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Wallis Drilling chairman Graeme Wallis and chief executive officer Mark Crumby.

Wallis Drilling has sold its RIG Technologies business, which specialises in logging while drilling, to explosives and blasting systems giant Orica for an estimated $12 million.

The RIG Technologies business includes downhole behind the hammer geophysics sensors (gamma-ray and gyro), drill rig-based sensor platforms, and a cloud-based data management system.

Following the sale, RIG Technologies now forms part of Orica’s orebody intelligence category, within its digital solutions portfolio, along with its recent acquisition of Hopper Industrial Group.

Wallis and RIG Technologies will retain a five-year technical partnership to ensure continued testing and real-time deployment of the tools and other associated products in a field operating environment.

The two companies started as a joint venture in 2016 before Wallis acquired the entire business in 2019.

Wallis Drilling chairman Graeme Wallis said the sale enabled RIG Technologies to leverage its first mover advantage and is overwhelmingly the best option for all stakeholders.

“The timing is right given where we have positioned the RIG Technologies business. Orica has the financial resources, global customer base and distribution network to market and scale its product suite,” he said.

“For Wallis, the sale allows us to increase the rate of investment in our main drilling business. In recent years, strong organic growth has been accelerated by the design, manufacture and deployment of our leading range of Wallis RC and Mantis autonomous drill rigs.”

Wallis Drilling chief executive officer Mark Crumby said the company has a successful history of innovation and commercialising new technologies for the mining industry.

“The development of RIG Technologies’ product suite and its subsequent sale to Orica, is another example of this success,” he said.

“Our ongoing partnership with RIG Technologies means Wallis will continue to provide our customers with this industry-leading technology.

“We are looking forward to focusing on the growth of our primary drilling business and delivering value to our customers through our extensive industry experience, custom-designed rigs and our commitment to quality and safety.”

Orica is one of the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling.