Swick to test first fully electric diamond drill in WA


Image: Swick Mining Services

Drilling contractor Swick Mining Services will test the first prototype of its Gen3 E-Rig at a Western Australian client’s site in October this year.

As part of the company’s Futures division, Swick is building the Gen3 E-Rig which is believed to be the first fully electric mobile diamond drill in the global market.

According to Swick, the Gen3 E-Rig has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of underground core drilling by around 50 per cent per metre drilled.

While the name of the client’s site is yet to be revealed, the fully proven Gen3 E-Rig is expected to be available for Swick’s engineering department to construct in volumes by the start of the 2023 financial year.

The company’s Futures department is also developing a Remote Control Drilling (RCD) system.

The RCD system will allow drillers to effectively and safely operate rigs from the surface through video-linked controls for up to 24 hours a day of productive time.

According to a company statement, RCD will allow for additional drilling time by taking non-productive time during the start and end of shift crew changes, blasting and mine clearance delay, and converting that to drilling time.

On average that could see an additional four hours out of 24 hours a day converted to productive time.

Swick managing director Kent Swick said he was proud of his team for navigating through challenging times during the pandemic, maintaining the continuity of operations, while keeping staff safety as its top priority.

“We continue to successfully manage emerging challenges faced by the sector, around skilled employee and equipment shortages. We are very well positioned to deal with these issues with our comprehensive training and development programs, and unique rig manufacturing capability,” he said.

“Our key focus remains the successful operation of our drilling business, as we also work towards the demerger of Orexplore by the end of this calendar year.

“Heading into financial year 2022 (FY22), we expect high utilisation from our fleet to continue, growing from an average of 55 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) rigs in work in FY21 to 62 FTE rigs utilised in FY22 based on work in hand, and we are well placed to take advantage of the macro economic outlook as drilling demand and commodity prices are on the rise.”

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