Rich in copper, silver, gold, and lead reserves, Peru is a global giant in the mining industry. Iron ore is also a significant export, although known deposits are limited to a single region.
Antonio Raimondi was an exceptionally versatile scientist. Born in Milan, Italy in 1826, he emigrated to Peru in 1850. A year later he became a professor of natural history at the National University of San Marcos in Lima. In the following years, he founded a medical school and a chemistry department there. Raimondi was also a passionate geographer, traveling extensively across the country conducting geological, botanical, and zoological studies. It was on one of these journeys that he discovered a vast iron ore deposit in the Marcona District in the Nazca province, some 500 km south of Lima, in 1870.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that the exploitation of iron ore in Marcona began. Since 1992 the open pit operation has been run by the Chinese-owned company Shougang Hierro Perú, during which time the production of iron has grown sixfold.
A large share of the drilling and earthmoving operations at Shougang Hierro Perú is conducted by Cosapi Mineria, a subsidiary of Cosapi S.A., one of Peru’s biggest construction and engineering companies. Cosapi Mineria specializes in massive earthworks and the development of open pit mines.
An open pit operation typically makes extensive use of Down-the-Hole tools for pre-split and buffer drilling. That’s why Shougang Hierro Perú was an attractive target for Robit SAC to approach with their offering.
“The iron deposit at Shougang Hierro Perú consists of very hard and abrasive materials. You can find competent soils with compressive strengths of 250 to 300 MPa”, says José Luis Cisneros, General Manager of Robit SAC.
“We contacted Cosapi Mineria and carried out the first test in early 2020 with 7-inch bits and a D65 hammer. Since then, we have been working ever more closely with Cosapi, providing them with material innovations to increase performance.”
“In recent months we have been working together with Cosapi in a testing process of the main DTH providers in the market. Thanks to the constant monitoring by our Assistance Engineer Kevin Salas, and the development of the right products through our DTH Sales Manager, Martín Rodríguez, we have been able to generate new ways of improving the operation and proposing drilling targets with higher standards”, José says.
The open pit operation requires a lot of double bench pre-splitting, performed with D45 HD hammers and 5-inch bits, ballistic buttons, and a convex face. The bits have obtained an average duration of 1,400 meters, and an average speed of 32 m/h.
Recently, Cosapi signed an extension contract for their operations in two of the open pits at Shougang Hierro Perú. Impressed by the tests conducted with Robit, they granted a consignment agreement, trusting Robit with 60% of the consumption of drilling tools over the competition.
“This is the first contract of consumption for DTH tools in Latin America where we will provide assistance and stock for the client’s operation, including technical service, maintenance of hammers and management of drill bits”, says José.
“We hope to show Cosapi Mineria and the market that Robit SAC has the necessary resources to keep exceeding the expectations of our strategic partners.”