Mining engineers use a wide variety of mining techniques to safely and efficiently extract or harvest valuable geological material, such as coal, gas, precious stones, and metallic minerals from underneath. Conducting mining operations in an environmentally-friendly manner remains a real challenge for these engineers, but new mining technologies are helping get the job done in a more eco-conscious way.
One such technology is directional drilling. Also referred to as slant drilling, directional drilling is a minimal trenchless method of installing pipes to reach and extract the natural reserves underneath at a non-vertical angle, including horizontally.
What makes directional drilling cutting-edge technology for use in mining operations? Read on to discover the benefits it brings to the mining industry.
Minimal Impact on Land and the Natural Environment
One of the top reasons mining engineers are turning to directional drilling is because it reduces the impact on land and the natural environment from traditional drilling methods that involve major excavations.
During the planning stage of a mining project, a pre-set path leading to a target reservoir is identified. This allows for drilling to be done at an angle other than vertical, causing little to no disturbance to the land and the natural environment. This contributes to continued land use and environmental protection.
Cost-Effective Drilling Technique
Since directional drilling eliminates the need for major excavation on-site, it reduces operating costs considerably. Because there is no major interference with the land and other physical features, no expensive clean-up and site remediation is required after completion of mining activities.
Increased Resource Recovery
Because directional drilling allows miners to focus on specific areas underneath the land where there is resource abundance, it's possible to maximise output from mining operations with less effort and energy.
Improved Site Safety
Major excavations can make mining sites major safety hazards for workers. While directional drilling also has inherent risks such as striking underground power lines, it's a much safer method of resource extraction than traditional digging.
Before commencing work on a project, mining engineers usually study the predetermined path to be used to access underground natural reserves to ensure potential safety hazards are avoided.
As you can see, directional drilling offers real benefits to mining engineers. It helps to improve the safety and efficiency of mining operations and also helps minimise environmental impact from such operations. If you want to find out more about this newer drilling technology, talk to a mining engineering professional near you.