the continent’s ‘slumbering giant’ – has turned a corner and extensive construction projects are improving road networks, extending air and rail transport links, and modernising telecommunications systems.

It is clear that Zambia is striving to again be the world’s leading copper producer and MDI aims to play a significant part in this goal. The MDI crew is succeeding where others have failed, with its latest flagship project involving extensive deep-hole exploration for its client KoBold Metals Zambia.

“It’s fantastic being back in Zambia and partnering with a respected Tier 1 client,” explains MDI GM for commercial and business development Robin Durant. “We have allocated three of our deep-hole drilling rigs to this project. This is exactly the kind of exploration synergy we relish, especially here in our African backyard,” he says.

Decades of experience, as well as a business bouquet boasting a comprehensive range of drilling solutions, have established MDI as one of the undisputed leaders in exploration on the continent. It prides itself on absolute dedication to operational safety, all while committing to community development linked to sustainable operations.

“The Mingomba mine project in Zambia may well play to our expertise in deep-hole drilling, but as always we are open to exploring the full gamut of technologies we have in our arsenal,” continues Durant. “Challenging sand reservoirs and unpredictable subterranean structures saw our rigs and operators tested to their limits but, like our motto says, we ‘will always find a better way’.”

This they certainly did, drilling more than 12 000 m over an average hole depth of 1 500 m since project inception and maintaining an exceptional pro-duction rate despite hole depth and associated challenges. With more than 20 drill rigs available, MDI is able to vary its drilling approach depending on the underground conditions and has the logistics in place to react quickly and efficiently.

“The best way to increase profit margins in the mining game is through efficient drilling,” explains MDI chair-person Nathan Mitchell. He has been central to the drilling and resource exploration industry since joining the family business in 1989, and his proven track record in technical development and business growth is one of the MDI cornerstones. 

“We implicitly trust our own premium value judgement and will always deliver what we are worth on any given project,” says Mitchell. “This is one of the reasons our partnership with KoBold Metals Zambia has been so successful. Like them, we believe exploration is a repeatable science and achievable through comprehensive data aggregation, geoscience excellence and the use of artificial intelligence.” 

The partnership is underpinned by the highlights that MDI has achieved over five decades of operations, including:

  • Over five-million meters drilled for mineral and coal exploration across the world.
  • Pioneering directional surface to in-seam drilling techniques.
  • Drilling 2 000+ coal bed methane (CBM) wells in Australia.
  • Drilling 100+ CBM wells overseas.
  • Completing 300 CBM horizontal wells in Australia.
  • Completing 100 CMB horizontal wells overseas.

Mingomba mine stands as a prime example in a new global drive to unlock extensive deposits of renewable energy metals and minerals in northern Zambia. 

“At KoBold Metals Zambia, we aim to achieve this through combining artificial intelligence with cutting-edge technology, modelling the sub-surface to explore these depths in ways [that are] more effective than conventional techniques,” explains KoBold Metals Zambia CEO Mfikeyi Makayi.

This aligns seamlessly with MDI’s focus to perform beyond expectations when it comes to all facets of client delivery. “We also see eye-to-eye on other priorities, such as nurturing talent across genders and cultures and, where possible, developing the communities near our projects,” says MDI Africa Operations GM Glen Velleman.

MDI’s team in Zambia operates three deep-hole rigs from an impressive base camp, with a support crew coordinating human resources, on-the-fly maintenance and seamless logistics support. Cutting-edge technology and incisive decision-making within a focused team structure sets it apart as African experts who “get the job done”.

“Industry-leading production may well be our primary objective, but our mission will always be to leave the areas we drill in – above and below the surface - as pristine as possible,” concludes Durant. “After all, we’re in it for the long run, and protecting planet Earth for future generations is a non-negotiable responsibility.”

Contact us at: Tel: +27 (0) 72 297 5080

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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