Proving Field Trials for the Sigra Geosteering Tool

Underground » Communications

Published: June 02Project Number: C10007

Get ReportAuthor: Ian Gray, Paul Clemence, Gary Paradise, Sean Charlton, Robert Dixon, Peter Hatherly | Sigra, CSIRO Exploration & Mining, CMTE

Geosteering is an oilfield term that refers to directional drilling guidance systems that have on board sensors to determine the rock type either being drilled or in proximity to the drilling head. Geosteering technology allows drills to follow target horizons and return information on the nature of the rocks being drilled. The inability to provide equivalent geosteering capabilities that could allow in-seam drill holes to maintain an intended trajectory within a coal seam is one of the outstanding problems in in-seam drilling. In 1996, Sigra and CMTE began a joint research project aimed at developing a tool to provide geosteering options for in-seam drilling. The tool was to provide a survey capability, drill torque, thrust and rpm measurements, and geophysical measurements of rock resistivity and the spectrum of the natural gamma radiation. It was intended that the tool could reside behind the drill bit and communicate through the drill string via existing communication systems or a cableless system that Sigra was proposing to develop.

The development of geosteering tools has proved to be far more difficult than originally expected. There have been technical issues, issues of developing tools for the intrinsically safe environment and difficulties in being able to undertake trials on drill rigs or in holes, from either the ground surface or underground. Over $1,000,000 has been expended on this project and it has only been able to deliver prototype systems which require significant further development before the ultimate goal of a seeing these tools in routine use can be achieved.

The results from various tests, however, are extremely encouraging and indicate that geosteering is achievable given appropriate commitment. Sigra has demonstrated the acquisition of rock resistivity and drill parameters - torque, pressure and thrust while drilling is underway. The expectation is that the resistivity measurements can indicate the approach of the coal seam roof or floor from the borehole. CMTE has established through the logging of in-seam and vertical boreholes, that spectrometric analysis of natural gamma radiation allows a characteristic seam profile to be monitored and that stone bands in the seam can be distinguished from the roof and floor. The ratio of the counts due to Thorium and Potassium, is particularly diagnostic and when combined with the information on the total radiation, meaningful information about the position of the hole within a seam can be achieved.

All tools have been designed and constructed in consideration of the rigours of the down-hole environment, the needs for intrinsic safety, the needs for power, modularity, down-hole processing and communications. Detailed discussions on these considerations and their implications are provided in the report.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C26061The Young’S Moduli, Poisson’S Ratios And Poroelastic Coefficients Of Coals

This report describes the measurement of coal (and rock) properties ...

C24015 Assessment Of Convergence Based Roof Support Design For Longwall Abutment Loads

The aim of Stage two of project C24015 was to develop a roof support...

C25072New Approaches To Mine Gas Analysis And Ratios

The spontaneous combustion of coal remains a hazard in underground c...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26022Real-Time Prediction Of Coal Top Through Guided Borehole Radar Wave Imaging For Open Cut Blast-Hole Drilling

Damage to the tops of coal seams caused by incorrect blast stand-off...

C26027Using An Ecotoxicological Approach To Validate The DGT Technique For The Measurement Of Bioavailable Metal Concentrations

This project builds on the opportunity identified through Project C2...

C25039Prediction Of Long-Term Salt Generation From Coal Spoils

The release of salts from spoil piles has the potential to affect su...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C250083D Flotation Of Fine Particles

In this project a process for the continuous, selective agglomeratio...

C20052Full Scale Gravity - Desliming Using Cascading REFLUX Classifiers

Considerable quantities of fine coal are disposed of as part of the ...

C26007 Revised Dustiness And DEM Test Method (Update Of AS4156.6) Part 2:Preparation

In 2015 project C23054 investigated and reviewed the Australian Stan...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C25045Stage Two - Assessment Of In Situ High-Temperature Strength Of Cokes

Stage I of this project established a reliable and repeatable proces...

C27003Review Of ACARP Research To Support Marketing Of Australian Thermal Coal

In this project, researchers pinpointed issues relating to the use o...

C25044Trace Elements In Coal; Status Of Test Methods In Use And Their Applicability


The key objectives of this stage...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C27008Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids

The connection of a ventilation air methane (VAM) abatement plant di...

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement - Phase 3

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook