Bauer trench cutter technology breaks depth record in Saskatchewan


In a joint venture with Nuna Logistics, Bauer Maschinen GmbH has set a new trench cutter depth record in Saskatchewan.

On June 17, Bauer Maschinen GmbH successfully completed the first 228 metre cutter bulk sample at Rio Tinto Exploration Canada’s FalCon project.

The 228 metre depth has never been previously reached by a trench cutter in any commercial application worldwide.

For Bauer, the depth also proves its cutter technology cannot only be used in specialist foundation engineering, but is also suitable for the exploration and mining industry.

“It’s groundbreaking in more ways than one. This is a significant milestone in using proven technology for a very different application. For us it means that we will be able to make important exploration decisions on what has been, one of the most challenging diamond evaluation projects in the industry,” said Gary Hodgkinson, project director at FalCon. “We look forward to continuing working with Bauer to embed this technology and other new innovations in our program.”

The FalCon project of Rio Tinto Exploration Canada and Star Diamond Corporation aims to prove the commercial viability of the Fort a la Corne kimberlite fields in Saskatchewan.

Due to the low grade of the kimberlites, Rio Tinto decided to use Bauer trench cutter technology to provide large-volume, high quality kimberlite samples for the final evaluation of the project in regard to diamond content and recovered diamond quality.

Bauer machines on site

A Bauer BC 50 cutter on a Bauer MC 128 duty-cycle crane was used for bulk sampling to a maximum depth of 250 metres.

The BC 50 features an overall height of 12.7 metres, a trench length of 280 cm and delivers 120 kNm of torque.

The 170 tonne MC 128 is powered by a 950 hp Cat C27 engine and provides a maximum lifting capacity of 200 tonnes.

In addition to the cutter and the base carrier, Bauer Maschinen GmbH supplied a BE 550 desanding plant and other accessories from its branch Bauer MAT Slurry Handling Systems. The equipment was delivered to site on time and tested in September.

More mining equipment news

After a long winter break operation started end of May 2019. The kimberlite is washed and bagged into bulk bags for further evaluation in multiple steps by the experts of Rio Tinto. The Star kimberlite on the FalCon project is covered by

about 120 metres of overburden which poses a significant additional challenge to the project. Under the present contract Bauer will execute several more bulk samples in 2019 on the FalCon project with the option to be extended into 2020.