Large & Small

2004 May 15

Reducing the amount of waste in open pit mining is the key to good pit economy. The combination of highperformance
Ingersoll-Rand rotary drilling rigs and Atlas Copco smallhole
rigs has led to new cost savings and production efficiency. The Betze-Post gold mine in Nevada is a typical case.




A critical factor in a mine?s economic feasibility is the grade of the ore. For hard rock open pit mines, the amount of waste that has to be removed by drilling and blasting, loading and truck haulage in relation to the extracted ore is also a major factor in operating costs.

For gold mine operators, hauling a large tonnage of waste is a necessary evil as the low grade of the ore means that the cost per ounce of gold for haulage to the concentrator is high to start off with. To maximise profitability, it is essential to keep the amount of waste to be blasted and removed to a minimum.

Keeping the high wall as steep as possible reduces the amount of waste to be removed, thus reducing operating costs. However, keeping the rock face stable as well as steep requires precise and careful drilling and blasting.

For this reason, the Betze-Post gold mine in Nevada has recently added an Atlas Copco down-the-hole drill rig to its fleet of Ingersoll-Rand rotary DTH production units. Here, the combined fleet must work through about 4.6 million feet (1.4 million drillmetres) per year.

Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.