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Filtering by Category: Vol 12

Drill rod care & maintenance

Drill Safe


MBI Drilling Products offers its products and services in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, South Africa, Morocco and even Russia. We’re currently looking at even more countries! 

As you know, drill rods need to be maintained properly to ensure their longevity. Watch this video to learn how to do it in just a few simple steps! 


We recently announced that we’d be launching a blog on our website. It’s ready! Feel free to check it out and let us know if you have any ideas for more topics! 

Precise, delicate and challenging: drilling is a little-known form of art. Drillers aren’t often recognized, but it goes without saying that they’re indispensable. Learn more about the realities of Canadian and South American drillers in this new blog post!

It’s true that there are many types of additives, but grease is indispensable for lubricating accessories and reducing friction in drill rods. But how do you choose the right grease and determine how much to apply?

Gloves: what capabilities matter?

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In the last ten years the mining industry has become very diligent about requiring gloves for tasks. In most cases, staff can choose from a wide variety of glove options, all providing good to excellent cut and puncture resistance for the most common hazards. The industry has seen a commensurate reduction in minor hand injuries as a result.

But what of heavier hazards? Especially around reverse-circulation and rotary-type drills, suspended loads are heavy and often must be maneuvered in close quarters. There are "driller's gloves" that claim to be suited for these tasks and some are.

Specialty driller's gloves were produced, promising fewer injuries and better grip. They certainly looked formidable, but how much protection did they offer and at what cost to manual dexterity? In many cases we found that heavy gloves were necessary only for limited tasks and those limited tasks did not require great dexterity. This allowed us to mandate the use of heavy gloves as appropriate without engaging on the dexterity issues. Crews are encouraged to change gloves for more dexterous tasks.

Any discussion of PPE must start with a task risk assessment or observation, followed by application of the hierarchy of controls for each step. Many of the conditions we once accepted as the way things were done have disappeared as guarding, communications and system checks have been added to the process.

The hierarchy of controls must include strong procedural and administrative controls for those tasks that cannot be eliminated. Your workers must know the requirements and the reasons for those requirements. The use of mandated safety gear must be supported and enforced by every worker, with audits and support from the safety group to ensure compliance. This article will describe desirable glove qualities for remaining hazards.

So, what qualities and capabilities matter to your users?

  • Colour: high-visibility colors are the only logical choice for heavy gloves. Gloves are being used as a last line of defense in a critical task. Awareness is the basis for physical protection. Give your users a chance to build awareness around where hands and fingers are in a given task. In addition to high visibilty colors, we trained that in a two-man team, each worker watched the hands of the other. The person with hands in the danger zone was watching the operator's hands to make sure no controls were in operation. The operator watched the worker's hands to make sure they were clear before operating. High visibility colors made this awareness easier.

  • Grip: Most heavy gloves are available with a variety of grip material from heavy cotton to leather. Including your workers in your risk assessment will point to the type of grip material best for the task you are evaluating. Remember to ask about grip conditions several hours into a shift. How does a material stand up to exposure to water, oil, grease or mud? How often should gloves be changed?

  • Padding: Padding choices in heavy gloves seem weighted toward knuckle-skinning hazards. While this is a reasonable protection for mechanic gloves, where there is a crushing hazard look for wrap-around padding that can distribute the force around the fingers. One manufacturer demonstrates this by encouraging customers to put their hand inside a glove then strike it with a mallet. Do not try this with knuckle-guard-only gloves! Where a large pad on the back of the hand may distribute force across the back of the hand to reduce injury, knuckle guards are too small to effectively distribute force across a larger area.

    Again, return to your risk assessment. If the hazard is skinned knuckles, guard against that. If the hazard is a crushing injury, make sure the glove pads can distribute the force.

  • Fit: every glove is most effective when it fits best and most likely to be used when that fit is comfortable. Involve your users in determining the range of sizes to stock and don't be afraid to give those with much larger or much smaller hands their own supply of appropriately-sized gloves. A glove left on the workbench helps no one.

  • Insulation: If a worker is wearing gloves to keep his hands warm, it will be hard to ask him to don cold heavy gloves for a task in cold weather or wet gloves. Change gloves with the seasons to assure use and keep enough on hand that employees can change them out when saturated.

Gloves are not cheap and heavy gloves are amongst the more expensive gloves. They are worth the expense when you are confident they provide the protection you want your workers to have. Training employees to use them appropriately will provide better protection for workers.
Keeping a bucket of soapy water available for saturated gloves provides a place to put dirty gloves during the shift. During cleanup, the gloves and water can be agitated to clean them then the gloves can be laid out to dry for use the next day.

Like all PPE, gloves are a last line of defense. Though we invest in gloves, we should all be spending much more time evaluating tasks and applying the hierarchy of controls to ensure we don't need that last line of defense for any of our PPE.

Kolomela Projects Proudly Achieves 4 Years with no Lost Time Injuries

Drill Safe

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By T.C.P. Booysen and W.C. Olivier

On Sunday, 29 July 2018 Master Drilling Exploration’s (MDX) Kolomela project achieved 4 years without Lost Time Injury (LTI) or nearly 1 million LTI free man-hours. This is truly a remarkable feat considering the project employs over 100 people operating 15 drill rigs with supporting logistics at any given time.  This achievement reflects the strong safety awareness and culture of not only the MDX SHEQ department but every employee on the site. This milestone could also not have been achieved without the close collaboration of our client, Kumba Iron Ore and, more specifically, the Kolomela safety and leadership teams to whom MDX would also like to give credit.


“Safety must come first, and I believe there is no reason we can’t have an injury-free workplace. Our team have really embraced this approach, understanding incidents not only impact our work, but importantly, family and home life too”, TCP Booysen, MDX senior safety officer. 

On the 15th of August 2018, the General Manager of Kolomela Mine, Mr. Masala Mutangwa and some members of his Kolomela Leadership Team (KLT), presented MDX with a certificate for this milestone safety achievement.

Left to right: Mr. Eddie Dixon (COO -– MDX); Mr. Trevor Booysen (Senior SHERQ – MDX); Mr. Macdonald Modise (Full-time SHE rep – Kolomela); Mr. Masala Mutangwa (GM – Kolomela); Ms. Refilwe Legotlo (Acting MTS – Manager); Mr. Jackie Lourence (Section Manager – SHE Kolomela); Mr. Jasper Coetzee (Operations Manager – MDX) and Mr. Puso Galehole (Safety Officer – MDX).

Left to right: Mr. Eddie Dixon (COO -– MDX); Mr. Trevor Booysen (Senior SHERQ – MDX); Mr. Macdonald Modise (Full-time SHE rep – Kolomela); Mr. Masala Mutangwa (GM – Kolomela); Ms. Refilwe Legotlo (Acting MTS – Manager); Mr. Jackie Lourence (Section Manager – SHE Kolomela); Mr. Jasper Coetzee (Operations Manager – MDX) and Mr. Puso Galehole (Safety Officer – MDX).


The COO of MDX commended the team for this remarkable achievement but emphasised that they should not become complacent and should remain vigilant and innovative in the ways they approach safety, always advocating “safety as a culture” on site.

Mr. Eddie Dixon, Chief Operating Officer – MDX, congratulating the Kolomela team on their excellent achievement, but warning to not be complacent, to remain vigilant and do everything possible to maintain good safety performance.

Mr. Eddie Dixon, Chief Operating Officer – MDX, congratulating the Kolomela team on their excellent achievement, but warning to not be complacent, to remain vigilant and do everything possible to maintain good safety performance.


The Kolomela Project has implemented several initiatives which contributed to achieving this excellent safety milestone, including but not limited to the following:

  • Ensuring that the site has the correct skills and competent persons for each job;

  • Strong safety processes which encourage pro-active safety behaviour;

  • Encouraging a culture of safety – both as a collective and as an individual;

  • Active participation in the client’s initiatives, safety strategies and safety management plans;

  • Planned Task Observation (PTO), Visible Felt Leadership (VFL), on-the-job coaching by management and leadership teams;

  • Planned audits, inspections, reporting and monitoring;

  • Learning from incidents,; through dynamic SHEQ communication across the business;

  • Embracing the “STOP & FIX” culture for unsafe conditions and/or behaviours;

  • Monthly, daily and weekly meetings and safety forums;

  • Quarterly participative forum meetings;

  • An effective safety incentive scheme.

Proud MDX employees celebrating 4 years without any LTIs with a well-deserved braai.

Proud MDX employees celebrating 4 years without any LTIs with a well-deserved braai.

MDX’s SHEQ management system and process approach proved to be fundamental contributing factors to ensuring a safe workplace at Kolomela.  Utilizing innovations such as electronic checklists, daily inspections and other paperless technologies to not only gather data on possible future areas of risk, but also communicate safety related content to employees on site rapidly and effectively, bolstering safety awareness and culture daily.
This way of doing things differently compared to traditional methods fits into Master Drilling’s vision of, “We challenge the status quo to provide our clients with specialised, adaptive one-stop drilling solutions”.  It is within the framework of this vision that MDX, in collaboration with clients, strives to accomplish even greater safety achievements with zero-harm always being the ultimate goal in the workplace.   


Sound pollution solution   

Drill Safe

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The cutting of diamond drill core is potentially a dangerous and noisy operation. Geo-Explore Store (Pty) Ltd. has a range of core splitters on offer, all ensuring the highest levels of safety.

The blades used on these machines can be regular or silenced/damped. The silenced blades reduce noise levels while cutting to significantly lower levels. We still recommend ear protection but the strain is drastically minimised.

Have a look at some of our other core cutting offerings:

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information or quotes should you have a need.

Denis Blewett
Cell: +27 (0) 82 744 7594
Tel: +27 (0) 11 392 5324
Fax:+27 (0) 086 580 7392

Our new look

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Colin Rice Exploration and Training (Pty) Ltd. was started, by Colin, in 2009, after he received a number of requests to conduct safety based training. Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown to provide a variety of safety and technical training courses, develop drill site safety standards, conduct risk assessments and pre-deployment safety audits, develop tender specifications, compile operating and safety manuals as well as start and maintain DrillSafe Southern Africa.

With this growth and opportunity, we thought it was time to reorganise and refresh our brand as well as to clarify our offerings. With the help of a talented branding professional we underwent the creative process of rebranding. 


We have reorganised our brand as Colin Rice Exploration Drilling Advisory, although our legal entity remains the same. Colin Rice Exploration Drilling Advisoryhas three service divisions as well as the DrillSafe Southern Africa partner brand

Through the rebranding process, we were forced to “dig deep” and explore what meant the most to us, as a company. Colin has always maintained that there are four aspects to drill site safety and as we continued with our process, we concluded that these are the four cornerstones on which our business is built. These cornerstones are what holds our business together, what helps us build it up and they are the basis for everything we do; the people, the equipment, the environment, and the processes involved in drilling operations. 

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We have maintained the interlinked diamond shapes in all of our logos to echo the theme of the four cornerstones and to remind us that they are present in all the services we provide to our customers.

Robust, rugged, no nonsense rigs

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DrillSafe welcomes Thor Drill Rig to the DrillSafe Community as a Contributor!

Thor drill rigs are known to be robust, rugged and no nonsense rigs. We have built over 400 drilling rigs that are operating successfully throughout South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique. Zambia, Namibia, DRC, Cameroon. Swaziland, Brazil, Europe, Australia etc.

Having built up considerable experience and success over 20 years, our drill rigs has become second to none. We are proud to supply well priced rugged, low maintenance and easy to repair products. 
We carry large quantities of spares to ensure minimum down time in case of a break down. All the spares are made in-house on CNC machines to ensure the highest quality. We also cater for the individual in the sense that we can customise a drill rig to the customer's needs and drilling conditions.

Please feel free to contact us for any information regarding the specs on drill rigs.

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A wide variety of drilling products

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DrillSafe welcomes Rodtek Engineering to the DrillSafe Community as a Contributor!

Rodtek Engineering has grown exponentially since its start in 2007 to becoming a market leader in Africa and the rest of the world, offering a wide variety of drilling products to our customers to ensure they have what they need to get the job done.

Because of our strategic location and size we are ideally situated to compete with international companies supplying the mining industry in Africa and worldwide. We manufacture premium equipment at competitive prices with very short lead times to maximize your company’s profitability.

For us it’s about customer service, offering premium drilling equipment with expert knowledge and design capabilities to keep you drilling for longer with minimal down time and maximum production.

We offer more than good quality and service, we offer a partnership. We supply some of the biggest drilling companies in the word as they have come to rely on the quality, consistency, and availability of our products to keep them competitive on any drilling site.

Together with our sister company Thor Drill Rig we provide a turn-key operation providing Drilling machines and equipment of the highest quality to customers globally.

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Our safety mantra

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DrillSafe welcomes Hall Core Drilling to the DrillSafe Community as a Contributor!

"The safety of our employees and those impacted by our operations are non-negotiable. The company's mantra, HARM FREE encompasses safety, health and the environment in which Hall Core operates and takes priority in every aspect of the business. We believe there is no monetary or other gain that can ever justify or remediate the loss of life or limb. It is for this very reason that Hall Core Drilling embraces only one universal and overriding principal, HARM FREE.

HARM FREE not only extends to our employees but to those with whom we interact in our day-to-day activities, including the communities and environment in which we work.

The company follows a risk-based approach in which every potential risk is listed, rated and mitigations implemented. The mitigation of risks is an all encompassing approach that includes our employees, equipment and behaviour on site. Our Fatal Risk Control Protocol is designed and implemented to address the underlying issues that heighten the risk of fatalities in our day-to-day conduct and forms the foundation of our HARM FREE approach."

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Environmental packaging - Thinking outside the box

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Standing out among dusty drill sites and on the back of trucks, AMC’s bright green containers with a yellow lid have made them an icon of the global drilling industry. Throughout the years our packaging has changed to withstand the harsh elements on drill sites, long journeys to our global client base and focus on reducing impact on the environment, while keeping our products as fresh as the day they were manufactured.  

As environmental awareness grows in today’s society, so does the demand for sustainable packaging. IMDEX’s leading brand, AMC is committed to being at the forefront of innovation and sustainability in the drilling industry, endorsing practical ways to reduce packaging waste and promote sustainability.

At AMC we utilise a global QHSE Management System and QHSE Star Rating System to continually monitor, audit and improve our products, services and internal practices. These Systems have been developed in line with the OHSAS 18001 and ISO 9000 series of management system standards and best practices. They ensure legal compliance and an overarching commitment to quality, health, safety, environmental matters and risk management.

AMC has responded to the industry’s concern by offering flexible packaging options such as cardboard boxes suitable for powder and liquid drilling fluid products.  These options are made from raw materials and use less than 10% of the plastic compared to rigid packaging. These options have been vigorously tested and carefully thought out to withstand the harsh activities of drilling.

By encouraging clients to utilise these options, AMC has seen a reduction of plastic and landfill issues on site, as well as several efficiencies in safety and logistics. These new environmental-friendly packaging options also require less energy to produce from socially responsible suppliers. 

The cardboard outer is fully biodegradable and recyclable; boxes are also water-resistant and strong enough to withstand transport and the elements. For liquid products such as AMC TORQUE GUARD™ a bladder insert with easy pour taps are incomparable to lifting a heavy cube of product. When packed into boxes, we are able to reduce the amount of packaging required to be disposed of by 95%.

The cardboard box option is also smaller and more ergonomic for lifting, being less heavy than plastic. A lighter load of 20kg will assist in reducing risk of physical injury through mishandling.  The reduced weight of these packages also enable more flexible for transport, such as the ability to utilise up to 50% more litres per pallet than rigid containers and reduce overall transport costs.

 “Drilling optimisation is the key focus for AMC moving forward. Our business is thinking beyond the supply of quality drilling fluids, we are investing in technology and researching new ways to drill safely, effectively and sustainably. We are redefining the way our products are used, capturing data and delivering improvement in processes to minimise risk and improve profitability before our clients even start drilling.”Troy Giesler - AMC Minerals General Manager

Other technologies such as our Solids Removal Unit™ range also support the mantra of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” and complement our biodegradable and environmentally friendly drilling fluid range. AMC’s SRU™ range recycles used drilling fluid, maintaining fluid properties in optimum conditions and reducing excessive consumption of mud and water. This can have a number of flow on effects to an operation, affecting productivity, safety, logistics and the environment; not limited to:

  • Improved on-site health and safety by reducing manual handling and excessive mixing

  • Reduced water consumption mud usage and cartage costs

  • Eliminated the cost of digging and rehabilitating sumps

  • Increased drilling productivity and KPIs

  • Minimised site re-mediation and environmental management costs

  • Reduced site footprint

  • Facilitated access to environmentally sensitive or remote drill sites

  • Reduces the wear and tear on rig components

  • Minimised formation damage

  • Reduced rig maintenance and breakdowns.

It’s important to ensure that sustainability goes hand in hand with innovation. In doing so, operations can trust that drilling operations not only benefit from a reduced environmental impact, but also welcome greater efficiencies in operations. This is an indirect, but necessary, way to achieve a greater, global goal of sustainability.

Further information

For more information on AMC’s environmentally-friendly drilling fluid packaging options, Solids Removal Unit™ range, IMDEX’s Drilling Optimisation solution or ways we can support you, please visit, or contact your nearest REFLEX or AMC representative. 

How to Safely Assemble an RC Hammer

Drill Safe

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By Luke Byrne

The history of pneumatic hammers is thought to date back to 1844 when they were originally designed for hard rock drilling in quarry environments. The hammer remained at the surface of the hole whereby more drill pipe was added once the head reached the table. At this time the systems used were inefficient and resulted in inaccuracies of the borehole which in turn resulted in inaccurate control of the blasting process. Once the DTH system was engineered by Andre Stenuik from Belgium in 1954 it was quickly implemented and then soared to the top as the premier method for hard rock drilling diameters of 5” and above.

While significant product developments have been made over the years to the DTH hammer category the hazards involved within assembly and disassembly of the product largely remain the same. Mincon Rockdrill’s take its responsibility seriously in all HSE matters and strictly adheres to the following controls measures when assembling our DTH hammers in our manufacturing environment. All employees prescribe to the safe work practices, manual handling techniques, correct use of tooling, lifting aids, housekeeping and personal protective equipment appropriate for the task as highlighted from the relevant risk assessment.

Safe Assembly of a Reverse Circulation Hammer

Ensure all components, except for the sample tube, are liberally coated with good quality rock drill oil and threads with thread grease. Check the condition of all O rings and the check valve seal before assembly. Assembly of all hammers should be completed with the following PPE steel cap boots, gloves and safety glasses. Tooling such as dolly’s and hammers should be inspected and dressed as appropriate before use.

  • Identify the chuck end of the hammer and stand the wear sleeve with the chuck end facing up (ensure the wear sleeve is on even ground and the area is free of spill hazards). Insert the piston retaining ring in to the groove provided. Ensure the extraction groove on the retaining ring is facing the chuck end of the hammer.

  • Insert the Aligner (with the smaller outside diameter facing the piston retaining ring) in to the wear sleeve. Using a soft steel drift, tap the aligner in to place against the piston retaining ring.

  • Place the bit retaining rings on top of the aligner.

  • Grease the chuck then screw (with the chuck sleeve assembled on it) in to the wear sleeve.

  • Seal up the chuck end of the hammer as to reduce the likelihood of rock oil running from the bottom end producing slip hazards.

  • Lay the hammer horizontally then lubricate the piston and feed into the wear sleeve (as the piston is heavy and lubricated be careful for the pinch point between the two parts)

  • Stand the hammer with the back head end facing up (Be sure the environment is clean so the hammer will not slip thereby generating a crush point)

Note: This is one type of injury that can be sustained.

Note: This is one type of injury that can be sustained.

  • Insert the Sample tube mount in to the inner cylinder and fit the seating rings around the round holes on the inner cylinder.

  • Insert the Inner cylinder assembly in to the wear sleeve. Tap the assembly in to place using a soft steel drift (inspect the drift before use as metal fragments can lodge in the skin at velocity).

  • Place the lock ring on top of the sample tube mount.

  • Fit the spacer on to the sample tube with the flat face facing down to the drill bit end of the sample tube. Place the check valve spring on to the locating recess on the spacer and fit the check valve in to place.

  • Spray the area under the rings of the sample tube with penetrating oil (e.g. CRC / WD40). If hammer oil is used then the sample tube will not go in to place properly because a hydraulic lock will occur between the sample tube shoulder and the sample tube mount.

  • Insert the sample tube assembly in to the hammer.

  • Pour hammer oil in to the hammer.

  • Fit the screen to the adaptor tube and insert the assembly in to the back head. Insert the circlip in to the back head to lock the assembly in to place.

  • Screw the back head assembly in to the wear sleeve. There should be a standoff gap of between 0.5mm - 1mm (0.020” – 0.040”) between the back head and wear sleeve shoulders. If the shoulders meet up then the lock ring needs to be replaced so that all internal parts are properly locked in place.
    Seal up the top of the hammer.

  • Store the hammer on its side and rotate it periodically if it is being stored for an extended period of time. If a hammer is to be stored for a long period of time, we would recommend that the hammer be disassembled, oiled up, and stored in a clean, dry environment.

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Sponsor of the Drill Rig and Safety Innovation Forum

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Premier Drilling Equipment is the Drinks Sponsor for the Drill Rig and Safety Innovation Forum, taking place on 20 July 2018 at Glen Hove Conferencing, Johannesburg. 

Premier Drilling Equipment is one of the more recent additions to the DrillSafe Annual Contributors and we are so happy you are on board with us!

We would like to thank Premier Drilling Equipment for recognising the importance of DrillSafe and for their support! 

Register to attend the Drill Rig and Safety Innovation Forum and come and enjoy a networking drink with us.

Record Drilling Research Wells in the Karoo Basin

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Compiled by:
Lauferts, H. - Shell International E&P, The Hague, The Netherlands.
Homrighausen, R. - Akademie der Geowissenschaften, Hannover, Germany
Crous, E. - Geoserve Drilling South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa

 The year 2015 has seen scientific drilling activities in the Karoo Basin. With funding from South Africa’s Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) and multiple international industry sponsors, the Karoo Research Initiative (KARIN) operated and delivered successfully two fully cored research wells near the towns of Ceres (drilled to 670 meters) and Willowvale (drilled to 2380 meters). The main purpose of drilling these wells was to demonstrate world class drilling safety and to provide geoscience researchers in South Africa with fresh rock samples for investigation. The secondary objective of the campaign was to prove technical capabilities of South African drilling contractors. These capabilities were known for decades in igneous and hard rock geology of the Witwatersrand. However, in the sedimentary sections of the Karoo Basin very important choices had to be made in terms of well design, drilling and completion hardware selection, mud system type, and safe and environmentally sound operational procedures.

Figure 1: A well site near Ceres, South Africa

Figure 1: A well site near Ceres, South Africa

Figure 2: Site rehabilitation post project, Ceres

Figure 2: Site rehabilitation post project, Ceres

 As with any technically complex activity, appropriate and timely planning helps to insure that set objectives can be safely achieved. This is particularly important in the sensitive Karoo Basin, where many eyes are focussing on a spotless environmental performance. The paper describes the project steps from well design, tender exercise to the actual drilling and data logging operations. 

The drilling operations at the Ceres site took place in July and August 2015, while the Willowvale well was drilled between September and December 2015. The combined core lengths of almost 3000 meters make these wells record breakers in the Karoo Basin. While successfully delivering the wells, Geoserve Drilling SA demonstrated that safe and cost effective drilling can be done by South African contractors. The drilled cores will help South African geoscientists understand the Karoo geology better and provide a sound foundation for future decision making.

Figure 3: Willowvale Project - site layout

Figure 3: Willowvale Project - site layout

Figure 4: Contained Sump System and Solids Removal Unit

Figure 4: Contained Sump System and Solids Removal Unit