Master Drilling uses oil well directional drilling and an RD8 machine to drill a 1,400-m pilot hole at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde mine. (Photo: Master Drilling Group Ltd.)

Master Drilling Group Ltd. reported it completed the pilot hole for raise boring at the No. 3 shaft at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde mine.

In late September 2019, drilling started. Oil well directional drilling and a high-tech RD8 machine were used. The RD8 monitors various metrics and takes corrective actions automatically, helping to ensure accuracy.

The receiving chamber underground was reached in mid-July 2020. The pilot hole is roughly 1,400 m, a new world record, Master Drilling reported.

The pilot hole will be reamed to its ultimate diameter. The process is safer, quicker and more cost-effective than traditional blind sinking, Master Drilling reported.

Master Drilling said the pilot hole was impressive and highlights how innovation is changing drilling solutions. “That is something that Master Drilling has been working relentlessly at over the years,” Master Drilling CEO Danie Pretorius said. “As a result, we are able to provide cost effective, safer and accurate drilling solutions for our clients.”