The last batch of twenty-eight newly made advanced drilling rigs that is under an R2 billion multiple-year contracts with Rosond, a mining services company, is being transported to Kumba iron ore located at the Northern Cape. It is expected that the new range will become operational in 2021.

Rsond secured a tender that will see it develop and implement a five-year current drilling contract in 2019. This is to modernise the geosciences operations of Kumba. And they have been delivering rigs to Kumba’s Sishen and Kolomelo mines since this year (2020).

Although the operations have been delayed due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the company is on track to deliver the last two rigs by this December.

“I am happy to say that, although not all the machines will be operational by the end of the year, all of them will have left our workshops. The last two will be leaving this week, and we have fully deployed all the machines onto the site. We are excited to start 2021 with getting them all operational,” Rosond MD Ricardo Ribeiro said.

The drilling machines are being developed to change the process drilling completely is done by bringing together software, automation, and data analytics to create a new age drilling rig.

“Our software system, our telemetry system and our data collection, along with the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence, is something that we are looking into [as we] believe that it is going to be a game-changer in the future,” said Ribeiro, noting the conversion is much like one from an analogue system to a digital strategy.

However, the opportunity lies in the substantial amount of data that will be available for analysis.

“We are going to have 28 drill rigs with telemetry systems within an 80 km radius for one contract, so you know the data collection that we will be having for those machines is immense.”

“Automation and machines get developed and get better, but the software and the digital platform that we are bringing into this industry might, we really believe, be a world first,” he said, noting that Rosond has been involved in the research and development of the next-generation drill rigs for more than five years.


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