CSIRO unveils new Lab-at-Rig technology for mining industry

29 September 2015 (Last Updated September 29th, 2015 18:30)

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has teamed-up with Imdex and Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas, as part of the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC), to introduce new technology for miners.

drill hole fluid

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has teamed-up with Imdex and Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas, as part of the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC), to introduce new technology for miners.

The new Lab-at-Rig technology enables analysis of chemistry and mineralogy of rocks found within a drill hole within a short space of time after drilling.

CSIRO Lab-at-Rig futures project leader Dr Yulia Uvarova said: "Lab-at-Rig is an important breakthrough for the industry because of the potentially massive cost savings in drilling, exploration and overall mining operations.

"If mining or exploration companies have real-time information about the mineralogy and chemistry in the drillhole, they can efficiently plan what to do next; whether that is to drill deeper, drill further holes, try elsewhere or to stop."

Offering the relevant sampling methods and quality control current processes use, the technology features automated analysis of mineralogy of drill-hole cuttings directly from the drill site.

Fitted to a diamond drill rig and Imdex's AMC Solids Removal Unit, the system includes a sample preparation unit that collects solids from drill cuttings and dries them.

It also comes with Olympus X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction sensors to provide chemistry and mineralogy of the sample respectively.

"Lab-at-Rig is an important breakthrough for the industry because of the potentially massive cost savings in drilling, exploration and overall mining operations."

Lab-at-Rig offers a one-hour cycle for the complete process, which involves setting up the drill sites, drill, extract, sample and log the drill cores, send to a lab for analysis, and provide information back to the company at the end.

The technology can also offer sampling methods and quality control features that are available in current processes in the segment.

CSIRO Discovering Australia's Mineral Resources Program director Dr Rob Hough said: "The way that Imdex, Olympus and CSIRO have worked together on this through the Deep Exploration Technologies CRC has been crucial and critical to delivering this world-class technology in such a short timeframe."

CSIRO, Imdex, Olympus, University of Adelaide and Curtin University are working on the $11m collaborative DET CRC Lab-at-Rig Futures Project.

Global game changing technologies provider Reflex will serve as the commercialisation partner for the technology.

The technology will be integrated with Reflex solutions such as the secure, cloud based REFLEXHUB-IQ.


Image: Lab-at-Rig technology arose out of an idea to analyse on-site the solid matter in fluids that come to the surface during drilling. Photo: courtesy of CSIRO.