Tag Archives: Universal Field Robots

IMDEX’s Lawie on BLAST DOG’s continual orebody knowledge evolution

In a presentation to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney, Australia, today, entitled ‘Get a Dog’, IMDEX Chief Geoscientist and Chief Technologist – Mining, Dave Lawie, charted the five-year development journey of the company’s BLAST DOG™ technology that, the company says, provides unrivalled pre-blast orebody knowledge and a 3D view into the bench.

BLAST DOG is a commodity-agnostic blast hole sensing and physical measurement technology that will provide near real-time blast hole physicals and orebody knowledge, according to IMDEX. The value of the technology is in the power of integrated data, enabling experts to make informed decisions that affect each stage of the mining value chain.

“Ten years ago, orebody knowledge was quite an abstract notion,” Dr Lawie said. “When we first discussed it, people wanted more information. Five years ago, they were becoming more interested, and today it’s a theme in the industry.

“IMDEX has led that discussion and been at the forefront of the development of technologies that deliver better orebody knowledge. Reliable orebody knowledge is central to good mine planning. It provides the data that allows for informed decision making that delivers savings throughout the mining life cycle.”

The BLAST DOG sensor is on a track-mounted robotic platform with semi-autonomous hole positioning and alignment capability working over variable terrain and bench conditions, IMDEX explained.

IMDEX Chief Geoscientist and Chief Technologist – Mining, Dave Lawie

Directly and rapidly measuring the orebody via blast holes reveals what the ore reserve looks like in the ground, at a high resolution, and immediately prior to its extraction, providing mining companies with “insurance” data that protects people, heritage, equipment and neighbouring communities, according to the company.

The data has the potential to be used to develop programs to, the company says, improve safety; mine planning; blast design; fragmentation; reduce fume, flyrock, vibration, air-blast and dust; and improve material assignment post blast.

Dr Lawie said an IMARC presentation in 2015 discussing spatial factors among the activity drivers in mining confirmed to IMDEX that its identification and focus on orebody knowledge was correct. But at the time there was no “Internet of Geosensing” system able to deliver the right information.

“The reference to spatial factors is really the Internet of Geosensing; IoG is an orebody knowledge system, and that’s what BLAST DOG delivers,” he said.

The reduction or management of variation alone creates value, with the characterisation of waste as important as the identification of the target metals or minerals, according to IMDEX.

It creates the opportunity for better segregation of ore from waste during mining and, therefore, grade optimisation as well as maximisation of ore recovery and minimisation of dilution.

With the delivery vehicle coming from Universal Field Robots and the downhole sensors designed and refined by IMDEX, the addition of MinePortal 3D visualisation software has accelerated IMDEX BLAST DOG for mining production, IMDEX says.

The company achieved its first commercial contract with BLAST DOG in August this year, at Iron Bridge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with the agreement providing for the staged use of up to three units together with associated products, software, data analysis, reporting and support.

Six commercial prototype trials are planned for the 2023 financial year under the first phase of BLAST DOG development.

IMDEX concluded: “The BLAST DOG technology will continue to evolve, with new answer products, novel and democratised modelling and visual outputs being developed along with expansion to other commodities and geographies and eventually to underground applications.”

IMDEX sets BLASTDOG drill and blast tech on commercial course

IMDEX has announced what it says is a “major milestone” for its BLASTDOG™ drill and blast technology.

IMDEX BLASTDOG is a semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blasthole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine and is commodity agnostic, according to the company. It has been developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots and tested at mines in Queensland, Western Australia, Chile and Nevada (USA).

At an industry event today, IMDEX said BLASTDOG would move from engineering development to commercial prototype by the end of the year.

Progress was outlined to representatives from development partners from METS Ignited, as well as other mining sector executives.

IMDEX said there is already strong industry interest in BLASTDOG because of its capacity to deliver reliable, real-time data that will enable critical mine planning decisions to be made earlier, introducing greater efficiencies throughout the mining value chain.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said no other technology had the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes, including enhancing productivity.

“It has the capacity to improve productivity, efficiency, and safety and is part of IMDEX’s internet of geosensing initiative, and will significantly increase mine to mill efficiency,” House said. “Moving to a commercial prototype is a significant development. We will work with prospective clients to ensure that when it is released IMDEX BLASTDOG will deliver the results, efficiencies, and safety that will be its trademark.”

Among the benefits of IMDEX BLASTDOG outlined by the company are the ability to:

  • Improve fragmentation;
  • Improve material and grade control;
  • Reduce geotechnical risk;
  • Reduce adverse vibrations;
  • Define ore boundaries and prevent ore waste;
  • Indicate reactive ground; and
  • Reduce fume, fly rock and vibration

IMDEX, UFR win plaudits for Blast DOG deployment at Anglo’s Dawson mine

IMDEX’s Blast DOG™ technology is gaining recognition, with the drill and blast innovation winning a Queensland mining award last week.

IMDEX Blast DOG, being developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots (UFR) and tested at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine in Queensland, won the Greyhound Innovation (METS) Award at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards.

A semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blast hole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine, IMDEX Blast DOG™ is commodity agnostic. It is a semi-autonomous system that helps optimise blasting based on high-resolution three-dimensional material models built from sensor data. It is aimed at helping miners get predictable fragmentation and determine ore and waste boundaries, and control vibration, dust, fumes and heave, the company says.

“No other technology has the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes including enhancing productivity,” IMDEX said.

The judges said UFR and IMDEX conquered the challenge of logging blast holes, while removing operators from harm’s way.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said: “To be the winner among such esteemed competition is a testament to the team and our collaboration partners, Universal Field Robots, Anglo American, Teck Resources Ltd and Orica, supported by METS Ignited.

“IMDEX has a passion to provide the mining industry with purpose-built solutions. IMDEX Blast DOG is no exception and we are investing heavily in solutions that provide significant benefit to our customers.”

The IMDEX Blast DOG solution moved from concept to prototype in just four months which provided the platform and justification to develop a commercial version, IMDEX says.

The innovation category was hotly debated, with judges looking at all five finalists as addressing the industry’s big issues. This included Emesent’s Hovermap drone payload for “mapping the inaccessible”, Polymathian – “Transforming Mining Value Chains with Industrial Mathematics”, Redeye Apps – “Optimising O&M Inspections – The Redeye Digital Twin” and Sedgman – “SMART Condition Monitoring”.