Know the Rock: How advanced blasthole drilling sensors and cloud computing can transform your orebody knowledge


Steven Putt, DataCloud

Seismic While Drilling (SWD) is a newly developed technology in the mining industry. Improving upon Measurement While Drilling (MWD) systems, SWD measures mechanical properties of the rock at incremental depths down a blast hole at a much higher resolution. SWD is also immune to common failures and inconsistencies of MWD such as operator and drill specific variation. Seismic While Drilling records the velocity and elastic modulus of the rock with centimeter accuracy in real-time. These properties measured while drilling blastholes are then used as a proxy for density which can be used for the following purposes: High resolution geologic modeling 3D ore control Drill and blast optimization Drill to mill tracking One of the distinct challenges with SWD systems is the sheer volume of information acquired. With thousands of measurements per blasthole, the data can be overwhelming for even an experienced engineer. To overcome this complex challenge, the latest cloud computing and analytics models have been simplifying and organizing the data. These newer technologies can amplify an engineer’s capability by delivering actionable insights into their drilling and blasting workflows. The paper presents new results from Datacloud during recent Seismic While Drilling trials in iron ore, metallurgical coal, and hard rock mines around the world. The measurements are compared with wireline geophysical logs, core data, drill cuttings, and conventional measurement while drilling (MWD) systems to validate the technology and show how the data can be used.