From rig to office: Driving seamless connectivity in exploration and mining

By: Philippine Resources May 30, 2019

Amidst a period of rapid technological change in the mining and exploration sector, Mining Equipment, Technology and services (METS) company IMDEX has established itself as a global technology leader within this space with its two leading brands AMC and REFLEX.

As the amount of data being produced increases exponentially, mining companies must determine what information is relevant and how it can be best interpreted. To assist rather than overwhelm clients, IMDEX’s tools and software packages are fully integrated, to allow for rapid interpretation and analysis.

“We want people to acquire as much information as they can while the drilling is happening, or immediately afterwards, whilst remembering the most important thing is that our tools can’t impact drilling productivity,” IMDEX General Manager Product Development, Michelle Carey, says.

No product better reflects IMDEX’s pursuit of seamless integration than its cloud-based IMDEXHUB-IQ™ software.

IMDEXHUB-IQ™ provides a complete software-as-a-service solution for the collection, storage and reporting of critical data from the field. The analytics within IMDEXHUB-IQ™ converts the significant amount of data collected by IMDEX’s instruments into relevant information, which can be accessed by geologists or exploration managers anywhere and at any time.

“It is about accurate information, not just data collection,” she says. “There has always been a love/hate relationship between the geologist and the driller but IMDEXHUB-IQ™ is a tool that can help them communicate clearly with each other,” added Carey.

“This paperless system eliminates human error and associated inefficiencies from the workflow. With access to survey and in-field rock property data in real-time, decisions can be made while the rig remains operational on site.”

The ability to make decisions based on live data is becoming imperative to miners and explorers, a trend IMDEX has been keen to incorporate into IMDEXHUB-IQ™.

The power of IMDEXHUB-IQ™ is growing as users extract ever more data from IMDEX’s wide-ranging suite of down-hole instruments and tools. The Company has released a series of new products in recent years with tools such as the REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™, REFLEX GYRO SPRINT-IQ™ and the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™ already being widely adopted in the industry.

The REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™ is a hand-held structural logging device, which simply runs along the orientation line on diamond core. Depth is recorded at all times and structural measurements taken at a press of a button.

“The idea of taking days or even weeks to collect and interpret structural geology data just isn’t feasible anymore,” Carey says. “We wanted to provide a tool which could speed up the structural logging process and give structural geologists accurate data. We think it will encourage people to want to acquire more oriented drill core to get structural information as soon as possible.”

Filminera Resources have been one of the early adopters of IMDEX’s technologies, utilising the REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™ at the Masbate Mine.

Danny Tondoc, Exploration Manager at Filminera Resources commented, “The REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™ has been fantastic in improving our geotechnical logging. We have minimized the risk of human error as the REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™ has simplified and digitised our geotechnical logging workflow. It is simple to use, highly accurate and has allowed us to save many hours of logging core. The REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™ has greatly speeded up our geotech logging operation and increased our logging accuracy.”

It is a similar situation with IMDEX’s fleet of down-hole navigation solutions. The Company has been at the forefront of downhole navigation tools for four decades and continues to develop instruments which provide accurate, reliable information in all ground conditions, including both magnetic and non-magnetic ground. Its latest product releases are driller-operable, eliminating the need for additional costs of third-party gyro services providers and technicians.

“Down-hole surveying has been a very core part of the business historically,” Carey says.

“We have developed new north seeking gyro technology [such as the REFLEX GYRO SPRINT-IQ™] as the industry is moving away from magnetic based technology and we want to say to clients whatever survey tool you need, we have the solution. And whatever tool you choose we wrap it in our solution.

“Our downhole navigation solution has delivered demonstrable productivity benefits and increased accuracy, giving the geologist continual trace of holes and more accurate data which can then be moved through IMDEXHUB-IQ™,” Carey says.

For rig alignment, the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™ is a highly accurate driller-operable tool which minimises downtime and saves costs in surface and underground operations. The REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™ takes approximately 10 minutes to complete self-calibration and within minutes a drill rig can then be aligned to the correct azimuth and dip. Direct data communication with the secure, cloud-based IMDEXHUB-IQ™ allows efficient drill program management in near real time, from anywhere.

A Senior Geologist at a major Philippines gold mining operation commented, “Setting up and orienting a drill rig underground has always been a challenge for us, with the need to set up survey stations on each drill platform and align the rig by eye. We need to turnover drill results as fast as possible, so reducing rig down time is key.

“Ever since we started using the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™, rig setup time has reduced considerably, and we have much more confidence in our rig orientation. Knowing the drill hole is going where we intend it to, right from the start gives us the assurance that we will be hitting our targets.”

With the culmination of REFLEX’s easy-to-use, reliable and accurate tools communicating with IMDEXHUB-IQ™, the IMDEX solution is becoming an invaluable way to manage data between the office and the rig. Further integration with third-party software providers such as Seequent’s Central platform means the possibilities are limitless.

“We think we know what geologists need and the uptake has been really good, but we recognise how long it takes technology to be fully embraced, not just taken up by the early adopters,” Michelle Carey says.

“We are taking these solutions to companies as best practice and I think you’ll see much wider adoption in coming years.

“For the last 4-5 years we have been building the plumbing, now we can put the platform on top.”

With the principal goal to deliver easy-to-use, reliable and accurate solutions for drillers and mining companies, IMDEX offers the full spectrum of subsurface solutions covering the areas of down-hole navigation, drilling optimisation, driller operable geophysics, in-field geoanalysis and structural geology.

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