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Hard-rock power.


Who: British company Peterstow Aquapower has developed an environmentally-friendly drilling technology which it claims could revolutionise the mining industry.

Technology: Peterstow's new drilling systems for hard rock deep mining use less than 0.01% of the energy required by some existing systems and 60% less water, the company says. The water consumption of Peterstow drills is around two tonnes of water per tonne of ore extracted, while existing hydraulic technology uses around five to six tonnes of water per tonne of ore. For every 1,000 Peterstow drills the water required by the mining industry can be reduced by more than 20 million tonnes a year, the company claims. The core technology has potential for further applications, including civil engineering maintenance.

The system uses Peterstow's patented closed loop hydraulic technology and modular powerpacks. The closed-loop design cuts water usage and is said to ensure a more efficient transfer of power to the drill. with greater reliability than existing technologies. It reduces water wastage and flooding, which allows for the reduction of pumping facilities.

Application: Cost and environmental challenges are having an impact on the mining industry, leading to mine closures and struggles to meet environmental targets. Pumping water and energy down deep mines has proved so expensive that some mines have struggled to stay profitable. The Peterstow system cuts capital costs by eliminating the need for much of the underground infrastructure needed for traditional hard rock drilling processes, such as compressed air reticulation. The system is being manufactured in Ngwenya, Swaziland. providing strong transport links to key markets in southern Africa.

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Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Sep 8, 2010
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