Raise Boring

We Specialise In Raise Boring

Master Drilling is an expert raise bore drilling company and we are eager to tackle your project.

Raise your efficiency and safety

Our machines are fast and operate efficiently in hard rock. These qualities result in substantial cost saving benefits for our clients as raise boring accounts for 20% to 30% of the rate or cost of conventional shaft sinking.

With experience accumulated from working in more than 50 countries, combined with cutting edge technology and our fleet of state of the art equipment, we can offer you the most innovative drilling solutions. We have access to the world’s largest fleet of more than 150 raise bore rigs and are well equipped for any shaft drilling project.

Our experienced team is accustomed to providing turnkey solutions to our customers, ranging from the conceptualization and design, planning, project management up to the execution and the final handover upon completion.

We strive to execute our projects consistently within budget, on time and with no incidents. Our equipment fleet has the capability to deliver shafts ranging from 0.66m diameter to 8.1m diameter and up to depths of 1,500 meters.

What is Raise Boring?

Raise boring is the process of boring a raise. A pilot hole is drilled from the drill rig to an underground cubby or tunnel. A reamer head with cutters is then attached to the drill string. The drilling rig at the surface or upper level then pulls tension onto the drill string while rotating, causing the large diameter cutting bit to cut a large hole from the underground tunnel or level to the surface or upper level. 

The cuttings are removed as this fall to the ground due to gravity feed. The process sounds simple but requires skilled operators, good quality down hole equipment and powerful drill rigs.

What is Raise Bore Drilling used for?

Raise boring is used to create a circular vertical or horizontal excavation between two existing levels or tunnels in an underground mine. It is mostly used for ventilation shafts from the surface to underground.

Raise Boring 1

The Raise Boring process and applications

Frequently asked questions

CategoryConventional Shaft SinkingRaise Bore
Bottom access requiredNone requiredAccess required
CostVery expensiveAppropriately costed
SafetyHigh risk processSafer
ExplosivesExplosives usedNo explosives used
AccuracySurvey as proceedAccurate using directional tools
LabourVery labour intensiveNot labour intensive
Advance1-2 meters a day5-7 meters a day

The concept of raise boring is about 50 years old and is essentially still the same, with changes only related to machine upgrades and bolt-on technologies. The need for bigger, deeper and more accurate holes has become a requirement as machines need to be able to drill to deep holes and ream open large diameters.

Contractors need to share machine metrics with clients as they drill on aspects such as meters advance and ground conditions – this is achieved through data loggers. In addition, bolt-on services to ensure rock support, downhole equipment such as the drill rod metallurgical changes, cutting consumable quality and the control of the cutting process has significantly attributed to technological changes over the last few years.

Understanding the geotechnical characteristics and consistency of the rock formation to be drilled through is important as there are different parameters to the different rock formations. It is important to know where the geological consistency changes regarding the brittleness, toughness, and abrasiveness to reduce operational risk and costs.  

Contractors need to share machine metrics with clients as they drill on aspects such as meters advance and ground conditions – this is achieved through data loggers. In addition, bolt-on services to ensure rock support, downhole equipment such as the drill rod metallurgical changes, cutting consumable quality and the control of the cutting process has significantly attributed to technological changes over the last few years.

Master Drilling manages a large fleet that continuously challenges existing standards, therefore setting the status quo for the industry. Operators need to be skilled, ensuring best practice to deliver quality service to clients. Several hazards such as dropping a reamer head or getting a drill rod stuck during the drilling process resulting in delays and lost costs highlights the importance of operator training. Mitigating and managing these risks can be achieved through continuous training and replacing operator control for critical tasks with automated functions. Master Drilling has developed remote operated machines for safer, faster and more efficient operations.

Calculations are conducted based on the depth of the hole to be drilled, the size of the excavation and the type of ground conditions. These factors indicate the type and size of the machine required. Other factors to consider are the available space where the machine will be located the and how to get the required machine to this area.

Master Drilling provides rod handlers and has recently also started providing mobile erectors and remote operated spanners. Through training, operating procedures and technical innovation safety standards are improved.

Several of the operations are automated, and the machine automatically shuts down if the machine is operated outside the “safe operation zones”.

Automation in mining has become imperative for safer, faster and cost-effective operations. Master Drilling is investing in considerable resources to establish reliable remote and automated features for operations and meet clients’ needs and requirements.

The general trend is that mines are getting deeper and are venturing into more unchartered territories. Therefore, raise bore drilling machines must be able to drill deeper, faster and more accurate.

Machines must be automated, less labour-intensive and reliable. Underground machines must be mobile, hence large machines are on tracks or crawlers to improve mobility.

Master Drilling continuously invests in research and development as a strategy to differentiate our services from those of others as a result of technical and operational advances.

A focus is on cutter life to prevent cutter changes. To ensure that rod handling is easy and quick with the minimum human intervention to reduce risk, machines are automated and provide readings to the operator on infiltration, weight on the bit and other essential matrix.

Master Drilling has released a new user interface with machines, enabling some autonomous functions such as us remotely operating some of its machines.

A reef borer is in development to allow for the remote drilling of reed underground without any waste.

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