Electronic ‘ears’ guide drills into mine shaft

April 30th, 2008 - 12:59 pm ICT by admin  


Sydney, April 30 (IANS) Australian scientists have successfully used an electronic ‘ear’ to track and control a drill operating 300 metres below the earth’s surface. The successful trial has demonstrated that use of ‘microseismics’ can potentially cut down costs and improve drilling process for exploration and mining.

The trial was carried out at a coalfield test site in Queensland as part of a programme to develop and exploit coal seam gas.

Normally in coal seam drilling for gas, a vertical production well in the subsurface is linked to another borehole that has been drilled through the main seam where the gas is generated and channelled.

The challenge is that when using current methods to try to connect a sub-horizontal borehole to the vertical production borehole, the bit often misses the target.

The solution was to use seismic monitoring to identify the location of the drill bit from the noise it generated while drilling, reports Sciencealert.

A new technology that contributes to reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of drilling could produce major benefits for the industry, according to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

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