MMP Announces Isidingo Drill Design Challenge Finalists

The Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP), which recently launched the Isidingo Drill Design Challenge, has announced three finalists - Novatek, HPE and Fermel.

The Isidingo Drill Design Challenge is an open-innovation concept that aims to attract innovative thinkers to design and develop a new-age lighter drill to meet the underground mining sector’s drill needs.

MMP, in collaboration with the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) – a boutique innovation consulting firm focused on solving intractable business and social problems, hopes that the challenge will result in the development of an innovative rock drill prototype that will change the entire underground mining landscape.

The challenge called upon an entire spectrum of industries – architecture, industrial, engineering (mechanical, electrical and civil), arts and design – to produce a cutting-edge rock drill that is faster, lighter and more powerful than its existing counterpart. The future is now – “It starts with an idea,” said Clen Cook, executive of RIIS, at the launch.

“With the potential of becoming a widely-used new technology in deep-level mining and elsewhere, the challenge incentivises entrants to rethink the decades-old mining drill technology,” said Sietse van der Woude, senior executive of Modernisation and Safety at the Minerals Council.

Phase 1 of the competition received 11 submissions of the concept designs from GST, Drill Rod Specialist, Fermal, Isithelo Mining, Engineering Design Lab, HPE, University of Pretoria, Novatek, Fabchem Mining, Shaw Equipment and HI Mining..

Equipment manufacturers, Novatek, HPE and Fermel, advanced to the 2nd phase of the competition, which will require them to develop the proof-of-concepts over 60 days.

“We are very encouraged by the number of entrants who participated in this challenge and even more heartened by the number of individuals not associated with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who entered their own designs. We look forward to the outcome of the next two phases and ultimately, to the commercialisation of an industry-changing rock drill,” said Van der Woude.

“If we get this right, it will be good for suppliers, mining companies, employees and the country. Aside from sparking innovation, the challenge encourages new players to emerge. It is about a shift in the perception that mining is a sunset industry,” he added.

The final phase (phase 3) of the project comprises the actual prototype to be assembled over 90 days, and will be tested in a real mining environment.

Gold mining underground - Russia

You might be interested in these articles?