Top of Coal detection technology progressing towards commercialisation

Mining3 and CR Digital are pleased to announce a partnership with the next phase of development in Top of Coal technology. This announcement comes on the back of promising new results delivered from the most recent Bowen Basin trial, where the technology was tested over 12 weeks and collected downhole data from over 250+ boreholes.

Accurately detecting the approaching top of a coal seam prior to blasting is fundamental to efficient coal recovery.  During the extraction stage, a significant percentage (up to 12%) of overall coal loss is attributable to blast damage and coal dilution, which then makes it difficult to separate the coal cleanly from the waste during both overburden excavation and coal processing. By eliminating the damage done to the top of seam, substantial increases in recovery are enabled.

With support from ACARP, Mining3 has been developing a measurement while drilling (MWD) system that detects the top of a coal seam while routinely drilling blast holes.

During the drilling process, the detection system uses resistance measurements ahead of the drill bit to detect approaching coal in real-time. This method of detecting Top of Coal brings significant benefits to surface mining operations, including:

  • Providing a reliable indication of the approach to Top of Coal that will enable drilling to be stopped before touching coal or at a minimum standoff distance
  • Increase production by reducing damage to coal from blasting
  • Strata recognition and mapping during routine blast hole drilling

The system can also be retro fitted to a standard rotary air blast drill rig.

CR Digital, a leading mining technology company, and part of the global CR Group, is now working with Mining3 on the commercialisation of the technology, and the integration of the Top of Coal technology into their technology portfolio.

Together, Mining3 and CR Digital see potential for the technology to be an extension to the Thunderbird 1110 and StrataSense products within the CR Digital portfolio.  Collectively, this agnostic range can be retro fitted to any rotary air blast drill rig and is intended to build on the StrataSense capability of CR Digital, to compile a three-dimensional understanding of the bench and coal seam in real-time.

Mining3 and CR Digital thanks ACARP and its coal members for supporting the most recent trial, we look forward to continuing to work closely to develop and commercialise recent research findings.


About Mining3

Mining3 is a world-leading research organisation, directed by its global mining industry members to develop and deliver transformational technology to improve the productivity, sustainability, and safety of the mining industry. Our world-class researchers and engineers develop tangible solutions to industry-identified challenges using both fundamental and applied research, while leveraging our extensive history and acquired knowledge.

By bringing industry and research expertise together, we collaboratively accelerate the delivery of real-world solutions from our research, ensuring they are available to the market as rapidly and effectively as possible.

Mining3 Press contact:

Tel.: +61 7 3365 5640



About CR Digital

CR Digital are market leaders in mining technology solutions, field-proven to maximise productivity and performance across mining operations globally. CR Digital technology empowers a more effective operation through innovative sensing, edge computing and cloud analytics, providing real-time data to reduce dilution, improve efficiency, eliminate un-scheduled downtime and lower cost per tonne. CR Digital is the mining technology division of CR.

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