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Managing the Diamond Drilling Interactions in Commissioning the Ankata Underground Mine


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Author L Sandery and S Light


Within 22 months of commencing decline development, the Prominent Hill Ankata Underground Project achieved its full production rate of 1.2 Mt/a.

In 2010 construction of the Ankata Underground Project was approved. Decline development commenced in November 2010 and the turnout for the first sublevel was reached by August 2011. The first stoping ore was produced in the first quarter of 2012 and production was successfully ramped up to full production during the third quarter of 2012.

Diamond drilling commenced in October 2011 and was conducted concurrently with the underground development. This presented challenges as mining and production targets had to be balanced with underground exploration activities. To achieve production on schedule, without adversely affecting the diamond drilling program and future development, meticulous and adaptive planning techniques were required. This included involvement from engineers, geologists, underground operators and underground diamond drillers.

The granularity
of these planning techniques allowed the management and prioritisation of
development and diamond drilling down to an almost hourly basis. A constant flow
of information from drill assay results was fed back into the planning systems.
This resulted in a constantly evolving mine plan as the orebody was further
refined. High priority areas were identified and targeted to allow continued
development and a successful rapid ramp up to full production.


Sandery, L and Light, S, 2014. Managing the diamond drilling
interactions in commissioning the Ankata underground mine, in Proceedings
12th AusIMM Underground Operators’ Conference 2014
, pp 75–80 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).