Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions is introducing a new reverse circulation (RC) sampling option for its Leopard™ DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rig. The new RC drilling system offers a reliable and accurate method for ore body identification and grade control in opencast mining.

Fully integrated into the Leopard™ DI650i platform, the RC drilling system maximises drill rig utilisation and increases productivity. The possibility to drill inclined holes with a boom-type drill rig, such as Leopard™ DI650i, provides an easy and accurate ore body identification method and enables the use of RC face sampling for grade control in opencast mines. An isolated sample route from the bit face to the cone splitter unit ensures no contamination and makes the Leopard™ DI650i RC drilling system reliable, productive, and extremely accurate.

The Leopard™ DI650i RC drilling system is equipped with an industry proven Metzke RC sampling unit, optimally integrated onto the rig. The drill pipe setup is either 102-millimeter (4-inch) or 114-millimetre (4 ½-inch) RC pipes.

Sandvik Leopard DI650i RC. Photo credit: Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions

Sandvik Leopard DI650i RC. Photo credit: Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions

Optimised for reverse circulation drilling

The MRH6-RC heavy duty rotary head of Leopard™ DI650i is designed to be compatible with Metzke RC components. The longer feed beam and robust boom give maximum support for drilling inclined holes with heavy RC tooling. In addition, a hose reel optimises the routing of the sample hose, and a new breakout table enables bigger hole sizes and easier maintenance.

For operational efficiency and added safety, the RC system works seamlessly with full-cycle one-hole drilling automatics, and the iCab cabin provides excellent visibility for RC drilling. The Metzke cone splitter unit can be lowered, and maintenance can be performed from the ground level, thanks to the horizontal service position.

To manage the added weight of the reverse circulation system and to increase safety, Leopard™ DI650i RC comes with iBalance and iFold options as a standard. iBalance monitors the carrier and boom angles for safer tramming, while iFold automatically folds the feed to tramming position for optimum balance.

If Leopard™ DI650i is equipped with the TIM3D drill navigation system and Driller’s Notes measurement-while-drilling (MWD) option, the operator can easily add the sample bag number with comments at a specific location and depth to a graphical user interface inside the cabin for later analysis at the office.

Easy adaptation to DTH production drilling

If RC drilling is not needed, a quick and easy reconfiguration to perform the normal DTH drilling production cycle is a significant benefit of the Leopard™ DI650i RC drilling system. This maximises utilisation of the equipment and offers a significantly faster and more cost-effective way to identify orebodies than traditional methods.

Leopard™ DI650i with the RC drilling system is also easily mobilised for relocation, offering a valuable asset for streamlining mine operations.