Apatit expands remote drilling

Remote drilling technology was introduced at the Rasvumchorr mine of the Kirovsk branch of Apatit (part of PhosAgro). Two drilling machines, which are controlled from the dispatch center on the surface, have started work at the mine.

The unique for Russia project for remote drilling of deep-wells at the Kirovsk branch of Apatit was launched in August 2018. A huge preparatory work was conducted before its implementation.

The procedure for remote drilling is as follows: the driver brings the drilling rig to the worksite, connects it to all the systems, and prepares the rig for operating. Then the drilling rig starts working under the electronic drilling passport. While operating, the machine is controlled only from the dispatch center, and there is no personnel in the mine.

The control center is located on the surface, and the operator’s workplace is an exact copy of the workplace of the engine-driver at the drilling rig. The operator controls the process and makes adjustments if necessary. The machines are equipped with high-resolution cameras that allow monitoring both the machine and the drilling process. The remote drilling technology increases not only the productivity of works by 20% but the safety of the operator as well.

Previously, remote drilling was carried out only at the Kirovsk mine, where ten machines were controlled by two operators. Now two more machines have started operating at the Kirovsk mine and the other two at the Rasvumchorr mine.

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