According to The Australian Financial Review, mining giant BHP has recruited Melbourne-based tech firm Southern Innovation to help it identify the quality of iron ore in real time, with trials of a new device set to begin this year.
The companies have collaborated to develop and commercialise technology that dramatically improves the performance of radiation detectors for the mining industry, based on a complex signal-processing algorithm.
Traditionally during exploration, mining companies use drill rigs to determine how far down to mine for materials such as iron ore. The drills spurt a cloud of dust, which is captured and analysed for ore quality – a process that can take as long as six weeks.
But three years after BHP approached Southern Innovation to develop a technology to determine immediately the quality of the iron ore, or waste material, coming to the surface, the small tech company has come up with two prototypes of a device called Drillscan.
Drillscan trials will begin in about July, following initial field tests that started last August.
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