2021 q3 TECHNICAL highlights


This episode features the following technical highlights:
• CT Dilling Platforms Trials Complete at Kapunda; and
•Drilling Fluid Automation System (iFluid) Deployed in the Field.

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MinEx CRC’s Coiled Tubing drilling platform, comprising the RoXplorer® CT drill rig and Hydraulic Processing System (HPS), was mobilised to Kapunda, South Australia, in August and September 2021 for field trials in collaboration with MinEx CRC Affiliate EnviroCopper.

Kapunda is the site of South Australia’s oldest profitable copper mine, first opened in the 1840s, which EnviroCopper are developing into a sustainable, low-impact in-situ copper recovery operation. There is enough historic drilling to calculate an inferred resource at Kapunda, however, EnviroCopper are exploring options for safe, environmentally friendly and low-cost alternatives for the additional drilling required to further define the resource and to enable fluid management in the proposed ISR operation.

Kapunda is one hour north of the CT drill rig’s ‘home base’ at Mawson Lakes, with excellent support facilities just minutes from the drill site, making it an ideal location for our first off-site mobilisation and drilling operation with the integrated drill rig and HPS platform
The CT platform was mobilised from Mawson Lakes to Kapunda on 30 August 2021 using a total of 4 vehicles.  The site was set up and ready to drill within three hours of arrival, occupying a space of 18 x 18 meters which was fenced for security and walled by hay-bales on one side to reduce noise disturbance to a neighbouring property. We commenced drilling on the day of arrival, in and were drilling on-site for 10 days operating in shortened day-shifts to ensure minimal disturbance to the Kapunda community. After two weeks of drilling, we spend 5 days field trailing some of the new RoXplorer sampling and logging technologies that has been in development since January 2019.

During the time at Kapunda, we were able to:

  • Collar and drill a 290m vertical hole through partially weathered to fresh basement rock, including a 6-hour shift with 88m drilled.
  • Mitigate, regain circulation and continue drilling after three lost circulation events during which circulation was lost to highly-broken fault zones.
  • Capture drill cuttings at 1m intervals over 80% of the drilled depth – with rock textures and mineralogy, including visible sulphides, suitable for visual logging.
  • Collar and drill a 50m vertical hole – designed to enable a field trial of our selective coring device – and capture material in the core barrel for the first time.
  • Deploy and test our logging while drilling SMART bottom hole assembly, integrated positioning tool (utilising Wassara technology) and prototype logging-while-drilling gamma tool (designed by the MinEx Project 4 team).
  • Deploy conventional Gamma and Gyro tools as part of the Coiled Tubing logging workflow.
  • Train and educate the second drilling crew on the new drilling, logging, and sampling systems.

The Kapunda drilling exercise has provided invaluable experience and allowed us to improve the technology and refine drilling processes, data capture and sampling workflows on-site.

Since Kapunda the CT rig and HPS have been mobilised and deployed in the Delamerian National Drilling Initiative campaign, near Karoonda ~100km east of Adelaide. Applying the learnings from Mawson Lakes and Kapunda – but in very different drilling conditions.

For the first time operating the RoXplorer system in 24/7 operation including remote Internet operation of some systems.



Phase 1 of project 1, we developed our first prototype of fluid automation system which is composed of a series of hardware, software and also mud additive, enabling drilling fluid autonomous optimisation.

We built two prototypes of our iFluid system. Our first prototype is embedded in coiled tube drilling tested during National Drilling Initiative drilling program in South Australia. Our second prototype is designed for diamond drilling operation, and is now ready for deployment in Western Australia.

Fluid automation means consistent measurement and programable adjustment fluid property suitable for drilling and hole condition.

Our automation system autonomously controls number of different actuators and pumps to continuously measure fluid property, and using an accurate control system to adjust fluid properties based on hole and drilling condition.

Our iFluid system has been tested in 12hr and 24hr operation, and established borehole stability and integrity, provided hole cleaning and sample transpiration with minimum level of contamination during more than 1200m of drilling.

While COVID19 restrictions was a hinderance at the beginning, our team converted this challenge into an opportunity to test our iFluid remote control capability and deploy our unit remotely from Perth for NDI drilling trials in SA.

We look forward to continuing the deployment of our iFluid system during the CT trials in SA and the upcoming trial our other iFluid porotype in upcoming diamond drilling trial.



Core logging will be enhanced through the power of augmented reality (AR), improving efficiency and accuracy by making all relevant sample and contextual data available to expert users via an intuitive and interactable platform.

Our AR logging platform will enable greater uptake of data services offered by the National Drilling Initiative Web Portal and National Virtual Core Library by seamlessly implementing them in the operational environments where they are most needed. It will also extract the maximum benefit from world-leading logging technologies such as HyLogger and Minalyze. This will benefit a cross-section of users from exploration companies to geological surveys, whether logging for production or for research/precompetitive data purposes.

A preliminary proof-of-concept for the AR logging platform was developed as part of MinEx Opportunity Fund project OP7 (Immersive Analytics). It was initiated based on strong interest from MinEx participants during user consultation workshops, as a means to enhance core logging tasks that are an indispensable part of the mineral exploration workflow and a critical starting point for the acquisition of high-quality precompetitive data. No equivalent AR platforms exist anywhere in the industry to the best of our knowledge, but the sector as a whole is ripe for the introduction of this kind of disruptive technology. Our AR logging platform is borne out of the critical need for advanced and intuitive methods for interacting with and analysing complex data, in order to deliver the maximum capability for extracting new insights.

We will provide an entirely new analytical and visualisation toolkit for interrogating borehole data, with the potential for a completely virtual core logging experience without the need for physical access to borehole samples, enabling synchronous or asynchronous collaborative workflows for both in-person and remote users.

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