Project 3: Real-time Downhole Assay
- Steve Tassios (CSIRO)
- Jessica Stromberg (CSIRO)
- Neil Francis (CSIRO)
- Caroline Tiddy (UniSA)
- Ben van der Hoek (UniSA).
1 January 2019 - 31 December 2021
- University of South Australia
• Anglo American
• South 32
Project 3 aims to deliver a downhole assay technique that will provide rapid results, remove the reliance on representative cuttings return, will have a small surface footprint and will be cheap to operate. The sensor (or sensors) will be either driller deployable or incorporated in an automated drilling process and will enable informed decisions to be made whilst drilling campaign is ongoing. The tool will be deployed and tested through the National Drilling Initiative.
Phase 1 Objectives:
- Conduct a state-of-the-art review of existing and ‘blue-sky’ technologies that have the potential for near real-time downhole assay, particularly for low-level Au, and develop a near real-time downhole assay roadmap.
- Complete a due diligence study that will help to understand freedom-to-operate in the downhole sensing technologies space.
- Develop a prototype downhole assay analyser for a suite of chemical elements, including Au. CSIRO has previously identified laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) as a potential candidate for a downhole analyser. LIBS is a powerful and flexible analytical technique that requires little to no sample preparation and has potential to deliver elemental concentrations in real-time measurements downhole. The challenge for downhole LIBS is to adapt the technique to measurements on a moving, uneven, and wet surface in a hot, high pressure, turbid and vibrating environment. During Phase 1, we will build a bench top prototype which we will subject to a range of tests designed to mimic the down hole operating environment.