Master Drilling Group Ltd., a leader in specialized drilling solutions, will introduce a new “disruptive” Mobile Tunnel Boring (MTB) solution, at the 2018 Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, next week, will be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of this year.

The internally conceptualized design and internationally patented MTB technology was developed in response to the growing demand for a cost-effective mechanized tunneling contract service offering that addresses safety and efficiency challenges on new and existing operations, the company said.

“This disruptive technology allows continuous mining and requires no blasting, thereby significantly enhancing mining efficiencies,” said Danie Pretorius, CEO of Master Drilling. “It is as advantageous at the capital stage of mining projects, with quicker deployment and access to the ore body, as it is at the production stage through substantial productivity increase when opening up blocks of ground or increasing a mine’s footprint.”

Master Drilling’s MTB solution can bore an excavation of 4.5 meters (m) or 5.5 m in diameter. The MTB can deliver various infrastructure solutions for declines, ramps, haulages and contact tunnels in hard rock with compressive strengths in excess of 300 MPa, the company said.

Its modular construction makes it also possible to retrofit to existing operations.

“The concept phase of our MTB started in April 2017 and after consideration of various alternatives, we made the decision to pursue a collaborative option in the market to realize the concept,” said Koos Jordaan, executive director of Master Drilling. “We are pleased to have partnered with Italy’s Seli Technologies, a company with half a century’s experience principally in civil mechanized tunneling, to manufacture and assist us during operation of our first MTB.”

The continuous process involves excavation, support and waste removal that creates a smooth circular excavation that does not disturb the side walls of the tunnel, the company said. In addition, the geometry makes for a stable and strong tunnel and, because it is a non-explosive process, it increases the on-face time and delivers higher production advances on a cost-efficient basis.

Master Drilling’s MTB solution will be deployed through a newly established division, Master Tunnelling.