For years, Major Drilling’s partnerships in South America have brought results to both underground and surface mine operations, including blast hole drilling.
At Newmont Corporation’s Merian Mine in Suriname, Major Drilling teams prepare for blast operations by drilling holes with two rigs including a newer Epiroc D65 rig purchased in 2019. Merian is a surface gold mine—one of three South America mine holdings along with Yanacocha in Peru and Cerro Negro in Argentina. Newmont and Major Drilling share aligned goals of superior operations and safety to add value and provide results at the mine.
Since Major Drilling teams started blast hole drilling in late July 2020, they have drilled more than 86,000 meters (282,152 feet). Hole depths range from 3 to 11 meters (9 to 36 feet). They are also completing presplit drilling to reduce the crushing effect of blasts around the boreholes.
“We appreciate Newmont’s trust in our drilling teams,” Marc Turcot, Major Drilling General Manager Guyana Shield, said. “It’s an honor to help them achieve their goals at the Merian Mine.”
A big factor in reaching those goals is the drilling teams’ focus on health and safety. With more than 2,000 employed at the Merian Mine, Major Drilling contributes more than 80 team members working on a variety of exploration, infill and blast hole drilling. Additional specialized drilling includes horizontal drilling, dewatering wells and various small geotechnical programs where teams continue to exceed expectations.
Safety at drilling sites begins with risk assessment using TAKE 5, in conjunction with the 10 Lifesaving Rules, and the Critical Risk Management programs. Health, Safety, Environment, and Community teams perform ongoing training to help every employee feel empowered to their job safely. Major Drilling’s up-to-date safety standards result in a culture of safety where every employee understands their right and responsibility to work safely every day.
Another area where values align is both Newmont’s and Major Drilling’s commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives which bring sustainability in shareholder returns, safety, social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Both Newmont and Major Drilling strive to improve lives and the communities where mining and drilling operations occur through sustainable and responsible mining.
In 2019, Major Drilling management team members (left to right) Kelly Johnson, Sr. VP Operations – North America & Africa; Ashley Martin, VP Operations – South America; and Marc Landry VP Technology & Logistics, pause for a photo at Epiroc’s Sweden plant where they purchased a D65 that was later dispatched to Suriname.
Major Drilling’s D65, newly arrived from the Epiroc plant in Sweden, moves to the Merian Mine from the Major Drilling Suriname facility.
Major Drilling operates this D65 rig to drill blast holes at Newmont Corporation’s Merian Mine operations in Suriname.
Suriname is just one of Major Drilling’s South America drilling locations. Projects are also underway in Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
Major Drilling explores for gold at Challenger Exploration Limited’s Hualilan Gold Project in Argentina.
Exploration teams surface drill at Glencore’s Lomos Bayas Copper Mine in Chile.
Also in Suriname, Major Drilling teams operate a pit dewatering program at the IAMGOLD Saramacca Mine. Twelve holes with 20-inch service casings at 12 meters (39 feet) and holes drilled to 17.5-inches to 80 meters (262 feet) are being drilled for installation of 8-inch PVC with sand pack. Then a 14-inch casing with a 13-inch diameter hole drilled to 250 meters (80 feet) will complete the project.
“We’re proud of our teams in Suriname and how they set a great standard in performance and partnership with Newmont for our South American and other global operations,” Ashley Martin, Major Drilling VP Operations – South America, said.
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