Rana Mines is making considerable investments in a new main level and a change of mining method to sublevel caving, going from open pit to underground mining.

Since the design adopted by the mine will require openings and production blastholes longer than what is appropriate for existing drilling equipment, the mine has decided to use Wassara water powered drilling system on a newly ordered Atlas W6C drilling rig. The rig will be a dual-purpose rig that can drill both production blastholes and openings / slots.

The sublevel caving mining shall be in operation by October 2011. The production drilling will start in January 2011.

The decision is based on good understanding and experience from the success achieved in LKAB with the Wassara drilling system as well as an open and constructive co-operation between Rana Mines, Atlas Copco and Wassara. The three parties are currently preparing a programme for training of operators and maintenance staff as well as for servicing of the equipment including the Wassara drill string.