Mining3’s “Top of Coal” technology is heading for commercialisation after the company signed an agreement with CR Digital for the next phase of the innovation’s development.
The announcement comes on the back of promising new results delivered from the most recent trial in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, where the technology was tested over 12 weeks and collected downhole data from over 250-plus boreholes, the companies said.
“Accurately detecting the approaching top of a coal seam prior to blasting is fundamental to efficient coal recovery,” Mining3 and CR Digital said. “During the extraction stage, a significant percentage (up to 12%) of overall coal loss is attributable to blast damage and coal dilution, which then makes it difficult to separate the coal cleanly from the waste during both overburden excavation and coal processing. By eliminating the damage done to the top of seam, substantial increases in recovery are enabled.”
With support from ACARP, Mining3 has been developing a measurement while drilling (MWD) system that detects the top of a coal seam while routinely drilling blast holes.
During the drilling process, the detection system uses resistance measurements ahead of the drill bit to detect approaching coal in real time. This method of detecting “Top of Coal” brings significant benefits to surface mining operations, Mining3 says, including:
- Providing a reliable indication of the approach to “Top of Coal” that will enable drilling to be stopped before touching coal or at a minimum standoff distance;
- Increase production by reducing damage to coal from blasting; and
- Strata recognition and mapping during routine blasthole drilling.
The system can also be retro fitted to a standard rotary air blast drill rig.
CR Digital, part of the global CR Group, is now working with Mining3 on the commercialisation of the technology, and the integration of the Top of Coal technology into its technology portfolio.
Together, CR Digital and Mining3 see potential for the technology to be an extension to the Thunderbird 1110 and StrataSense products within the CR Digital portfolio.
“Collectively, this agnostic range can be retrofitted to any rotary air blast drill rig and is intended to build on the StrataSense capability of CR Digital, to compile a three-dimensional understanding of the bench and coal seam in real time,” the companies said.