Tag Archives: Measurement While Drilling

Mining3’s ‘Top of Coal’ tech heads for commercialisation with CR Digital pact

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.

Record hole in progress at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde: Master Drilling

Master Drilling says it is in the process of drilling a world record hole at Northam Platinum’s Zondereinde platinum group metals mine, in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa.

The contractor has its flagship RD8-1500 raisebore rig on site at Zondereinde and is busy drilling the 4.8 m, 1,420 m deep hole at the operation, it said today.

Master Drilling said: “The project doesn’t just beat all previous drilling benchmarks, but also has very stringent accuracy requirement that requires the latest in Measurement While Drilling technology.”

While Master Drilling did not add any additional details in the news post, Northam Platinum said in its full-year results presentation for the year ending June 30, 2019, that planning and preparation for raiseboring the No.3 shaft at the Western Extension project at Zondereinde was in progress. It added, in a presentation last month, that pilot drilling for the raisebore was at 760 m.

Northam is targeting steady state platinum group metal production of 50,000 oz/y from the Western Extension, which it hopes to achieve in its 2025 financial year.

Master Drilling’s RD8 rig has been used at various mine sites across South Africa and is capable of drilling 8.5 m in diameter and over 1,500 m deep, the company said.

CR Digital to tackle fragmentation optimisation with Thunderbird buy

CR Digital has agreed terms to acquire Seattle-based Thunderbird Mining Systems in a transaction that, it says, further expands CQMS Razer’s digital technology division’s product offering, IP, sales/marketing and technical support activities.

Thunderbird founder, John Vynne, and his team have been pioneering measurement while drilling (MWD) technologies since founding the company and have a rich history in drilling technology and guidance for surface mining, CR Digital said.

Damian Assaillit, Head of CR Digital, said: “Thunderbird Mining Systems were highly regarded in the mining technology sector, providing world-leading blasthole drill optimisation technologies to mining customers for over 30 years.”

Vynne added: “There is immense appetite for digital knowledge of drill planning and blast outcomes, and the Thunderbird technology combined with CR Digital’s Load Haul Optimization creates a unique and compelling combination that our mining customers will be able to leverage.

“Thunderbird’s technology is proven to increase mine productivity, reduce drilling costs and improve blasting effectiveness.”

The addition of blasthole drill optimisation and rock knowledge systems reflects a strategic move by CR Digital to expand its product range across fragmentation through to load and haul optimisation, it said.

Assaillit said: “Thunderbird Mining Systems products complement our existing CR Digital product range, including our market-leading Titan 3330™ Load Haul Optimization technology. Optimised fragmentation is a key variable in the productivity of load haul circuits and being able to offer our customers more real-time knowledge is a great opportunity to further enhance mining productivity using technology.”

The Titan 3330 technology uses sophisticated instruments and patented algorithms to calculate and display the payload of each bucket, accurately, in real-time and during motion, before it is dumped into the truck, according to CR Digital.

CR Digital said Thunderbird Mining Systems’ customers will benefit from the enhanced capability of the global CR group, CR Digital’s proactive technical support, the data analytics capability of its Orion platform, and access to a broader technology portfolio providing enhanced value to their operations.

Qtec, Wallis and UWA granted cash to expand real-time drill and assay technology

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.”