Curtin bridges gap between Australian mining and technology

Researchers from Curtin University in Western Australia have begun studying the viability of broadband fibre optic acoustic sensing technology in the Australian mining landscape.

It’s hoped the project will produce a suite of data acquisition and analysis techniques using the technology, to reduce the cost of geophysical characterisation and improve the safety of resource extraction processes.

Curtin University deputy vice-chancellor and research professor Chris Moran said Australia’s capabilities in this area of technology weren’t as complete as its ability in actual resource extraction.

“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.

The oil and gas, and environmental monitoring sectors will also play a large part in the project.

“Demonstrating the benefits of fibre optic technology in Australian conditions in cooperation 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,” Moran said.

The research team will also welcome international collaborators to aid in the project, as part of the Federal Government’s Global Innovation Linkages Program.

Curtin will work with the CSIRO, Santos, Woodside, and world leaders in the space such as Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, Iowa State University, Class VI Solutions and Silixa

The project will be led by Curtin’s WA School of Mines professor Roman Pevzner, who said the findings should allow for better management and measurement of seismic activity.

“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.”

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