torque africa

South African based drilling expert Torque Africa has broken its own drilling record – successfully achieving a rotary percussion hole drilled to a depth of 1 402 m without interruption. Despite the challenges associated with deeplevel drilling, the company aims to drill to greater depths in the near future thanks to dedicated employees, extensive experience, the right equipment and its ability to adapt to challenging geological conditions, director NardusBezuidenhout tells Sascha Solomons.

“We are able to set records and break our own records because we are willing to go the extra mile. We take on jobs at the expense of other experts that see the risk of failure as too high,” comments Bezuidenhout. In 2017 Torque Africa drilled its way into the record books with a hole drilled in the Springs area reaching 1 148 m, one of the deepest rotary percussion holes drilled worldwide. The hole is 22" in circumference at surface and 5" at the bottom. The project was completed within three months.

A new drilling record

The company has since broken its own record, drilling 1 402 m deep at a mining project in Beaufort West. Nardus explains that with the site layout done and all drilling equipment in place, Torque Africa commenced drilling on 14 June 2018 with a Thor 8000 drilling machine. With an 8.5” drill bit the project started, moving through about 132 m of clay and grey shale. Underground water yields added additional challenges. Nonetheless, by 1 July the company had lowered its equipment to 706 m and continued drilling to 747 m thereafter. By 7 July drilling continued with a 152-140 mm bit. By implementing two working shifts (day and night) the company reached 1 344 m on 7 July. The company continued drilling afterwards to reach 1 402 m with a bit size of 140 mm. Retracting the drill string was also achieved with remarkable success. “This is a drilling phase well planned and executed.” Nardus explains that with the site layout done and all drilling equipment in place, Torque Africa commenced drilling on 14 June 2018 with a Thor 8000 drilling machine. With an 8.5” drill bit the project started, moving through about 132 m of clay and grey shale. Underground water yields added additional challenges. Nonetheless, by 1 July the company had lowered its equipment to 706 m and continued drilling to 747 m thereafter. By 7 July drilling continued with a 152-140 mm bit. By implementing two working shifts (day and night) the company reached 1 344 m on 7 July. The company continued drilling afterwards to reach 1 402 m with a bit size of 140 mm. Retracting the drill string was also achieved with remarkable success. “This is a drilling phase well planned and executed.” Nardus explains that with the site layout done and all drilling equipment in place, Torque Africa commenced drilling on 14 June 2018 with a Thor 8000 drilling machine. With an 8.5” drill bit the project started, moving through about 132 m of clay and grey shale. Underground water yields added additional challenges. Nonetheless, by 1 July the company had lowered its equipment to 706 m and continued drilling to 747 m thereafter. By 7 July drilling continued with a 152-140 mm bit. By implementing two working shifts (day and night) the company reached 1 344 m on 7 July. The company continued drilling afterwards to reach 1 402 m with a bit size of 140 mm. Retracting the drill string was also achieved with remarkable success. “This is a drilling phase well planned and executed.” Bezuidenhout points out that although the initial plan specified drilling to 700 m, the client and entities involved decided that Torque Africa should continue drilling for geotechnical exploration. He adds that at this request Torque Africa was able to adapt and continue drilling. Drilling was completed within one month of the scope change.

A winning formula

“Our vision is to be the drilling operator of choice in the industry. We pursue growth opportunities and new business consistent with our skills; and ensuring that we are adaptable in the toughest conditions has allowed us to be a drilling record breaker,” notes Bezuidenhout. He mentions that the right equipment plays a major part in the outcome of delivering drilling success. For this reason, Torque Africa decided to make use of drill technology leader Mincon’s MC55 hammer. It is specifically built for drilling applications where high penetration speeds are vitally important. “Its unique design provides greater impact energy and ultimate drilling performance for absolute maximum productivity in almost all ground conditions,” he explains. He adds that with Mincon the quality control of genuine parts and engineering resulted in no shanking, no deviation in the hole, good air flow and remarkable backup. “With 20 years of experience in the drilling industry, backed by a dedicated team of employees with extensive knowledge in drilling, Torque Africa remains a step above the rest.” The company’s winning formula is further supported by its ability to modify machinery and change initial plans as the operation develops. “Customers are increasingly requesting deeper holes and Torque Africa will continue catering to these requests to reach even deeper records,” concludes Bezuidenhout.