Ausdrill gets hands on with hands-off-steel diamond drilling tech

Ausdrill gets hands on with hands-off-steel diamond drilling tech • Ausdrill New LF160s Freedom Loader

We recently added a Boart Longyear LF160 drill rig and FL262 FREEDOM™ LOADER combination to our diamond drilling fleet in Australia as part of our ‘hands-off-steel’ initiatives.

The newest coring rig – capable of pulling a 4.5 m sample – comes with a tilting top drive head to simplify rod handling, a foot clamp and braking device, and visible wireline. This is the second LF160 in our portfolio, and a third rig is on the way. Meanwhile, we are actively exploring a similar system capable of offering 6 m samples.

One rig is currently active at a Queensland coal operation, with the second at a nickel operation in the Goldfields of Western Australia. The third rig is expected to go to the Pilbara iron ore sector.

It is the combination of the LF160 with the FL262 FREEDOM LOADER that is bringing safety benefits to us and our clients. With totally hands-free rod handling, the combined rig and loader require no intervention from the driller’s assistant to trip in and align the rods or connect to the top drive head – thus offering greater freedom to drill by reducing the risk of hand and back injuries while handling rods. This freedom of movement comes as a result of the FREEDOM LOADER’s remote-control panel, which allows drillers to move to – and work from – a safer location away from the risks of moving rods.

This new diamond drilling technology was deployed as part of our commitment to developing the mines of the future in partnership with our clients. Our technology roadmap strives for continuous safety and production improvements.

Exploration drilling is an obvious place for Tier 1 miners to look to for safety improvements. A manual and repetitive job, traditional diamond drilling comes with many injuries as a result of drillers and offsiders removing and inserting heavy drill rods into the rigs.

“While automating part of the exploration drilling process may not provide the same financial payback as automating haul trucks or blasthole rigs, it does significantly reduce risk to personnel. If you look at the drill inserts and the ongoing safety risks associated with being a driller’s offsider, or drilling in general, reducing the whole hands-on steel process and going down the automated or autonomous path makes sense. It is improving safety that is the real aim of leveraging such technology, said Eric Gobbert, Ausdrill Senior Operations Manager, Exploration.

“De-risking the manual handling component is the real winning aspect of this. We all want to achieve our business aims, but more importantly ensure our staff and our client’s staff are safe in the process. And, by reducing these risks, we are ensuring continuity of operations, with personnel less likely to obtain the injuries that so often come with diamond drilling”, said Gobbert.

Safety has always been at the centre of Ausdrill technological drive – we understand that a safe project is a successful project. This is not our first foray into hands-off-steel diamond drilling. Drill Rigs Australia, our subsidiary up until July, previously engineered a similar style rod presenting system on one of its rigs at a Tier 1 client’s operation. The rig is still successfully operating – a full five years on.

We have a 30+ year history of designing and customising fleet to suit the needs of our clients and the swiftly-evolving market. Today, we work in partnership with our clients, OEMs and third-party tech service providers to bring a bespoke combination of fleet and equipment, geared specifically to the needs of each project. Our project success and notable safety records showcase just how well we are delivering on our intentions, and tracking along our technology roadmap.

Ausdrill has been awarded $79m in new contracts for a range of exploration and production drill & blast works

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve recently been awarded $79m in new contracts for a range of exploration and production drill & blast works, both in Queensland and Western Australia.

The projects are across multiple commodities and for both new and existing clients, reflecting our diverse capabilities and our focus on delivering value and certainty to our customers.

Ausdrill continues to provide our clients with safe, productive and quality drilling outcomes with our innovative range of custom-built drill rigs.

Our two new CAT MD6310 drill rigs are already in operation at the Middlemount project in Queensland. The team is excited to have new equipment to operate, whilst delivering a full turnkey drill and blast contract for our client.

The exploration division is pleased to mobilise it’s third RC rig and a diamond rig to Queensland this month, as the team and numbers continue to grow in the region.

If you’re interested in working in one of these projects or more generally for a leading mining contractor, visit our careers page at

Ausdrill has been awarded $79m in new contracts for a range of exploration and production drill & blast works • Ausdrill Middlemount Project January 2020
Middlemount Project, Queensland

Ten up as Ausdrill renews as Hockeyroos’ Naming Rights Partner

The partnership between Ausdrill and the world number two ranked Hockeyroos has been further strengthened with a new two year contract renewal that will take the partnership past a decade.

Mark Norwell Group Managing Director – Perenti and Scott Winter Chief Executive Officer – Ausdrill were at Perth Hockey Stadium with Hockey Australia Chief Executive Officer Matt Favier and the Hockeyroos to celebrate the renewal.

Ausdrill’s association with Australia’s national hockey teams first began in 2011, and its continuation as the Official Naming Rights Partner of the Hockeyroos and the Official Supporting Partner of the Kookaburras will take the partnership up to 2021.

In addition to valuable funding for the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras High Performance Program, the partnership also encompasses a range of other benefits.

Ausdrill is dedicated to supporting Hockeyroos players with career development, study and employment opportunities to assist them during and post playing hockey.

Both parties will develop a joint plan focused on promoting hockey through indigenous engagement and other community development initiatives, while also looking to promote gender diversity in mining. 

“The wonderful, longstanding and ongoing support Ausdrill and Perenti have provided to our two elite national teams has been absolutely invaluable,” said Hockey Australia CEO, Matt Favier.

“Ausdrill has shown incredible loyalty and commitment in its alliance with Hockey Australia and particularly the Hockeyroos, and we look forward to continuing to build on the partnership and strong relationships that have been forged.”

The timing of the announcement comes at a fitting time with the Hockeyroos preparing for their Olympic Qualifying Series against Russia this Friday and Saturday.

Since the start of the partnership the Hockeyroos have risen from seventh to second in the world rankings.

“The Hockeyroos are one of the most successful national sporting teams in Australia and we are proud to be part of that and to extend our partnership with them, the Kookaburras and Hockey Australia for a further two years,” said Scott Winter Chief Executive Officer of Ausdrill.

“This partnership is about supporting the teams on the pitch to help them realise their Olympic dreams as well as supporting the players off the pitch through personal development opportunities.

“This is an exciting time for the team and we wish them all the best for the Olympic qualifier this coming Friday and for the duration of our partnership.”

Ten up as Ausdrill renews as Hockeyroos’ Naming Rights Partner • C3A8271
Matt Favier – CEO Hockey Australia, Scott Winter – CEO Ausdrill, Emily Chalker, Mark Norwell – Group Managing Director Perenti, and Paul Gaudoin coach of the Hockeyroos after Ausdrill renewed their sponsorship of the Hockeyroos at a function at the Perth Hockey Stadium today, Wednesday October 23, 2019.
Ten up as Ausdrill renews as Hockeyroos’ Naming Rights Partner • C3A8287
Scott Winter – CEO Ausdrill, Rosie Malone, Emily Chalker, Karrie McMahon, Renee Taylor, Rachael Lynch and Sophie Taylor
Ten up as Ausdrill renews as Hockeyroos’ Naming Rights Partner • C3A7965
Scott Winter – CEO Ausdrill, Mark Norwell – Group Managing Director Perenti, Matt Favier – CEO Hockey Australia, Tim Cherry – General Manager of Commercial with the Hockeyroos squad