An increased demand for commodities and resultant price escalation has caused a surge in demand for surface exploration in South Africa and on the African continent. This has resulted in a substantial increase in exploration drilling with no sign of demand coming down any time soon.

Taking a proactive approach, Murray & Roberts Cementation has over the past few months invested in excess of R15-million acquiring new drill rigs for its already extensive fleet, which now has the capability of drilling from very short holes to ultra deep holes.

"In essence, we have the capacity to offer a single source supply for core exploration drilling needs," says Pete Ferreira, general manager : mining services for Murray & Roberts Cementation.

Upgrading and extension of the fleet has seen it being supplemented with state-of-the-art drill rigs covering both shallow and deep hole equipment. The company has acquired four Boart Longyear LF90 and two Boart Longyear LF230 core drilling machines.

"This has significantly enhanced our capability and we have already seen a substantial increase in this area of operation. We are currently undertaking exploration drilling in Ghana, Zambia and South Africa," explains Ferreira.

Murray & Roberts Cementation is poised to take advantage of the increase in core exploration drilling and is focused on delivering world class results.

"However, this mission does not rest on machinery alone. Yes, the machines are capable of delivering in the region of 1,000 metres per month per machine, but more important is our experience and expertise which goes hand in hand with this type of operation. We have been active in this sector of the market for many years," he says.

Safety is another important factor in the Murray & Roberts Cementation operation; it is a top priority and focus area of the company. Achieving competent core exploration drilling requires the appropriate accreditation, speed of delivery, quality of core recovery and constantly being mindful of the fact that time cost efficiency is a critical component of each overall contract.

"It is about delivering the entire package in a world class manner," says Ferreira.