Plant & Equipment

Game changing digital drilling tools

The Australian Government has provided a $2.1 million grant to the three-year project being undertaken by the University of Adelaide, drilling specialist Boart Longyear and South Australian specialist software company SRA Information Technology. The three partners are investing a further $2.4 million of cash and in-kind support in the project.

The “game changing” tools will incorporate multi-sensory core scanners and sensors, plus data fusion and machine learning to enable near real time geological and structural data collection. The tech will enable automated decision-making at extractive sites globally.

Professor Stephen Grano, director of the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources, said the collaboration would lead to improved economic viability for extractive companies.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-I:2-Q:"We believe this novel technology will become industry standard.-WHO:Tim Chopping, SRA’s information technology executive manager for sales and marketing"}}“This project brings together Boart Longyear’s global expertise in geological data services, drilling services and equipment and industry knowledge, with SRA software and technical architecture know-how and the University of Adelaide’s leading research in computer vision, machine learning, geology and mineralogy,” he said.

Boart Longyear’s technology development and integration senior manager Peter Kanck said many strategic exploration decisions were made based on incomplete or poorly correlated information.

“Data and core analysis is a time-consuming, expensive process with results often not available for weeks or months, and the data is in multiple formats that isn’t easily integrated for optimum outputs,” Kanck said.

“This project will develop a commercial product that will speed up data collection, lower the costs of collecting and analysing data and increase the value of samples collected in the expensive drilling process.”

The system will use “rock fingerprinting” (ie algorithms and software to reliably fuse data) to identify rock types and features.

SRA’s information technology executive manager for sales and marketing Tim Chopping said the technology would assist both day to day and long-term mine planning.

He said combining the innovative data collection mechanisms developed at the drill site by Boart Longyear with the University of Adelaide’s machine learning, while running it all in the “cloud” in real time, provides significant efficiency gains never seen before.

“We believe this novel technology will become industry standard,” Chopping said.

Source: The Lead South Australia

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