Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment

The RoXplorer coiled tubing (CT) rig, which is a new type of drill rig developed by Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC), has been licenced to IMDEX. A prototype of the innovative rig that uses a continuous steel coil in place of individual drill rods is also undergoing final preparations for a drilling trial on a Barrick Gold exploration site in Nevada, USA.
Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment Australian mining innovation moves closer to market deployment

The RoXplorer coiled tubing rig developed by Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre

Duncan Moore

Editor

Duncan Moore

DET CRC's technology means that drilling and tripping into and out of the hole proceeds without the need to connect and disconnect rods, making drilling safer, faster and cheaper. The rig is driven by downhole (as opposed to conventional surface) motors and is smaller, has lower fuel consumption and a smaller footprint than equivalent conventional drill rigs. Additional environmental benefits stem from its deployment with a solids removal unit meaning no sumps are dug and no drilling fluids released to the surface.

"The RoXplorer CT rig is a technology that could be disruptive to conventional drilling methods with the promise of significant productivity, safety and environmental performance. While IMDEX does not intend to enter the drill rig manufacturing or drill rig operating businesses we recognise the valuable role that our technologies could play as part of the overall CT drilling system," said Derek Loughlin, global business development director at IMDEX.

Andy Wurst, chief geoscientist, Global Project Generation and Innovation at Barrick Gold said the company was looking forward to deploying the RoXplorer coiled tubing drilling system in Nevada and trialling the capability of the revolutionary drill rig. "The RoXplorer promises to fundamentally improve drilling safety and efficiency and change the very way the industry approaches minerals exploration, which could in effect increase mineral deposit discovery rates, globally. We're excited to put it through its paces in a real-world exploration scenario in Nevada, and are working with IMDEX to bring the technology to market."

The Nevada trial will also incorporate IMDEXs Lab-at-Rig technology (licenced from DET CRC in 2015) providing real-time geochemistry from the drill cuttings.

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