Experience goes a long way

Cominico Resource’s Hinda Project in the Congo Brazzaville is set to be one of the largest phosphate mines in the world.

So, when they were seeking a drilling company to further their pre-feasibility study on the site, Cominco was looking for experience and efficiency, as well as competitive pricing – attributes they found with Meridian Drilling.

The task was to drill wells large diameter water bores to assess pit dewatering for a hydrogeological assessment as part of a $10 million pre-feasibility study of the Hinda Phosphate Mine.

Meridian’s flexibility and co-operation delivered the drilling project on time and on budget.

Cominco’s Hinda Project has been evaluated as being in the top 10 phosphate mines in the world, with a mine life in excess of 40 years at a production rate of 4 mtpa.

It is also in the lowest quartile cost producers, at $35/t.

The project lies 40km northeast of Pointe Noire, West Africa’s largest port.

Located in the Kouilou Province, the site covers a large coastal basin containing the Holle Formation, riverine and marine sedimentary phosphate deposits.

As well as making a significant contribution to the economy of Congo Brazzaville, the mine could have one of the lowest carbon footprints globally due to the use of truckless mining, in-pit crushing and conveying, and transport to the nearby port site by slurry pipeline.

These methods generate less than 20 per cent of the carbon emissions produced by diesel truck alternatives, and take advantage of the local power surplus, generated from otherwise flared natural gas.

Cominco’s Logistics Manager Abe Gibbs pointed out, drilling is a bespoke business.

Meridian’s experience meant that they were able to adapt to Cominco’s individual project needs and quickly overcome any challenges they encountered.

“Meridian were competitively priced, were set up in the country and willing to work. They already had the experience: they were already drilling in similar ground.

“Drilling is a bespoke business and you have to know what you are doing. Meridian were best suited to drill for us. There were challenges but they handled them all.”

Meridian Drilling has built a reputation for being able to work in harsh and remote environments, with extensive experience in reverse circulation drilling and diamond core drilling.

They have worked on numerous potash projects from the Congo Brazzaville to Ethiopia, other base minerals and precious metals as well as geotechnical and hyrogeological evaluation.

The company pride themselves on working efficiently and safely and being able to work wherever their client needs them to be.

As well as being able to facilitate the project’s drilling requirements, what stood out for Mr Gibbs was the way in which Meridian went out of their way to help when the need arose.

“Without a doubt we would hire them again,” he added.