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The challenge

Lowering the cost of exploration and evaluation drilling

BHP uses drilling to predict the characteristics of orebodies.

Traditionally, rock core samples are collected using a technique known as diamond drilling (the drill bit is encrusted with diamonds) and these cores are logged, with selected samples being sent to a laboratory for analysis.

In an effort to reduce costs of their exploration program, BHP wanted to eliminate the need to drill expensive diamond core drillholes for evaluation purposes.

Our response

Fast results in real time

We collaborated with BHP and technology developer Sodern to develop FastGrade, a downhole tool for real-time elemental analysis.

Our FastGrade technology is an industry gamechanger.

The tool generates neutrons sending them deeply into the rock surrounding a drillhole for collecting and logging elemental distributions.

This allows ore deposits to be characterised on-the-spot in real time, providing efficient and reliable data on element concentrations.

It's suitable for mineral and coal commodities.

The results

Millions of dollars saved

BHP is using our downhole neutron logging tool in resource evaluation holes at their sites around Newman, Western Australia.

The tool saved BHP more than US$10 million in the 2014/15 financial year.

It's a powerful tool available to industry to complement other drillhole logging methods.

It's most suitable for determining resource grade and delineating the local extent of mineralisation before detailed mine planning takes place.

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