WorldWide Drilling Resource®

22 AUGUST 2020 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® Drones, Drills, and Data ~ Using Technology to Drill Better Part 3 by Jeremy Stafford, Vice President, Ideal Blasting Supply and Ravi Sahu, CEO, Strayos Over the past couple of months, we’ve covered the benefits of using drone technology with cloud-based data analytics and smart drills. Now we’ll go over some of the functions this combination of technology can perform. • GPS Drill Navigation or Hole Navigating Systems - when combined with 3D maps created from drone data, this is in- credibly powerful - the drill knows where it is (including its elevation) via GPS. It also knows exactly where the hole is planned to be drilled, and drills in the correct location (based on GPS data rather than depth - conveniently using the same metric as the quarry and the blaster - no conversions necessary). This yields incredibly accurate drill holes for burden and spacing - all with survey-grade accuracy. • Bottom of Hole Navigation - again, when combined with 3D maps created from drone data, this can be another im- pressive tool - if something is in the way, and the drill needs to move from its ideal starting point, the operator can change the angle and depth of the drill to reach the same endpoint as determined by GPS and the data analytics program. • Automatic Shot Layout - using GPS data from the drone and models from the analytics platform, the number of holes, spacing, pattern, burden, elevation, and layout can all be determined and implemented with survey-grade quality. • Autonomous/Remote Drills - using maps generated by the data analytics platform from the drone data, a drill operator can remain in the office while the drill executes the plan. • Measure While Drilling - the drill records hole placement accuracy - what was planned, versus what was actually drilled, including the bottom of the hole - as measured by the drill and calculated by the analytics program using the GPS data from the drone. Now that you know some of the functions, here are some great cases for using drones, drills, and data. Blasting - Using drones to survey and map benches saves signifi- cant time, money, and reduces risk. When uploaded to a cloud-based data analytics platform, the resulting maps and data can be accessed and manipulated by anyone on the team, from anywhere. The 3D inter- active models generated from the drone’s data, gives drill operators and blasters the ability to experiment with hole size, depth, and placement for optimal blast results. The GPS tags enable operators with a smart drill to realize a level of precision in their drilling that until now, had been only possible by the best drilling professionals in the industry. Exploratory drilling for mineral detection and mine development - Drones with hyperspectral imaging or magnetometer sensors can do fly- overs of prospective sites to look for mineral and ore deposits for future and current mines. Hyperspectral imaging sensors and magnetometers can detect lodes subsurface, GPS tags the location, and when combined with machine learning techniques, can create maps of potential deposits underground. Drill operators use the generated maps to determine where to drill for core samples to confirm models and further determine the depth and extent of a lode, and its potential for mining. This is incredibly useful not only for large, new mine sites, but also when looking for additional veins in older mines where the known lodes are already tapped. Small, previously untappable deposits, plus those in remote areas or near population centers, could find this combination helpful as well. It can even be beneficial for increasingly desperate situations in places like the European Union where centuries of mining is believed to have used up all the easily accessible deposits. “Subsurface detection of minerals and ore bodies by drones is the future,” stated Ravi Sahu, CEO of Strayos. Surveying for Geothermal System Installations - Surveying and mapping was perhaps the first, and still the most ob-vious use for drones. When planning installations for geothermal systems, for a commercial, municipal, or residential development, a drone can be used to survey the plot, collect images to create a 3D map, and then add GPS coordinates for drill crews to use in the planning and execution of a drill plan. Riding the green wave, Vancouver, Canada’s airport recently decided to switch to geothermal heat, an ambitious $350 million dollar project with more than 850 holes drilled so far. The advantages of using modern efficient planning and drilling methods, instead of old-fash- ioned ones in a project of that size, would be enormous. In conclusion, technology is improving drilling operations at an exponential rate, making drilling faster, better, and more autonomous every day. Those who incorporate technology in their operations early, stand a huge advantage over their competition, while those who delay, get left in dust. EXB Wigwam burner formerly used to burn sawdust and scrap. ~Tom Bates Subscriber Snapshot