Master Drilling sets new World Record with 1 382 metre hole

Master Drilling Group Limited (“Master Drilling”, JSE:MDI), a world leader in the raise bore drilling services industry, has added another record to its name, with the successful completion of the pilot hole for raise-boring at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde mine.

Drilling of the pilot hole at number 3 shaft, a new vertical shaft at the Western extension section of Zondereinde, commenced on 25 September 2019 and the receiving chamber underground was reached on 18 July 2020, completing the 1 382 metre hole, and setting a new world record. The previous record was that of a shaft measuring 1 070 metres, that was drilled in 2012 at Lonmin’s K4 mine.

Number 3 shaft currently being developed by Master Drilling through raise-boring, is considered to be safer, quicker and more cost effective than traditional blind-sinking. Raise-boring comprises two key phases: the drilling of a pilot hole, followed by reaming of this hole to its ultimate diameter. Critical to the success of raise-boring is the accuracy of pilot drilling and this becomes increasingly challenging the longer the shaft.

Commenting on the company’s record achievement, Danie Pretorius, CEO of Master Drilling, said: “What is impressive about this record is that it was achieved using a tool that has never before been utilised for such an application, coupled with one of our high technology machines. It clearly highlights the superiority that adaptation and technology bring to drilling solutions, which is something that Master Drilling has been working relentlessly at over the years. As a result, we are able to provide cost effective, safer and accurate drilling solutions for our clients.”    

Master Drilling used ground-breaking oil well directional drilling and combined it with its own designed and manufactured, modern, high technology RD8 machine as well as skilled operators, to achieve the level of accuracy required by directional drilling in order to create a shaft that can be equipped for both man and material hoisting. The RD8 machine monitors a number of operational metrics and takes corrective actions automatically, providing the accuracy required. The water management regime is a fundamental part of this process, as it ensures that quality readings are obtained from the directional tool.

“At Master Drilling, technological innovation is matched by the appropriately trained human capital to provide a winning solution, which is why we have our own accredited training academy that produces world class operators for our “man and machine” world”, concluded Danie Pretorius.


Master Drilling

Su-Marie Lemmer [email protected]+27 18 771 8100

Instinctif Partners (Media and Investor Relations)

Monica Ambrosi [email protected] +27 82 659 9226
Keagile Makgoba [email protected] +27 82 325 9063


About Master Drilling
“We challenge the status quo to provide our clients with specialised, adaptive and integrated drilling solutions.”

Master Drilling was established in 1986 and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2012. The company delivers innovative drilling technologies and has built trusted partner relationships with blue-chip major and mid-tier companies in the mining, civil engineering and building construction sectors across various commodities worldwide.

The Master Drilling business model of providing drilling solutions to clients through tailor-made designs coupled with a flexible support and logistics chain makes it the preferred drilling partner throughout the lifecycle of projects from exploration to production and capital stages.