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Project Overview

Project Number
Total Grant Value
MRIWA Contribution
Project Theme
Detection Technology
Project Period
2022 - 2025

The Challenge

Drilling is a vital component of modern mineral exploration, providing physical samples of rock to allow geologists to define and test potentially mineralised features buried beneath the weathered surface. Deploying and operating current drilling technology in remote and sensitive landscapes is both expensive and resource intensive, and as explorers push deeper in search of the next generation of mineral discoveries these costs risk becoming unsustainable.

Proposed Solution

Coiled tubing (CT) drilling systems offer a range of efficiencies in comparison to the state-of-the-art technology used in mineral exploration, including faster penetration, reduced operational hazards for drill crew, lower fuel use, and reduced environmental footprint. CT drilling is an established technology used in large-bore deep drilling for the petroleum industry, and prior work in MRIWA Project M0509a has established its viability in a portable, low-footprint system suited for mineral exploration drilling and capable of penetrating to 500m depth. This project seeks to develop a second-generation CT platform capable of drilling to 1,000m, and demonstrate its benchmark performance to establish a value proposition for commercialisation of the technology.

Proposed Benefits to WA

Cheaper drilling with a lower environmental footprint will be an important enabling technology for future mineral exploration in Western Australia, where many of the most exciting exploration targets are expected to lie below cover in areas where the State’s proven and richly-endowed mineral provinces plunge beneath more recent layers of rock. Development of this next generation drilling system in WA could also support growth of innovative local METS providers delivering the new technology to the mining industry.

Keywords: Mineral exploration; coiled tubing; drilling; CT drilling

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Page was last reviewed 30 June 2023

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