“Cadia East“ – about 250 kilometers northwest of Sydney – will be Australia’s largest underground mine and the deepest block caving underground mine in the world – with a lifetime of around 30 years. Preparations are fully underway for excavating the ore deposits with production scheduled to commence in 2013. Ore deposits cover an approximately 2.5-kilometer-long, 600-meter-wide and up to 1.9-kilometer-deep area. The ore reserves are estimated at 19 million ounces of gold and 3 million tonnes of copper.
Like the mining industry worldwide, East Cadia is under enormous pressure to lead development and production to success within limited time. The operator therefore relies on an increased mechanization and automation level of processes and a Herrenknecht BBM1100. After first test drills at a depth of 700 meters and commissioning, the BBM1100 is launched at production level 1,000 meters underground. The task of engineers and operating staff: driling a total of 44 production and ventilation shafts with a diameter of 1.1 meters and different lengths of up to 17 meters. Between November 2011 and July 2012, the Herrenknecht BBM1100 impressively proved the capability and superiority of the innovative machine concept with top production rates of 1.5 meters per hour. A team of two operators completed the assembly, excavation of a 16.5 meter long shaft and disassembly of the machine in 17 hours.
Herrenknecht BBM technology allows for fast and reliable vertical and inclined drilling operations in hard rock with excavation diameters of up to 1.5 meters and maximum drilling lengths of 60 meters. Machine development was focused on occupational safety, high productivity and optimum mobility, making time-consuming conventional preparation methods unnecessary.