Novamera, with the help of Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s (“MUN”), created Sustainable Mining by Drilling, a viable solution to address mining steeply dipping narrow vein deposits by augmenting existing directional drilling equipment and ground penetrating radar technology with innovative improvements geared toward the mining environment.
The unique drilling system combines high resolution subsurface imaging and directional drilling in a two-pass process that identifies the physical shape of the vein and is highly flexible to changes in vein geometry. The initial pass uses a diamond drill to create a pilot hole that is guided by the near borehole imaging tool (“NBIT”). The NBIT tool performs downhole surveys at regular intervals to measure hole trajectory and distance from the hanging wall and foot wall. The second pass utilizes large diameter (0.5m to 3.0m) hole opening equipment to excavate the vein out to its full thickness. The cuttings are transported to surface using low energy reverse circulation air lift assist methods.