Pluton Resources Cockatoo Island Stage 4 Seawall Drilling Project

In 2013, Hagstrom Drilling commenced a challenging project for Pluton Resources on Cockatoo Island, Western Australia. A geotechnical investigation and instrument installation was required for Stage 4 of the sea wall construction, and resource definition was also required for Stage 5 of the expansion project. 

A geotechnical investigation and instrument installation was required for Stage 4 of the sea wall construction, and resource definition was also required for Stage 5 of the expansion project. 

Cockatoo Island is a hermatite mining operation owned by Pluton Resources and is located 140 km north of Derby. Hagstrom Drilling mobilised Drill Rig 8, the Commachio multi-purpose track rig and a large fleet of support equipment to complete the project.

PROJECT SCOPE

The project included 650 meters of geotechnical drilling and two deep resource definition holes. 

GEOLOGY

The ground encountered was a combination of overburden, boulders/cobbles and coralline sediment. This created challenges that were met by utilising a combination of methods. In particular, the Atlas Copco Symmatrex Overburden System made significant progress through the overburden. Advancement was made using PQ then HQ and NQ drilling diameters. This staged approach saved significant operational costs including bit/equipment wear costs, while also lowering risk. Hagstroms’ experience in utilising different drilling methods to improve efficiency came to the fore and ensured a successful outcome for the client.

TIDES AND WEATHER

Tidal movements and weather also played a key role in the difficulties faced by the Hagstrom team. The tidal movements of the island meant that the drill rig had to be moved on and off the drill pads depending on the tidal level. To counteract that time lost from this, day and night shifts commenced improving efficiency.

The humid and hot weather conditions ensured that the crew had to stay hydrated and take regular breaks to conserve energy.