Aiming for real-time mining

PRESS RELEASE: Sonic drilling specialist Eijkelkamp SonicSampDrill conducts tests for the Real-Time Mining project
Aiming for real-time mining Aiming for real-time mining Aiming for real-time mining Aiming for real-time mining Aiming for real-time mining

Photo: RWTH Aachen University

Staff reporter

The aim of Real-Time Mining, a project that has been awarded funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is to develop a real-time framework to decrease environmental impact and increase resource efficiency in the raw material extraction industry.

The key concept of the research conducted is to promote a paradigm shift from discontinuous to a continuous process-monitoring and quality-management system in highly selective mining operations.

The impact of the project will be achieved through improvements in process efficiency and resource utilisation. These will increase energy efficiency and facilitate significant improvements in the environmental performance of mining operations by reducing the emissions and waste generated. It is considered that deposits that are currently thought as economically marginal or difficult to access could become viable.

As part of this, Eijkelkamp SonicSampDrill is investigating if you can determine the compressive and tensile strength of rock from ‘Monitoring While Drilling’ data. Tests done in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies of the RWTH Aachen University in Germany proved that you can pick up information with an ‘Acoustic Emission Sensor’ from high-frequency vibrations. The theory is that by picking up on these high-frequency vibrations, users can measure the origination of small fractures inside the rock. 

As part of the testing, the company mounted the Acoustic Emission Sensor on one of its CRS-T masts and drilled trough granite, concrete and clay. The resulting data clearly showed different patterns. The aim is to be able to pick up on the transitions from different layers or fractures.