Better orebody understanding with Blast Dog from Imdex

The Imdex Blast Dog at work in Chile. Credit: Imdex Limited

In a presentation to the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney, Australia, earlier this month, Dave Lawie of Imdex introduced the Blast Dog 0 new technology that provides unrivalled pre-blast orebody knowledge and a 3D view into the bench.

Blast Dog was developed to provide near real-time blast hole physicals and orebody knowledge. The value of this knowledge is in the power of integrated data, enabling experts to make informed decisions that affect each stage of the mining value chain.

“Reliable orebody knowledge is central to good mine planning. It provides the data that allows for informed decision making that delivers savings throughout the mining life cycle,” Lawie said. 

The Blast Dog sensor is mounted on a tracked robotic platform with semi-autonomous hole positioning and alignment capability, working over variable terrain and bench conditions.

Directly and rapidly measuring the orebody via blast holes reveals what the ore reserve looks like in the ground, at a high resolution, and immediately prior to its extraction, providing mining companies with “insurance” data that protects people, heritage, equipment, and neighbouring communities.

The data has the potential to be used to develop programs which could improve safety, mine planning, blast design, fragmentation, reduce fume, fly rock, vibration, air-blast and dust, and improve material assignment post blast.

Imarc introduced the idea that spatial factors are among the activity drivers in mining, confirming that the identification and focus on orebody knowledge is correct. But at the time there was no Internet of geosensing system able to deliver the right information

“The reference to spatial factors is really the Internet of Geosensing. IoG is an orebody knowledge system, and that’s what Blast Dog delivers,” Lawie said.

The reduction or management of variation alone creates value, with the characterisation of waste as important as the identification of the target metals or minerals. This creates the opportunity for better segregation of ore from waste during mining, and therefore grade optimization as well as maximizing ore recovery and minimizing dilution.

With the delivery vehicle coming from Universal Field Robots and the downhole sensors designed and refined by Imdex, and the addition of MinePortal 3D visualization software, Imdex Blast Dog is ready for mining production.

Imdex achieved the first commercial contract with Blast Dog in August this year, at Iron Bridge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The agreement provides for the staged use of up to three Blast Dog units together with associated products, software, data analysis, reporting, and support.

Six commercial prototype trials are planned for next year under the first phase of Blast Dog development.

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