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Vietnam coal mining operation standardises on Pantera Rock Pilots

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Two new Tamrock Pantera Rock Pilot 1100 surface rock drilling rigs from Sandvik have been delivered to the Vietmindo opencast coalmine in Northern Vietnam, joining four units that have been working there for the past three years; enhancing the Tamrock as a benchmark for overburden drilling in the Vietnamese coalmining industry.
The two new rigs are equipped with Sandvik GT60 rock tools.
The mine is located outside the town of Uong Bi, in Quang Ninh Province, about 130 km from Hanoi, and is operated by PT Vietmindo Energitama, an Indonesian company working in conjunction with the Uong Bi Coal Company Vietnam to mine, market and export anthracite coal products.
Vietmindo’s mining concession is located in the huge Quang Yen Basin, the largest coalfield in Vietnam accounting for over 80 percent of the nation’s production.
The seven-seam deposit has total reserves of over 30 million tonnes within the concession area, the seams varying in thickness up to 10 m with the seam dip ranging from 5 to 30 degrees.
Conventional opencut mining methods are used to recover the coal. Following the stripping and storage of topsoil for future restoration, the hard overlying sandstone and siltstone are broken by drilling and blasting.
The two new Pantera Rock Pilot 1100 rigs join the existing four Tamrock Pantera Rock Pilots to drill the rock ready for blasting. After the rock has been blasted it is ferried away by a fleet of 50-tonne rigid and 35-tonne articulated dumptrucks.
All of the equipment on site, including the Tamrock rigs, is owned and operated by Construction Equipment Joint Stock Company (CONECO), a company that is based in Hanoi and acts as subcontractor to Vietmindo Energitama, supplying the mine’s equipment needs.
In charge of the equipment on site is Hoang Trong Chien, deputy director of Mechanical Implement Manufactory, a subsidiary of CONECO.
“Our company had made the decision some three years ago to standardise on the use of Sandvik for overburden drilling,” says Mr Chien. “We had been partially using Japanese rock drills but we found the productivity of the Rock Pilot-Sandvik GT60 combination to be so outstanding that it made perfect sense to invest in these machines for our future needs.
“Not only does a consistent fleet help in planning and meeting targets, but of course it also greatly helps the maintenance and spares operation.”
Openasia Heavy Equipment, Sandvik’s distributor in Vietnam, which has its head office in Hanoi, supplied the Tamrock rigs and GT60 drills.
Mr Chien says the flexibility of the Rock Pilot and GT60 combination allows the drilling of up to 140mm diameter holes on short 12m bench heights and relatively limited bench widths, and the ability to drill effectively in varying and difficult ground conditions and produce high quality holes.
All the Panteras have the new Rock Pilot drilling system as standard feature, a feature that adjusts drilling power automatically, reacting to changing rock conditions and sending the optimal amount of power to the rig’s drilling rods.
Equipped with the patented Sandvik GT60 tool system, the rig can drill 92, 102, 115, 127, 140 and 152 mm blast holes.
At Vietmindo the hole spacing vary from 3.2 to 2.7 m but can be even tighter, depending on conditions
The depth of the hole is from 13 to 17 m, and it is packed with 0.35 kg/m3 of explosive to about two-thirds its capacity. Blasting takes place at different areas of the quarry three times per day.
PT Vietmindo Energitama was the first foreign company licensed to explore, mine and market anthracite coal in Vietnam, the mine having become operational in 1997.
Infrastructure at the 1,300-hectare (3,200 acre) mine site includes offices, equipment maintenance shops, a coal wash plant, and accommodation. A barge loading facility has been constructed for transhipment of coal at Dien Cong port 22 km away.
The mine has a capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of anthracite per year, but output varies according to market demand.
Vietmindo anthracite is well known for its use in the sintering process for the iron and steel industry. Approximately 40 percent is exported to Japan, with the remainder going to other Asian countries including South Korea and Taiwan, and to Western Europe.

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