Major Drilling Mongolia Drills Record 2,000-Meter PQ Hole for Oyu Tolgoi

By Tuesday November 17th, 2020Blogs, Industry News

The Major Drilling team at Oyu Tolgoi’s copper project in Mongolia celebrates its 2,000-meter PQ3 drilling record on Oct. 22, 2020.

A new drilling record is set in Mongolia at the Oyu Tolgoi copper project where Major Drilling teams completed a 2,000-meter (6,561 feet) PQ3 diameter hole. It is an extremely deep hole for PQ requiring both experience and expertise.

“The successful completion of this hole is not only an incredible achievement for Major Drilling Mongolia, it also opens the door for additional deep hole drilling at Oyu Tolgoi as the project continues to expand,” Ann Sam, Oyu Tolgoi Supervisor Mine Geology, Underground Geoscience Services, said.

The specialized drilling teams met both the challenge to reach the record-setting depth and the requirement to approach at a 65-degree dip. Their determination for the 104 days of the project yielded an average 10 meters (33 feet) per shift while intersecting eight faults. Controlled drilling from the surface with multiple bottom hole assembly changes maintained precise hole direction. The drill hole was grouted to surface. Drilling teams used a UDR 5000 multi-purpose rig.

The UDR 5000 is the drill Major Drilling teams use at Oyu Tolgoi to reach the deep targets.

A core sample shows the 2,000-meter depth at the Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia.

Denis Larocque, Major Drilling President and CEO, is proud of the drillers and how their work contributes to the overall project. He happily credits Major Drilling’s specialized drilling experts for finding a way to achieve the impossible.

“I had a chance to visit the site and see the UDR 5000 on my last visit last November, which was my final international trip before the coronavirus pandemic,” Larocque said. “I was impressed by the setup I saw at that rig and the rest of the operations.”

Confidence in the abilities of the Major Drilling Mongolia team built after the completion of another deep PQ record for Oyu Tolgoi in June 2020. That hole was 1,539.5 meters with a set up angle of -73 degrees and two daughter holes.

Major Drilling Mongolia teams celebrate a milestone at a separate 1,539.5-meter (5,050-foot) hole at Oyu Tolgoi in June 2020.

Confidence in the abilities of the Major Drilling Mongolia team built after the completion of another deep PQ record for Oyu Tolgoi in June 2020. That hole was 1,539.5 meters with a setup angle of -73 degrees and two daughter holes.

The UDR 5000 drill rig that completed the record 2,000-meter PQ deep drill hole for Oyu Tolgoi moves to its next project location.

Larocque hopes COVID-19 travel restrictions will resolve as soon as possible so he can return to Mongolia and celebrate this record drilling achievement with the local drillers. It is a group that has, since early 2000, established a drilling campaign in the Gobi Desert to answer the call from Rio Tinto for high standards of equipment, people and safety needed to bring the Oyu Tolgoi mining complex to life.

The Oyu Tolgoi mine is jointly owned by the Government of Mongolia and Turquoise Hill Resources, a majority owned Rio Tinto mineral exploration and development company. Rio Tinto has managed the Oyu Tolgoi project since 2010. Major Drilling received recognition as the 2019 Best Drilling Company from the Mongolia Drilling Association.

A bit receives markings for its use on the 1,539.5-meter (5,050-foot) drill hole completed in June 2020 at Oyu Tolgoi.

At the helm of Major Drilling’s onsite operations is Special Projects Manager, Shaun Hogan. Shaun leads a highly capable team of drillers and support staff required for the operation. His focus on Major Drilling’s values of quality, safety and results have big impacts on each day’s drilling procedures at Oyu Tolgoi. Safety is at the forefront through use of TAKE 5 risk assessments, the 10 Lifesaving Rules, and the Critical Risks Management programs.

“We’re very proud of this record achievement from Shaun and our Major Drilling Mongolia team,” J.R. Davies, Major Drilling VP Operations – Asia, said. “What our teams are doing every day strengthens our partnership with Oyu Tolgoi and continues to develop their impressive copper project.”

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