Rolling grass plains and awesome rock faces rising up behind them – it’s like a scene out of a western movie. A monotonous pounding can be heard beyond the mountains. Yet we are not in the prairies and the bangs are not from revolver guns. The source of the noise is a Robit Hyper 181 Down-the-Hole (DTH) hammer striking deep into Australian soil, more precisely the mineral deposits of Narrabri.
Lucas Drilling Services, part of the Australian AJ Lucas Group Limited, is more or less halfway through a major coal mine project at the Whitehaven Coal company’s Narrabri North mine. They have drilled around 50 holes down to the bedrock, the deepest ones extending to 240 metres. Around 70 holes remain to be drilled.
Lucas Drilling selected for the project T120XD and Schramm T685 drill rigs equipped with the Robit Hyper 181 DTH hammer. The contractor requested a brand-new 18-inch Robit 181 from the local Robit dealer in Queensland, Dilong Drilling, with whom Lucas Drilling had already successfully collaborated for several years. Angus Simmons, Drilling Supervisor at Lucas Drilling, describes the operation as follows:
“We’ve used our Robit Hyper 181 DTH hammer in a Schramm T130XD drill rig for more than fifty jobs now without a single problem. Some time ago we upgraded our equipment with new Robit Hyper 181 DTH hammers and we’re now using them also in a Schramm 685 rig. We use the Hyper 181 model for hard and brittle basalt and other volcanic types of rock down to depths of 64 metres.”
After that, a 14” DTH hammer will go further down to 200– 220 metres to reach conglomerate of ancient petrified gravel. Finally, a 9” DTH will hammer away the rest, at a depth of between 220 and 240 metres.
AJ Lucas Group, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), has more than 60 years of experience in the sectors of energy, water & waste water, resources and public infrastructure. Headquartered in Brisbane, Lucas Drilling has broad experience in engineering services, horizontal directional (HDD) drilling, drilling for oil, gas and coal, surface-to-inseam (SIS) drilling and many other areas of special expertise, making them one of Australia’s largest and most diversified drilling service suppliers.
Dave Crane, sales coordinator with Robit, spared no praise for the quality of work at the Narrabri North mine:
“The workmanship at the mine is solid testimony of Lucas Drilling’s know-how and experience, of Dilong Drilling’s technical support and special expertise as well as of the power and reliability of the Robit Hyper 181 DTH hammer. It’s truly a winning combo!”
Picture: The Schramm drill rig uses three different-sized hammers and drill bits for drilling a 240-metre-deep hole. Lucas Drilling Services relies on Robit’s DTH drilling equipment in demanding conditions.