Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd, formerly Coffey Partners International Pty Ltd, has signed an exclusive agreement with USA-based NSA Engineering to act as its licensee and agent in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
While previous attempts to expand the use of NSA's unique Rockvision ground and strata monitoring technology in Australia have seen the product tested at both coal and hard-rock mines, Coffey's initial focus will be on the underground coal industry. In a press statement released this week, the company said as a leading geotechnical engineering company with strong expertise in the mining and civil engineering fields, it was well positioned to assist Australian coal mines to improve their production performance, safely, with the aid of advanced new technologies such as the NSA products.
Coffey described NSA as a high technology company specialising in geophysical imaging, mine design and operation, and geotechnical engineering. In 1996, it acquired the proprietary rights to software under development at the US Bureau of Mines, which it continued to developed.
Coffey said its alliance with NSA allowed it to provide a range of technologies and services to the Australian coal mining industry, including:
* The Rockvision longwall system for detecting structures and geological features, and assessing the stress regimes of areas ahead of a longwall face.
* True Reflection Tomography (TRTTM), for "imaging" structures and geological features ahead of an advancing development face.
* Cross-hole Tomography, for detecting structures and determining rock properties between drill holes and "imaging" caving and subsidence characteristics.
* The Geoguard Shield Monitoring System, used to monitor the performance of longwall supports. It enables rapid detection of face weightings, periodic weighting intervals and maintenance problems.
* Other services and products include hydrofracturing, stress over-coring and Toprock, which provides rapid assessment of local stress concentrations and geological abnormalities near a face.
"The combination of the technologies with Coffey's expertise enables significant improvements in risk management and allows a data-based decision making process," Coffey said.
The company said it was using NSA technologies in major tunnelling projects in Sydney and Hong Kong, and had recently installed Geoguard at BHP Coal's Crinum mine in central Queensland.
"We see these advances as a significant step forward for our industry," the company said.