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Filtering by Category: Vol 8

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

Complete your projects on time with high-quality drill rods and casings

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Premier Drilling Equipment is a well-established core & diamond drilling product supplier to the mining and exploration industry in Africa. We pride ourselves on the fact that we only source the best quality drilling products from the world’s leading suppliers.

This helps our happy customers minimise the amount of downtime on their projects as a result of faulty or low-quality drilling equipment.

Our range of Core Drilling Products include:

– Drill Rods & Casing
– Core Barrels
– Diamond Drilling
– Grease & Polymers
– Instruments
– Versadrill Diamond Drilling Products

Blasting the way to a more efficient, safer and environmentally sound mine site

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In 2006, a shotfirer in the Philippines was conducting a post-blast inspection at a quarry when he fell eight metres into a cavity. He was rescued and taken to hospital with apparently minor injuries. At the time of his rescue and recovery it was noticed that his breathing was laboured, but this information was not communicated to hospital staff. The following day, the worker died of severe pulmonary oedema caused by nitrous oxide poisoning (NOX). The symptoms were not recognised by either the hospital’s medical team or the mine’s rescue staff. A number of other fatalities have since occurred during Drill and Blast activities. Needless to say the Drill and Blast process, particularly in underground operations, has been a high focus area for implementing strict regulations, licensing and overall caution in terms of safety and environmental impact. Workplace hazards and environmental concerns associated with Drill and Blast activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Post-blast fumes such as nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide 
  • Dust containing silica, asbestos and other contaminants
  • Traffic hazards such as cartage and traversing contours and slopes
  • Unsteady surfaces and rock fall 
  • Issues surrounding the blast area and flying rocks 
  • Wet conditions and groundwater 
  • Explosive product runaway.

Together, leading IMDEX brands AMC and REFLEX assist clients to reduce costs and increase their productivity by providing end-to-end solutions across the full mining life cycle. As part of our new range supporting the Drill and Blast market, we are implementing AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™  in open-pit and underground operations to improve productivity and mining efficiencies, and to reduce safety and environmental risks.

AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ is a multifunctional product formulated specifically for air drilling applications, including Drill & Blast. It helps prevent a wide range of down-hole problems including poor collaring, hole decay or sidewall instability. AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ also provides a degree of lubrication to the hole and will improve the lifting capacity of the air stream for cuttings transportation. AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ has a unique formulation which enables it to penetrate deep into the surrounding strata where it will bond friable, fragmented materials, significantly reducing the need for excess conditioning, expensive redrills or casing. 

Ja Smith, Business Development Manager for AMC, said “AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ can provide multiple benefits for Drill and Blast applications, as well as reducing safety and environmental risks.” 

“AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ provides a preventative drilling medium, which reduces hole degradation, cave-ins and exposure to fracturing for explosive material. During trials, it reduced cave-ins, over-drill rates, misfires and associated losses to both production and ore. It also provided consistent gauge Drill & Blast holes, minimising exposure to fractures, reducing fuming and ensuring more efficient blasting”

A poorly planned and executed blast can create issues for downstream processes, as well as adding expense and requiring further redrills. Mine-to-mill studies suggest that quality Drill and Blast operations improve blast fragmentation, which then reduces workloads for operators, machinery and vehicles during loading, hauling and processing (crushing and grinding). An uneven surface created by poor Drill and Blast practices during mine construction also creates issues for the shot crew and miners who are required to work on them, as well as potential damage for vehicles traversing them. Our trials have shown using mist injection to apply AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ reduces fluid usage compared to traditional methods. By limiting water usage, together with reducing redrills and overdrills, this product minimises overall fluid cartage. The reduction in traffic movement improves safety by contributing to lower vehicle risks. 

Dust, fly rock and rock fall can be better controlled by correctly designing the blast pattern, drilling holes according to the design, correct hole spacing and efficient loading of explosives. During drilling activities, fumes including oxides of nitrogen, ammonia, nitric acid, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can be released. They are not visible and exposure to high concentrations can be potentially life threatening. They can also have dramatic impacts on the atmosphere and surrounding communities. By stabilising the hole with AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™, fragmentation is improved and fly rock, rock fall, water ingress and subsequent post-blast fumes are reduced. Dust generated during the drilling process can also contain toxic substances such as asbestos and silica dust, causing subsequent health issues. AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ has been formulated to maximise encapsulation of these contaminants. 

Ja Smith commented, “AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™’s unique formulation enables it to stabilise drill holes, but it also has multiple benefits across the entire mining operation; from reducing redrills, to optimising the blast patterns and paving the way to a safer workplace with reduced environmental impact.. IMDEX’s mining solutions range aims to create this kind of value for all our clients.”

For more information visit or contact your local AMC representative.

Watch the video on AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ below.

MBI safety overshot

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Wireline retrieval operations can be hazardous on many diamond core drilling sites. We are proud to offer a product that eliminates the risk of inner tube de-latching: MBI Safety Overshot. 


Regularly inspecting the overshot is a legal requirement. Daily inspection is strongly recommended to ensure the eye bolt can rotate freely in the cable swivel collar and that the assembly is greased.


NEW clip on core tray lid

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The lie on / strap on lids are still available however we feel this new offering offers a very nice improvement to an already superior core storage solution.

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Fits BQ – PQ size steel 1m Geo-Explore Store core trays.

All lids include a foam liner to assist in holding core securely in place in the core tray during transport.

The lids do not affect the secure interlocking of core trays so stacking is still neat and safe.

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Watch the video to see how the new clip on core tray lid works.


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


Safety rules

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Drilling operations are overseen by geologists, but they usually lack the knowledge and experience to optimise drill performance. Drillers should not hesitate to share their knowledge and improve the operation!


Do you agree? Most accidents can be prevented through:

  • Relevant training
  • Proper supervision
  • Correct use of tools and equipment
  • Safe working practices

What do our customers say about us?

They say that we offer an excellent support service when it comes to repairs, tips on using products and product maintenance.

Innovating safety alongside productivity

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Drilling in any environment is potentially hazardous, however risk factors can be amplified in remote locations, and without strict Health, Safety and Environment laws and regulations. Due to budget or other restrictions, operators can often be slow in adopting new technologies and implementing higher than industry standard practices. 

IMDEX is committed to the continual improvement of drilling and mining operations. Our leading brands AMC and REFLEX provide a range of award winning technologies that optimise workflows. Although the primary function of our products is to improve productivity and reduce overall drilling time, our product development team are looking to continually minimise risk and optimise work flows to create positive flow-on effects to our clients’ operations. By breaking down the entire mining cycle, we have pinpointed the following areas for improvement. 

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Reducing the number of personnel (such as technicians) on site

Offering driller operable instrumentation such as the REFLEX EZ-GAMMA™, REFLEX EZ-GYRO™ and REFLEX GYRO SPRINT-IQ™ negate the need for contractors and technicians such as surveyors or service technicians to be on site. The AMC MUD AID™ is another example where drillers are guided to complete drilling fluid programs, without the need for a dedicated drilling fluid engineer on site. The unit live samples the drilling fluid system against project-specific mud programs and provides instant alerts for maintenance or treatment. 

Improving mechanical functionality and manual tasks during rod trips

Manual tasks take up the majority of unfortunate incidents around the drill rod pipe. The REFLEX EZ-LATCH™ was developed with safety front of mind ensuring easy release of the inner core tube from the outer core barrel without mechanical jamming. The REFLEX CORE REMOVAL TOOL™ is a hands free way (via the magnetic clamps) to hold the tool on the end of the inner core tube, keeping hands and feet away from the impact zone during core removal from the lifter case. The REFLEX ROTA-LOCK OVERSHOT™ is another successful product with safety front of mind. This technology includes a patented release system which minimises downtime from stuck innertubes. The REFLEX ROTA-LOCK OVERSHOT™ allows for fast release without waiting for a dry release or having to cut the wireline. 

Software that provides transparency and simplifies on site processes

IMDEX has developed safety management tools in to its software to avoid and drive on-site safety. Apps such as IMDEX MOBILE™, digitize and simplify processes such as Daily Drill Reports, equipment prestart, shift reports and other safety forms for drillers, verifying information and giving real-time visibility to stakeholders. The application’s user friendly interface makes it easy for drillers to enter safety information, create reports and perform detailed pre-starts in a timely manner. IMDEX MOBILE™ provides an auditable paperless reporting system that aids the achievement of a safety culture on any site. 

Systems that reduce the impact of unexpected conditions

Drilling can be unpredictable, and sometimes you may not realise how bad the ground is until you drill. Using preventable systems such as the AMC BOS™ can relieve down-hole problems causing downtime, rod trips and additional rod handling – all increasing manual handling and risk to injury on site. AMC’s extensive range of drilling fluids can also provide benefit for issues such as high torque, fluid loss or lost circulation, borehole instability or hole cleaning in a variety of ground formations, which will also help to prevent safety issues. 

Strict quality control for mechanical parts 

Our solutions undergo strict design and testing processes that adhere to numerous industry accepted standards. IMDEX is unique by offering testing via Finite Element Analysis (FEA) engineering software to stress test all mechanical equipment to reduce malfunction. 

Further information 

As IMDEX leading brands, REFLEX and AMC are innovators in the space of downhole navigation, drilling optimisation, in-field geoanalysis, driller operable geophysics and structural geology. Our goal is to assist the speed of the overall drilling process by providing solutions that are fast and accurate to use. Our drilling fluids, equipment and software are recognised and highly regarded for ease-of-use, reliability and accuracy within the international drilling industry. 

For more information about IMDEX’s innovative range, please visit one of leading brand’s websites website, or contact your nearest AMC or REFLEX representative. 

Drilling Above the Arctic Circle

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About four hundred kilometres north from Arctic Circle lies one of the most fascinating sceneries of Finland, Arctic lake of Kilpisjärvi and its holy mountain of Saana.On Western shores of the lake Kilpisjärvi lies a Tripoint, the Three Country Cairn, land-mark between northmost Sweden, Norway and Finland while European Route E8 passes the lake using the eastern side lower altitude passage on its way to Tromsa, Norway. E8 is an important part of goods transport route in Northern Europe and a part of Nordic Way, a new Intelligent Transport System test in arctic conditions called Aurora. Aurora enables testing connected and automated driving as well as intelligent infrastructure asset management tests and trials on cross-border corridor E8. The ecosystem facilitates testing in all conditions. A part of E8 modernization and road upgrade project is the im-provement of the bridges in Kilpisjärvi region. A Keller company, Sotkamon Porapaalu, carried out all bridge foundation work by drill-ing 8 pieces of 406 mm casing and 14 pieces of 813 mm casing with average depth of 18 meters having 4 meters rock sockets in solid granite. Drilling was performed during the winter months offering very little ambient light . During the drilling period, in the middle of January, there was only 1-2 hours of daylight temperature being -10 - -30 degrees C°.


All drilling work was done with Mincon overburden systems. Sotkamon Porapaalu uses Mincon Spiral Flush casing advancing tools, as the trouble free and environmentally safe drilling is the key to maximum productivity, even in toughest ground and environment like this mid winter arctic ambiance. 

The holy mountain of Saana with Arctic Lights 

The holy mountain of Saana with Arctic Lights 

E8 upgrade project with Intelligent Transport Test site sections 

E8 upgrade project with Intelligent Transport Test site sections 

Old bridges are too narrow for increasing heavy transport 

Old bridges are too narrow for increasing heavy transport 

Rosond group successfully maintains its safety achievements

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Media statement by ROSOND (Pty) Ltd.

The Rosond group continues to place the safety of their employees at the helm of their operations. This is evident in the recent safety achievement of six months with no Lost Time Injuries (LTI) as a group from July 2017 to January 2018, following a zero harm achievement in their past financial quarter.

At the following sites; Geotechnical, Rasimoni, Elandsrand, Dishaba diamond drilling, Kloof diamond drilling, Tumela diamond drilling, and South Deep diamond drilling - no employee was off from work due to an accident for a period ranging between five and ten years. This is an outstanding achievement for Rosond, bearing in mind the harsh environment it operates in.

“Maintaining our safety achievements is crucial for us. Our daily goal is to make sure that everyone goes home safe to their families and these results are proof that we are on the right track. We will continue to adhere to our safety and health policies in order continue maintaining our performance. Rosond’s goal is to be LTI free by 2020,” says Ricardo Cravo Ribeiro, Operations Director at Rosond.

A culture of zero harm

Rosond’s safety is a collective effort. Management reviews and updates safety manuals annually and when required. After an accident, systems are revisited to ensure the lessons learnt from the accidents are implemented. Employees receive theoretical and practical training annually and when required, on safety and technical aspects to re-emphasise information and ensure that they are motivated to continue to do their jobs safely. Alongside safety training, the use of technologically advanced machinery, equipment and safety devices forms part of Rosond’s safety mandate.

When new employees are recruited, Rosond places them under psychometric tests in order to match them with the intended role and then proceeds with safety and technical training.

Andre Kleynhans, Rosond Safety Manager says, “Safety is a responsibility of all employees and the management; it is team work. Our ongoing safety achievements are a result of continuous improvement of safety methods by management and continuous implementation of safety measures by employees. Another important aspect is that we are committed to investigating all unsafe practices and incidents and take the necessary steps to prevent re-occurrence. So far, Rosond has been doing extremely well, so well that our mind-set has shifted to always put safety first at all times creating a culture of zero harm.”

Safety onwards

To successfully maintain their safety achievements, Rosond is committed to continually apply simple and understandable safety management systems and ensure that all employees are equipped with the means to implement safety procedures at all times.

Rosond also put in place a safety incentive scheme where employees are awarded an incentive when they achieve set safety objectives and targets.

 “Our safety achievements are giving us a competitive edge in the market furthering our client’s trust in our ability to provide seamless and quality service; and at the same time encouraging potential clients to place us top of mind when seeking services like ours,” says Ribeiro.

To reinforce their safety strategy, increase productivity and minimise risks, Rosond is in the process of developing a technologically advanced surface exploration rig. The machine will be fully automated and workers will be operating it from a ‘safe zone’ most of the time.

“We will continue to develop tools, machinery or equipment that will assist our employees to do their jobs safely and productively,” concludes Ribeiro.