Drilling rigs like this were used to take bore samples to find where coal could be found. Using geological maps could only get you so far so surveyors would make boreholes to test the depth of coal at specific points.
The drills used with the rig were diamond tipped to allow it to drill through almost anything. This system could take core samples up to around 480 meters down. The mast was designed to swivel to allow an angled drill which would give a more varied sample of strata.
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