Fibre optic research to make resource extraction safer

Researchers from Curtin University in Western Australia are working on technology that will improve the safety of resource extraction in the mining industry.

Based off broadband fibre optic acoustic sensing technology, Curtin will aim to produce a suite of passive and active geophysical data acquisition and analysis techniques that will evolve the mining blueprint.

If viable, the technology will not only provide mining operations a safer solution for resource extraction, but also a more affordable alternative for geophysical characterisation.

Curtin University deputy vice-chancellor and research professor Chris Moran said the research project was an important step for Australia’s continued advances in technology.

“Despite Australia’s leading role in the deployment and application of fibre optic sensing for research, the current uptake of this technology in the Australian industry lags behind world leaders such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom,” Moran said.

“Demonstrating the benefits of fibre optic technology in Australian conditions in co-operation with our major oil and gas producers will help accelerate the uptake of this technology in the sector, as well as the wider mining and environmental monitoring industries.”

According to Curtin’s WA School of Mines professor Roman Pevzner, the technology will implement inspired geophysical procedures, rethinking and reimagining the resource extraction process altogether.

“Our Curtin team has developed, patented and commercialised a forced-oscillation stress-strain method and equipment for measuring different properties of rocks at seismic and sub-seismic frequencies,” Pevzner said.

“As part of this new project, we will integrate fibre optic sensing technology into our apparatus with the ultimate aim of delivering cost-saving and safer resource extraction processes to Australia’s critically important resources sector.”

With the assistance of the Federal Government’s Global Innovation Linkages Program, Curtin will also work with CSIRO, Santos, Woodside and global leaders in seismology and fibre-optic sensing to create the technology. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *