Epiroc highlights an alternative to core drilling

As Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling gains ground in Canada, Epiroc is introducing its rigs that have proved popular in other markets.

At the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention held in Toronto, Epiroc showcased its Explorac 100, which is designed specifically for reverse circulation drilling and other down-the-hole drilling applications.

“The idea to bring this in was to showcase what we have available on the RC end and capture that market as it expands,” said Robert Neil, Epiroc’s product manager of exploration capital equipment. “It’s a very popular and well accepted machine in European and African markets. There’s more and more demand and request for RC equipment in Canada, but it’s still not as popular.”

Neil explained core drilling remains the most common method in Canada.

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“The advantage is you can go deeper, but it’s more expensive and slower,” Neil said. “With RC, you can do shallower holes, but at a lower cost per litre and at a higher production rate.”

The Explorac 100, available on a crawler chassis, has a simple design, making it reliable as well as easy to service. Its high accessibility and reliability makes it suitable for drillers operating in remote areas. The Explorac 100 is delivered with a productive rod handler including a 30-pipe rack.

At PDAC, Epiroc showcased upgrades to the machine, including new track frames which increase rigidity and make it possible to disconnect the drive and tow the machine.

“You can drive over rougher ground with it and not worry about damaging it,” Neil said.

A new rotary splitter is also available for the Explorac 100. The splitter is equipped with three sample bag chutes, which means duplicate samples can be collected simultaneously along with a third long distance bag.

The percentage of the total drilled distance collected in each bag can be adjusted individually making it possible to get exactly the desired sample size. A new splitter control box keeps operators a safe distance from dust and danger.

“The other splitters we have typically have one or two sample bags on it,” Neil said. “The new rotary splitter distributes samples equally, so it gives you a very high-quality sample.”

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