Rock 'n' roll for Sandvik drill rigs

Sandvik Tamrock drill rigs are being used to cut a new highway through the UAE's Hajar Mountains.

Five Sandvik Tamrock drill rigs are being used to cut a new highway through the Hajar Mountains in the UAE to link the emirates of Fujairah and Dubai.

The four-lane Dubai-Fujairah Freeway will run for a length of 77km. The client for the project is the UAE Ministry of Public Works and Housing, with a joint venture consulting team of Al Turath Engineering Consultants and Wilbur Smith & Associates.

Cutting through the mountains involves two separate contracts. Both are of almost equal length -contract one is 23km and contract two is 22km.

Drilling and blasting for both these sections is being handled by Arabian Rock Engineering Company, an Oman-based firm with more than 25 years' experience of working in Oman's mountainous terrain.

Ali Hamed Rajab, manager, Arabian Rock Engineering, said the company's job is to design the drill and blast program, calculate the quantity of explosives needed for blasting, and then to drill and blast. The broken rock is being hauled away by another subcontractor and used for aggregate.

"Of the two contracts, contract two is by far the biggest in rock-removal terms, with 8 million m³ of rock to be drilled and blasted," he said. "By contrast, contract one has 2 million m³ to blast along a route that is almost equal in length."

Contract two is using a Sandvik Tamrock Ranger 700 and two CHA 700 hydraulic crawler rigs, while contract one is using a Ranger 700 and a CHA 560. The drill rigs are being used for bench drilling and pre-split drilling.

Sandvik distributor Dynatrade Automotive Group, located in neighbouring Sharjah, has supplied all the rigs for the contractor.

Ranger hydraulic crawler drill rigs have a revolving superstructure, an articulated boom and can handle very rough terrain. With a mechanised rod changer, the Ranger will drill 51-127mm holes to depths of 25m. Rangers have a large coverage area and this is proving to be a major advantage on this project, with the machine leading the way along the highway route and the CHA 700s or the CHA 550 following, according to Dynatrade.

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