The Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science recently announced that the joint venture (JV) between Qtec, Wallis Drilling and the University of Western Australia has been awarded a three‑year grant from the Cooperative Research Centres Program (CRC-P) up to the value of A$2.8 million ($2 million).
Qteq, as the award recipients with Wallis and UWA as the JV partners, were awarded the grant for development of a real-time communications and downhole power generation system to be used with Qteq’s existing fleet of Measurement While Drilling instruments.
Following the initial phase of the project, the JV will work on developing Logging While Drilling tools that include nuclear magnetic resonance and spectroscopy, Qtec said.
The completed project will deliver the ability to provide real-time assay and moisture content during the reverse circulation drilling process, according to the company.
Qtec Chief Technology Officer, Dr Tim Hopper, said: “The ability to acquire assay and moisture content whilst drilling will dramatically change the face of minerals drilling in Australia. The cost and time reduction to clients is significant, with miners no longer needing to wait months to get cutting samples analysed before they can make decisions.
“When combined with the Wallis Drilling 300RC Autonomous Rig, the industry takes a step closer to achieving the ability to remotely drill and assay holes, with staff being able to monitor and direct operations remotely,” he said. “The mine of the future takes another step forward.”
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s CRC-P aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength and is in line with government priorities, according to Qtec.
“While the programme wishes to foster high-quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry‑led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between industry entities and research organisations, it also aims to encourage and facilitate small and medium enterprise participation in collaborative research,” the company added.
With the award of the grant, the Western Australia-based JV will be looking to further promote the use of high-quality, high-technology equipment in the mining industry which it hopes will further encourage WA’s highly skilled workforce to consider a career in this usually “low-tech industry”, Qtec said.
Qteq’s recently appointed Chief Executive Officer, Ewan Meldrum, said: “The development of this new, advanced logging system will support Australia in becoming a world leader in the commercialisation of mining technology and services.”