The Rhino 100 raise borer arrives

Sandvik Rhino 100

The arrival of the Rhino 100 mobile raise borer has proved a game changer for Perth-based underground contractor Raising Australia, part of the Byrnecut Group.

Since introducing its first Rhino in 2017, Raining has been able to slash slot-raise production times, improve productivity for its customers, and increase revenue, the company said.

Traditional raise boring machines used to drill slot raises are cumbersome to transport and have high demands for labour and time. It can take two to three days of preparation before drilling begins, resulting in potential bottleneck and delays in production.

In 2014, a team from the company travelled to Finland to inspect the Rhino 100, developed by TRB-Raise Borers and distributed by Sandvik.

Mounted on rubber tires, the Rhino 100 could travel under its own power within a mine, required just one operator, and could begin boring within 45 minutes of arrival on site

Mounted on rubber tires, the Rhino 100 could travel under its own power within a mine, required just one operator, and could begin boring within 45 minutes of arrival on site.

Raising Australia initially went down the route of developing and trialling its own mobile raise borer, but in 2016 general manager Mark Hanigan inspected the latest generation Rhino 100 and decided it was what the company needed.

After working with TRB to tweak the borer to allow for additional drilling angles, Raising Australia took delivery of its first Rhino in September 2017.

“The previous contractors were drilling 150 metres a month, and we have achieved up to 400-metres-plus a month. Between October 2017 and December 2019, we drilled just under 5,000 metres, so we’ve doubled their output,” Hanigan said.

Raising Australia promptly ordered another two Rhino 100s. The first arrived in August 2018 and was sent to Northern Star’s Jundee gold mine at Wiluna in Western Australia. The next was delivered in October 2018 and has been a campaign machine, travelling to a range of client sites.

The company has since ordered a fourth and fifth machine, which are being delivered in 2020 and are expected to be immediately put to work on major mining projects.

Jarko Salo, managing director for TRB-Raise Borers, says the positive impact felt among Rhino 100 customers spans across the globe.

In one case, a Brazilian miner reported productivity gains of up more than 90% due to more efficient working techniques enabled by the raise borer.

Salo attributes the success of the rig to the ground-up approach taken during development. The needs of underground miners inspired the creation of the first mobile raise borer and TRB has continued to be responsive to feedback.

Mark Hanigan says the key advantages for Raising Australia are the time and labour savings the Rhino offers over conventional raise borers.

While it takes a team of two people between two and three days to prepare a traditional raise borer for duty, a single operator can tram the Rhino into the mine and be drilling within a matter of minutes.

As well as slot raises, the Rhino 100 can be used to drill ventilation shafts, drainage shafts, escapeway shafts, ore passes and back-fills.

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