The mining site is located in the Atacama Desert region, near the town of Inca de Oro - a community of 400 people. Due to the remote location of the project, water usage and external intervention continues to be a huge concern for the locals, who are constantly dealing with water shortages and other associated issues. Under traditional circumstances, the drilling project would historically use approximately 780,000 litres of water, in addition to further expenditure and management for items such as transport to and from the drill site, pumps, traffic and personnel. AMC’s SRU™ achieved an 89% reduction in water use – successfully limiting water usage to only 82,000 litres during the 13 day period.
It was important to address the concerns of the Inca de Oro community, that the operation was to be clean and would not pollute or have any environmental impact. Once the exploration stage of the project was finished, the hole was sealed with a clean closure. As opposed to the sump method, the SRU™ creates drier, lighter cuttings as waste. Cuttings with high water content are heavier, have larger volumes, are more costly to transport, and run a high risk of environmental impact. The cuttings produced from the SRU™’s separating process were correctly disposed of, with no spills due to overflows, no surface mud leaks, no visual pollution and most convincingly the working surface was not altered.
On site the unit returned a clean mud system with a high percentage of retained polymers, which were recycled within the closed-loop system. Due to this, the client was able to reduce the overall mud consumption on site. Prior to using the SRU™, the average cost for mud and additives using the sump method was USD$9.00 per meter drilled. However, when using the SRU™, associated additive costs were reduced to USD$3.90, a reduction of 57% during the 13 days of operation. With clean drilling fluid, issues such as sludging, bit balling and stuck pipe are minimised, reducing wear and tear on drill components, maintenance, replacement time and associated costs. As a result, drill crews could spend less time monitoring mud systems and focus on drilling – for increased bit on bottom time.
AMC believes the implementation of it’s Solids Removal technology, as well as efforts by their team of experienced mud engineers were key to the success of this operation. Commenting on the success of the SRU™ at the Inca de Oro site, AMC South American Regional Manager - Sergio Jimenez said: “We worked closely with our clients to improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs and resolve site-specific challenges. They were pleased with the environmental, economic and safety benefits the unit delivered and with our training, will continue to achieve these benefits in the future.”
As AMC’s SRU™ technology becomes an integral component of the modern drill site, AMC continues to develop their fleet, catering to multiple client requirements and configurations. The Surface SRU™ is mounted for easy setup, transport and manoeuverability on site, the Underground SRU™ eliminates the need for water to pump constantly to the surface to operate the drill rig and the Heli-portable SRU™ is a compact, mobile design that can be assembled in only 20 minutes. There is also the Modular SRU™ which is adapted to HDD, mud rotary and chipping operations, as well as client-specific equipment in AMC’s fleet.
AMC’S SRU™ models are constantly updating and adapting to their client’s needs. AMC is committed to improving and innovating technology to redefine the way their clients drill, streamlining processes, and enabling responsible drilling. To find out more about the benefits of AMC’s Solids Removal Unit™ range, read case studies
or about new innovations in the range – head to www.amcmud.com.