Project 1: Drilling Optimisation


Soren Soe (UniSA)


Masood Mostofi (Curtin University)

Key Researchers:

  • Thomas Richard (Curtin University)
  • Andrew Wurst (Curtin University)
  • Hongyang Zhang (Curtin University)
  • Yevhen Kovalyshen (CSIRO)
  • Alton Grabsch (CSIRO)
  • Daniel Wurst (UniSA).


Phase 2:
1 January 2022  31 December 2024

Cash Funding:


Project Participants:

Research Participants:

  • Curtin University
  • University of South Australia

Industry Participants:

  • BHP
  • Geotec Boyles
  • Imdex
  • McKay
  • Sandvik
  • South 32

Project Summary:

This project focuses on drilling optimisation and automation for both diamond drilling and reverse circulation drilling.

Our overall strategy is to improve and optimize drilling performance by: (i) real-time automation and (ii) post-mortem semi-automatic review.

  • Real-time automation means that stand-alone algorithms monitor performance and control operating parameters when drilling on-bottom.
  • Post-mortem review uses learnings from multiple sources (different wells, drilling as well as wireline or core data) to improve the design of subsequent drilling operations.

Real-time automation relies on (i) tailored instrumentation and recording systems (monitor) that allow for sampling rates and resolution not common in mineral drilling and (ii) advanced signal processing methods to filter and pre-process the data in real time, and (iii) automation principles. Reliable optimisation/automation also requires efficient real time algorithms and robust engineering models of the drilling processes to analyse the data, recommendation optimised drilling parameters and output commands.

We employ a two-pronged approach to build robust engineering models and test real time algorithms. The first is state-of-the-art laboratory experiments to capture drilling processes such as bit-rock interactions, fluid rheology, and air/water/cutting transport. The second is field trials where - with the support of our industry partners – we can test our monitoring system, interpretation algorithms, drilling procedures and eventually automation units.


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