Mining3, in partnership with global drilling tools specialist Robit and CSIRO, has taken up the challenge to develop an underground percussive drillhole deviation measurement tool.The new system, dubbed as U-sense, is an upgrade of Robit’s S-sense technology (pictured) licensed from Mining3’s Automated String Positioning System. The S-sense system measures the straightness of surface production holes bored by a percussive drilling process and is commercially available for purchase by Robit. U-sense will extend the technology to longhole underground percussive drilling with water flushing.As Mining 3 Technology Leader Dr Sevda Dekhoda says: “Drilling is one of the critical elements in the process of rock breakage. The location (including length and orientation), explosives charge, and detonation sequence of blastholes are strategically selected to produce the most efficient and optimal rock fragmentation.“The consequences of deviation in drillhole trajectories from the designed pattern include build-ups, hang-ups and poor rock fragmentation, and will normally lead to extra drilling, loss of drill strings, ore dilution, ore loss, increased explosive consumption, time wastage, and delays in the chain of production operations. Hence, the impact of blasthole deviations can be felt throughout the production cycle, excavating, hauling, and mineral processing.”This is where U-sense, which is an easy to use capsule that sits within an adapter between the percussive drill bit and drilling tube, comes in handy. It measures the trajectories of the drilled borehole as the bit is retrieved from the hole, then communicates the information with a receiver system mounted on the drilling mast.The measurement module is on standby during the percussive drilling process and commences measurement once the drilling is complete.As the unit is pulled out of the hole, the sensors record inertial information for processing with onboard proprietary algorithms. Once the tool is completely out of the hole, the data are transferred wirelessly for presentation on a cockpit tablet. The plot of actual borehole trajectory information – with respect to the planned orientation – allows the decisionmakers to drill a remedy blast hole or revise the blast design.“Early access to drillhole trajectory information can have a huge impact on reducing mining costs of freezing stopes, creating large oversize, and under-break or over-break caused by blasthole deviation,” Dekhoda said.“In addition, data from the testing unit will be used to develop decision support systems for determining the best way for a production team to modify the pattern if excessive deviation is detected. The availability of hole deviation data – on every blasthole – will enable further research into optimisation of blast designs for different rock mass conditions.”The project Mining3, Robit and CSIRO are working on has two main phases to develop:A validated pre-commercial test unit;Next generation upgrade and testing of the unit through various case studies.Mining3 expects the unit will be available for priority clients (sponsors) in 12 months and can be purchased through Robit.
Eurasian Resources Group says it will pilot a blockchain-based solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform at its Metalkol RTR operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain.Metalkol RTR is ERG’s hydrometallurgical plant in the DRC and has a target capacity of 24,000 t/y of cobalt.ERG said: “While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery sector, their extraction may come at high cost for the surrounding ecosystem, including the use of child labour and pollution which is compounded by the current dearth of viable reuse and recycling systems. The blockchain-based solution helps to ensure that the material is traceable.”The blockchain supports ERG’s Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR, a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations, which is nearing operation, according to ERG.Niels de Jongh, Executive Partner IBM Global Business Services, said: “ERG’s initiative to implement a blockchain solution to bring together stakeholders across the cobalt supply chain can help transform entire business processes in the mining industry and help bring new levels of trust. Leveraging IBM’s digital capabilities enables parties to develop the solution through an interactive approach with clear business focus.”Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said: “This blockchain-based solution will aim to enable manufacturers to confirm that the cobalt was sourced at Metalkol RTR by aggregating the necessary data and information on the raw material.”Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will allow individuals to track the origins of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it’s been to a smelter and blended, and reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.Sobotka added: “As a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, ERG aims to create new standards in the industry. We are therefore pleased to be piloting this innovative blockchain-based solution on the IBM platform. This way we can guarantee with certainty that the material that customers buy is not tainted by artisanally-produced material.”Last week, MineHub Technologies and IBM announced a collaboration to use blockchain technology to help improve operational efficiencies, logistics and financing and reduce costs in the high-value mineral concentrates supply chain — from mine to end buyer. Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners and Wheaton Precious Metals are working with MineHub to build the new mining supply chain solution on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform.