Funding fast tracks drilling technology

DEVELOPMENT of high speed cross panel drilling technology used in underground mine gas drainage has been fast tracked following this week’s commitment by the Queensland government to provide $450,000 funding to the Cooperative Research Centre for Mining (CRCMining).
Funding fast tracks drilling technology Funding fast tracks drilling technology Funding fast tracks drilling technology Funding fast tracks drilling technology Funding fast tracks drilling technology

CRCMining's Tim Meyer explains the high speed cross panel drilling technology. Courtesy Chris Stacey, The University of Queensland.

Angie Tomlinson

State Development and Innovation minister Tom McGrady presented a cheque for $150,000 to CRCMining on Wednesday as part of a $450,000 commitment from the government’s CRC Development Grants Scheme.

High speed cross panel drilling technology (HSXP), similar technology to CRCMining’s already successful Tight Radius Drilling, uses pure water jet drilling technology.

“There is no mechanical cutting action, all cutting is done by water jets which also propel the tool along the hole,” CRC’s Step Change Mining Technologies program leader Tim Meyer said.

Meyer said the technology offered a safer, faster and cheaper alternative to current drainage drilling techniques.

“This technology will contribute to a commercially viable, environmentally friendly energy source. Methane trapped in Queensland’s coal deposits could satisfy a significant portion of the state’s energy needs in the medium term,” he said.

For industry, as well as making gas drainage a safer process, there are potentially enormous economic benefits.

“Methane and other gases must be drained from the coal before underground mining can begin, but dealing with this problem costs millions of dollars each year. HSXP technology is potentially five times faster than down-hole-motor drilling. This equates to considerable cost savings and increased productivity,” Meyer said.

“This novel innovation has the potential to significantly lower mining costs by providing a cheaper alternative to current in-seam drilling operations in Queensland mines enabling our coal producers to be more competitive in the demanding export market,” minister Tom McGrady said.

CRCMining said the new drilling system would be considerably easier and quicker to mobilise, making it an ideal system to undertake in-filling and out of the ordinary gas drainage drilling tasks.