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Improvements in technology for diamond drilling in underground mining

Faena: El Tentiente

Deadline 14/06/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

Currently, Codelco – El Teniente Division uses the technique of
pre-conditioning by hydraulic fracturing of the rock mass in order to
increase the performance of the caving process, improve
fragmentation and seismic response, among other aspects. For
this purpose, diamond drilling with lengths of up to 250 m is
applied drifts inside the mine, using equipment that considers the
manual handling of the rods (1.5 m long), both for the assembly
and disassembly of the drill column as well as for its transport and
storage. The indicated equipment must be moved in reduced
spaces (section: 3.8 x 3.8 m: height x width) with irregular surfaces
and in the presence of mud, water and rocks, among others. In
addition, the installation or uninstallation of bolts to the floor and/or
ceiling is required to ensure the stability of the drills. All of the
above represent risks both for the safety of people and for
operational continuity.

Identify technological solutions to improve diamond drilling
technology for pre-conditioning in underground mines.
The proposed solutions should include the assembly and
disassembly of drill train or rail, equipment and rods transportation,
and diamond drilling.
The scouting process could

– The solution must consider an automatic or semi-automatic rods
handling and/or changing system, eliminating or reducing manmachine interaction.
– The solution must have systems that facilitate its transportation
in a underground mining environment. It is expected to have
pneumatic tires, tracks, skids or others. It is desirable that it is
– The solution must have design conditions that facilitate quick
installation/uninstallation at the point of work.
– It is desirable that the solution has a drilling deviation control
system, allowing a maximum deviation of 5%.
– Compatibility of the solution to operate in under ground mining
environment and in galleries of section (3.8 x 3.8 m: height x
– It is desirable that the equipment be operated by a remote
control system or through a console away from the equipment.
– Solution with upward and downward drilling capacity between
90° and -90°.
– Capability to move on a maximum slope of 10%.
– Ability to drill at least NQ and HQ diameters.
– Ability to drill lengths up to 250 meters.
– Proven experience in drilling projects with productivity of at least
500 meters/month.
– The degree of maturity must be greater than or equal to TRL 8,
that is to say, it must have a complete and qualified solution
through demonstrations and tests in an operational environment.

Consulting, advisory and engineering services.

Currently, diamond drilling applied for the
preconditioning of the rock mass at El Teniente
Division requires the participation of personnel
to handle the drill rods, which involves
exposure to different risks such as blows, falls
and limb entrapment, among others. In
addition, the drilling equipment requires
complementary tasks for its
installation/uninstallation, with the consequent
use of resources and non-productive time.
Given the above, it is necessary to reduce or
eliminate man-machine interaction during the
rod handling process and reduce the time
spent moving between positions, without
requiring the dismantling of the diamond
drilling system.

– Risks of accidents to people during diamond
drilling operations.
– Risks of non-compliance with the mining


Handling of rods and manual
assembly/disassembly and transport by

No new technologies have been tested at El
Teniente Division.