Application of Trenchless Technology Construction Methods to Underground Mining


Mr Gary Haywood ( - Points Athabasca Contracting)

Trenchless technology in the civil construction industry has become widely used and includes such practices as Horizontal auger boring, pipe bursting, pipe ramming and horizontal directional drilling. The main advantage of this technology is to minimize surface disturbance that otherwise would be impacted by trenching, due to existing infrastructure or environmental considerations. It has been used in may applications including installation of casings under highways and railways, water and sewer upgrades and residential utility upgrades. Points Athabasca has been involved in horizontal auger boring since 2014 and has since completed over 1,000m of pipe installation across Saskatchewan. The latest technology in machines has seen the introduction of electric auger boring machines, mainly due to the requirement to lower emissions in residential areas. This, combined with developing rock cutting technology, may have opened up the application of this trenchless method to the mining industry. The ability to drill large diameter horizontal bore holes, while simultaneously installing a casing over long distances has many advantages over traditional methods on installing utilities such as process water and or chemical pipelines, dewatering pipelines or services (power and air). This has particular application to underground mining, and could have advantages in reducing piping distances, removing pipelines from drifts to reduce cross sectional area and containing utilities to specific areas. This paper will explore the technology available and provide a study into the benefits of using civil technology in a mining environment.