Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) is a leading producer and exporter of copper concentrate in the Philippines. The mine site is located in Don Andres Soriano compound (Lutopan) in Toledo City, Province of Cebu. The company is a subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation, a pioneer in metallic mineral exploration and mining in the Philippines with a company history that dates back to 1953.
Atlas Mining operates the Toledo copper mine through Carmen Copper Corporation. The Toledo copper mine is one of the largest open pit copper mines in the Philippines. The mining operations started in 1955 with milling operations at 4 000 dry metric tons of ore per day and eventually, it expanded its plant capacity to 1 000 dry metric tons per day. The increase in production is a result of the discovery of larger ore reserves in this mining concession.
Currently, CCC optimized their operations by the development and commercial distribution of other mineral resources such as molybdenum, magnetite and pyrite. These are by-products from the processing of copper concentrate in their operation. With a dynamic and giant mining operation like CCC, it is important to invest in a drilling equipment that is reliable, durable and can deliver high performance. This is where surface drill rig, FlexiROC D65 from Epiroc was put to the test.
Their production capacity is 130 000 tons per day. Operation type is open pit mining for copper ore. The type of rock, minerals or aggregates in the site are composed of sulfate zone, limestone, diorite, metavolcanic rocks, pyroclastic, and sandstone siltstone.
CCC started using FlexiROC D65 in 2014. They used RocL8-30 in 2012 and the resulting total impact hours was 9 342. However, with FlexiROC D65, its total impact hours was 14 697. To assess the FlexiROC D65 performance in terms of time period of operation (years) and total drill meters, it lasted for 3 year to 6 year. Drill meters ranged from 265 069 m to 558 032 m.
In the mining operation of CCC, drilling activity is 16 hours per day. There is an average of 12 hours per shift for one week. There are 14 work shifts per week. For drilling activities, the bench height is 15 m with hole diameter of 165 mm. Drilling pattern has a burden of 5.3 m, spacing of 6.3 m and subdrilling of approximately 1.6 m.
So how good is the performance of FlexiROC D65 in the operations of CCC? Let us check its performance from 2012 until 2018 for the drill meters per rig and shift.
Using RocL8-30 in 2012, the output was an average of 130 m per 8-hour shift, and 160 m after drilling for another 8-hour shift. Then in 2014, using FlexiROC D65, the output also had an average of 160 m per 8-hour shift and same results was repeated after another 8-hour shift.
In 2017, using FlexiROC D65, its output performance increased with an average of 210 m per 8-hour shift. Finally in 2018, still using FlexiROC D65, its output increased again with an average of 230 meters per 8-hour shift.
It is great to have reliable equipment that has a good track record, but another thing that clients look for is good service from the manufacturer.
With that said, service, maintenance and repair are taken care of with an Epiroc on-site contract. Training on the process is conducted every 6 months. Technical problems were encountered though in medium hard rock condition.
To elaborate further on these assessments of the FlexiROC D65 performance and maintenance support by Epiroc, Harry Sabay, Planning General Foreman for CCC, gives his account on the matter. Here are the reasons why they chose Epiroc over competitor rigs. He stated, “We have two other drill rig competitors currently. We have been procuring Epiroc drills because of the reliable maintenance support given to us.”
"Though specifically with the price of the Epiroc drill, there are lots of competitors who offer same performance theoretically. The Epiroc maintenance support here in CCC is superb and unlike any other contractor here. We have also different contractors here dealing different fleets and equipment models but with Epiroc, they really stood out among them."
He emphasized the importance of hands-on support and service of the Epiroc maintenance team. “From planning to inspections to breakdowns, the support of the Epiroc team here in CCC is well taken care of. We have been on the rough spot last year without the Epiroc maintenance contract. With the resumption of the contract, we are slowly but surely recovering the target availability until we successfully recovered and exceeded it now.”
“The service manager of Epiroc, Alfred Geod, is also very much commendable for his hands-on support not only on breakdowns but also on the planning activities. He is constantly updating and taking part in the whole maintenance activities of the units.” Having Epiroc maintenance team in your site who are detail-oriented and meticulous is an important factor in assuring that quality output from the drills is consistent and that no time is wasted.