2020 Q1 HIGHLIGHTS:
COIL TUBE RIG RETURNS TO UNISA IN PREPARATION FOR NDI START UP
A RoXplorer® Coiled Tubing drill rig and equipment required to build a truck-mounted, integrated Hydraulic Processing System have arrived at the MinEx CRC drilling workshop at UniSA. This signals a ramp up in MinEx CRC’s drilling capability in preparation for CT drilling deployments in the National Drilling Initiative starting in 2021.
Recognising the demand for CT drilling in the National Drilling Initiative, the MinEx CRC Science Advisory Committee at its September 2019 meeting recommended that we establish a dedicated project to ensure and fast-track our CT drilling capability. In response we established MinEx CRC Project 20 which includes design and engineering of a Hydraulic Processing system (HPS) optimised for CT drilling and preparation of an existing RoXplorer® CT drill rig for operation. Three new design engineers have been hired to help with the design and build and they have commenced working on the Project..
The RoXplorer® drill rig was delivered to the workshop in January after a successful 2018 field season in Nevada. The experience of the Nevada trial has enabled our researchers to design a truck-mounted HPS to maximise the efficiency of CT drilling and consolidate fluid processing functions on a single platform. The HPS will clean, prepare and replenish drilling fluid at low-cost, rapidly, safely and in an environmentally-friendly manner. The mobile platform will enable the HPS to be moved large distances in off-road situations, set-up safely and operated efficiently in the field by one person. The 8x8 truck has been purchased and arrived at the UniSA MinEx CRC workshop in March.
The delivery of Project 20 will allow deployment of CT drilling in the NDI and contribute to development of an optimised RoXplorer® system with potential for commercialisation.
REAL-TIME 3D GEOLOGICAL MODELS ONE STEP CLOSER
We have a developed a proof of concept code that automates the conversion of digital geological maps into 3D geological models.
MinEx CRC aims to deliver software that will enable exploration data to be integrated into 3D geological models in real-time, delivering timely data to inform decisions on drill holes during drilling. The prototype codes developed by Project 6 enable deconstruction of digital geological maps into discrete data that can be used as inputs to 3D geological models. These are the first steps in developing an automated process that can significantly speed up the model-building workflow whilst ensuring the reproducibility of results.
Using a series of scripts contained with the publicly available C++/python map2loop package we convert the map layers into primary data: structural dips of beds; fault and fold traces; and the stratigraphic base of each unit, which represent decimated equivalents of the source data. In addition, we can derive secondary information (apparent fault throw, interpolated bedding orientations, local formation thickness) and tertiary information (spatial and temporal topology) information needed by some modelling systems.
The software creates network diagrams showing stratigraphic relationships, and structural overprinting from which relative geological histories can be derived. Finally, we can extract information on the lithostratigraphic context of mineralisation that can help to define which elements need to be included in the 3D model.
The outputs are compatible with a range of 3D modelling software including gempy, LoopStructural and Geomodeller.
We will continue to build upon this proof of concept so that future company drilling programs, as well as the National Drilling Initiative, are able to benefit from the timely delivery of 3D geological models based on legacy and newly collected data.
NDI DATA PORTAL NOW LIVE
MinEx CRC has built a web portal to allow industry to easily access, visualise, analyse and share exploration data collected during the National Drilling Initiative.
One of the aims of MinEx CRC is to attract exploration and discovery into areas which have not yet been explored, and this will be done by MinEx drilling a number of holes in selected areas in order to provide new knowledge about the geology of these areas. This will make it easier for companies to make decisions about whether they want to explore in those areas.
The MinEx NDI portal aims to deliver National Drilling Initiative data in an efficient and accessible manner to the widest possible audience. The data are viewable on a mapping platform which includes built-in analytical tools designed to address specific stakeholder questions, turning drilling data collected by the NDI into knowledge . As the portal evolves new analytical tools will be added to provide greater functionality. In addition data can be selected interactively and downloaded for export to other software packages.
A beta version of the MinEx CRC NDI portal has been released and can be accessed via any modern web browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox) here.
Access to reliable, accurate geoscience information is critical for exploration companies in their decision-making about where to invest, and the MinEx CRC Portal will make it easy for companies to evaluate new opportunities in areas where the National Drilling Initiative conducts drilling campaigns. This will result in increased exploration expenditure and discoveries in Australia.