By W.C Olivier
Master Drilling, the local and international technology driven company, in November 2017 embarked on a challenge to drill horizontal diamond core boreholes into the Table Mountain Group quarzitic rocks, of the Hottentots-Holland Mountains near Kylemore, in the Western Cape. The project was initiated by the Stellenbosch Municipality in consultation with the groundwater consulting company GEOSS This is the first attempt in South Africa drilling horizontal diamond core boreholes into the side of a mountain cliff face, giving the opportunity to tap into “underlying” aquifers. These horizontal boreholes form part of Master Drilling’s extensive regional projects which aim to urgently boost the water supply for the Western Cape region by tapping aquifers with sufficient water yields.
It is expected that these boreholes will unlock large groundwater aquifers which will aid the efforts to relieve the immediate water needs of Stellenbosch and later, the larger City of Cape Town municipalities.
The Table Mountain drilling is particularly challenging due to the tough drilling conditions posed by the hard and fractured Table Mountain quartzites. Master Drilling made a few quick adaptions to the drilling conditions and as a result the first 200mx122mm diameter borehole progressed well and was recently completed. Several additional horizontal core holes will be drilled at this site, with the possibility of drilling in other locations in the near future.
A second portion of the current project involves percussion drilling in the immediate vicinity where GEOSS are targeting the confined Peninsula Formation of the Table Mountain Group. The borehole depths have reached a maximum of 400m thus far. Some of the boreholes completed to date have delivered considerable yields with the greatest yield achieved so far, being in excess of 30l/s.
Master Drilling is confident it will continue to achieve success in the region and is committed to greatly expanding its services to help assist with the future aquifer drilling programs in the region.
The drilling of these horizontal boreholes has once again affirmed Master Drilling’s ability to overcome challenging drilling problems and prove itself as a one-stop drilling solutions provider.