Required Improvements in MWD for the Future of Mining

Charlie Douglas Norman Ellery

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis (University Course)

Abstract

MWD technology has tremendous potential to provide valuable information to the Mining process, and if there is going to be the realisation of the Central Control Room concept in Mining, a concept within which all mining processes feedback key data sets to a central database, thus promoting true cooperation and optimisation, relevant and reliable information from MWD technology is going to a key input. Defining the role of MWD data in the mining process must be investigated further and the value perceived in the technology, as it is today, realised within an operating environment. It is apparent that there are many limitations within current MWD systems, however as OEMs continue to develop the state of art in drilling technology, these will begin to be addressed. However, the biggest hurdle which MWD has to overcome is the definition of its role in a Mining application. Unlike Civil Engineering, which is able to employ OEM’s MWD analysis and visualisation packages as they are today, the perceived value and role in MWD data in mining will demand a coexistence between an equipment manufacturer’s software systems and a mine planning software system. An additional roadblock for MWD’s implementation is the definition of what information should be provided from the drilling equipment and fed into the mine operational planning. There is an apparent disconnect over the role of MWD data; equipment manufacturers have a thorough handle on the data that can be reported from the drilling equipment and a detailed understanding of the relationships between drilling parameters, mine software developers are able to provide information on the interfacing required to make MWD data seamless, and the mining companies understand what information is pertinent to their operations. There must be a collaboration between these three groups to develop one system that is as universally applicable as possible. Given information is already available, we are already seeing that MWD data is already being made use of by customers who are open to engaging these technologies within their operations. From what we have seen, and through discussions with various industry representatives, the real value is in the volume of data that MWD can provide which infers a certain precision in its results, and not in its accuracy. Given the drilling process is an inherent unit operation in any mining applications, be it in Underground, Surface, development or production drilling, these particular customers are of the mindset that any additional value that can be introduced from this process is a win. Applications we currently witness are in the optimisation of the drill and blast, and its impact upon downstream unit operations. This is being achieved through taking more of a holistic view of the data obtained and monitoring for trends, for example commonly monitored is the fluctuation in penetration rate. At this high level, any practical implementation of operational measures to optimise the drill and blast process are more achievable. It can allow for determining which drill pattern is most suitable for the particular region in the mine, or whether a slightly reduced / increased powder factor should be employed across the bench / face. MWD’s implementation in this operational capacity can start to be leveraged now with more official involvement from an equipment manufacturer such as Sandvik.
Translated title of the contributionRequired Improvements in MWD for the Future of Mining
Original languageEnglish
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Moser, Peter, Supervisor (internal)
Award date23 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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