Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) of Australia has signed an agreement with drilling services provider Boart Longyear for the commercialisation of its in-hole sensor technology AutoSonde.

AutoSonde has been developed by DET CRC participants Globaltech and Curtin University, and provides low-cost geophysical logging information.

Upon completion of drilling, the technology is lowered inside drill rods to the bottom of the hole, which is geophysically logged as the rods are pulled out of the hole.

AutoSonde can be combined with a survey tool so that geophysical information can be recovered at the same time as a routine hole orientation is performed.

"The AutoSondeTM represents a step change in the quality and amount of data the minerals industry can now capture."

DET CRC CEO professor Richard Hillis said: "The AutoSonde agreement is the first of our three key pillar technologies to be commercialised, with the other two key pillar technologies, the Coiled Tubing (CT) Drill Rig and Lab-at-Rig top-of-hole sensing, in development and showing enormous promise."

Geophysical data can be collected using the AutoSonde technology while a hole is being drilled, replacing the current method of having a specialist crew perform the process once the drill rig is finished.

"The recorded data are available within minutes of drilling and can be sent around the world for analysis. The AutoSondeTM represents a step change in the quality and amount of data the minerals industry can now capture," Hillis added.

The agreement is said to be for a total count gamma sensor with additional sensors such as magnetic susceptibility, induction and spectral gamma to be offered separately for commercialisation.

The sensor characterises various types of rock and alterations related to mineral deposits by measuring gamma radiation commonly used in mineral exploration.

Boart Longyear Products division senior vice-president Kent Hoots said: "The primary focus for the introduction of this technology will be mineral exploration, initially with diamond coring, but there will be additional opportunities for the introduction of the tool in reverse circulation and mud rotary drilling."

Globaltech and Curtin University will work with Boart Longyear in the commercial roll-out of the technology.