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|Optimising drill performance has always been a primary goal of drilling and blasting managers. Improving drilling rates and utilisation will ultimately drive the cost per foot or metre downward. Additionally, more consistent production will ensure shovel or dragline performance goals are met and the chances of machine idle time is minimised. Over the past 20 years, many studies have examined rotary drilling factors and performance issues. In most cases a common theory points to energy input versus drilling output. Indexes such as specific energy and total work energy have been -developed to quantify the drilling process. As general engineering principles dictate, energy is required to drill rock by overcoming compressive and shear strengths. Concurrently, the greater the energy input, the faster the penetration output. Therefore, by examining the basic drilling energy parameters, optimisation is possible. The principles of rotary drilling are driven by five factors. When optimised individually and as a system, drill performance will improve. Most recent studies all agree that a performance relationship exists between bit load, bit rotation, and hole flushing. Additionally, proper bit selection and most of all, the operator, can have a tremendous effect on drill productivity. By analysing these factors and establishing the best case scenario, an overall drilling system can be engineered to match the mining characteristics. Furthermore, by balancing these factors, a lower cost will be achieved through increased production rates, maintenance costs, and effective drill utilisation.|