Anglo American Corporation has been confirmed as the first commercial adopter of Tribe Technology’s autonomous reverse circulation (RC) drill rig. The major miner has been expanding its investment in autonomous drilling over the past five years.
Privately-owned Tribe, which has established a manufacturing facility near Belfast, Northern Ireland, says Anglo’s first generation TTDS GC 700 RC rig will incorporate its proprietary autonomous drilling and sampling system. The four-year-old Tribe produces its sample system at a separate facility in Perth, Western Australia.
Autonomous RC exploration drilling is expected to deliver safety and productivity gains versus conventional and semi-autonomous methods. Tribe says commercial autonomous RC units are “game-changing equipment” for the industry because “responsible management teams now have a commercial technology available to them to ensure minimal harm in the exploration drilling sector”.
Anglo said last year it had more than 30 fully autonomous mine blast-hole drills working at its sites and aimed to grow the fleet to more than 50 units by 2024 under its FutureSmart Mining program.
The investment in autonomous exploration drilling expands this focus.
Tribe did not disclose the delivery time nor destination of its first Anglo rig.