Drilling Contractor associate editor Katherine Scott speaks with John de Wardt, president of De Wardt and Company, at the SPE/IADC Drilling Systems Automation symposium on 4 March, jointly held by the SPE Drilling Systems Automation Technical Section (DSATS) and the IADC Advanced Rig Technology (ART) Committee. The symposium preceded the 2013 SPE/IADC Drilling Conference & Exhibition in Amsterdam. Mr de Wardt was a primary organizer of the workshop. He also served as moderator of the sessions, which featured Andrew Stokes and Eric Nettleton from Rio Tinto, an integrated mining company. Mr Stokes and Mr Nettleton talked about the company’s Mine of the Future program, a project that is pushing Rio Tinto’s mining operations to new levels of automation and remote operations.
Also speaking at the workshop were Dr Roland Tücks from AkerWirth and Werner Burger of Herrenknecht, who each discussed specific components used in the Mine of the Future program. Dr Tücks described AkerWirth’s Mobile Tunnel Miner 6, a mechanical excavation method that he said speeds up mining development, is safer than the conventional drill and blast method and has brought about a 60% decrease in drilling and bolting, which translates into cost savings. Mr Burger discussed Herrenknecht’s mechanized shaft boring system that helps vertically access deep ore bodies with a 180° rotating head. The detailed design is finished, he said, and the equipment is currently looking for a testing site.
Mine of the Future is a trademark of Rio Tinto.