STATE Mining Corporation (STAMICO) yesterday received an air rotary drill rig machine for assisting small scale miners to get geological information and exploration in their areas at a low cost.
The machine maker of prospector I, multi power machines which cost 3 million US dollars was procured by ministry for minerals under Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP) by World Bank.
“The machine has the ability to drill rocks by using air at high speed in depth between 30 metres to 200 metres at low price,” said STAMICO Board Chairperson, Ambassador Alexander Muganda in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Air rotary drilling is a method used to drill deep boreholes in rock formations. Borehole advancement is achieved by rapid rotation of a drill bit which is mounted at the end of the drill pipe.
The drill bit cuts the formation into small pieces, called cuttings. This method utilizes air as a circulating medium to cool the drill bit, bring drill cuttings to the surface and maintain borehole integrity.
Once the air and cuttings return to the surface they are captured in a cyclone where the cuttings drop out the bottom.
Amb Muganda said the corporation has a diamond drill rig machine that does not use air but most small scale miners cannot afford its costs. He said geological information will assist miners to be sure of potential areas and also get loans from financial institutions, instead of doing business as usual.
The Chairperson supplemented that empowering artisanal miners would boost the economy through improved revenue collection and help the country reach its industrialisation targets.
Last year, the ministry responsible for minerals revealed that 3 million US dollars was set aside in grants to small-scale miners, in a plan that seeks to develop the sector and boost revenue collection.
STAMICO Acting Director of exploitation and drilling, Mr Alex Rutagwelela, said they had received several applications from small scale miners from several regions who need reverse circulation services. “We are now happy to inform them that the machine is in the country and ready to provide them with affordable services,” he noted.
Mr Rutagwelela said small scale miners with Primary Mining Licence (PML) were the ones who will benefit from the new procured machine. Expounding further, he said diamond drill rig costs per one metre ranges from 200,000/- to 300,000/-, while air rotary drill rig costs ranges between 70,000/- to 80,000/- per one meter.