:: Volume 14, Issue 1 (5-2020) ::
JEG 2020, 14(1): 1-28 Back to browse issues page
Comparison of Reverse Circulation Method with the Common Drilling Methods Regarding Progress Velocity, Drilling Cost, Gained Sample Type and Performance Efficiency, Case Study: Gold Mine of Khomein-Akhtarchi
Abstract:   (622 Views)
Drilling has various methods that from different aspects such as crushing mechanism, type of used energy etc., is divided to several types containing hand held drilling, percussive drilling, cable-tool drilling, rotary (or circular) drilling, percussive-rotary drilling and core drilling. Unlike the direct circulation drilling system (DC) in the reverse circulation drilling system (RC), the drilling fluid moves the annulus between borehole wall and the drilling pipe and comes back with the drilled pieces along inside the drilling pipe. The exploratory drilling system of RC by conducting powder samples with high purity and fast drilling rate, is a great help to the velocity and accurate of exploration of ore deposits. Samples produced in this method are in the form of soil and rock powdered and rock fragments of the drilled part, which may be dry or with little moisture. The air flow inside the cycle causes the collected powder sample to be often dry but sometimes is wet due to groundwater or drilling mud. Drilling is one of the most costly mining processes. Therefore, the most important goal in drilling engineering is to reduce costs, and the best possible decision to optimize the cost of drilling is to choose the best possible drilling method. Based on the field data, cost of drilling for each meter of a soft rock (e.g. travertine) by core drilling and direct drilling methods are about 3.3 and 1.2 times of the RC method, respectively. Also the cost of drilling, for each meter of a hard rock (e.g. granite) by core drilling and direct drilling methods are about 2.6 and 1.3 times of the RC method, respectively.
Materials and methods
In the present research, reverse circulation drilling (RC) has been compared with other important, common and practical drilling methods, such as direct circulation and core drilling methods in terms of various criteria containing drilling (time) rate, price (cost), type and quality of acquired samples and performance efficiency of drilling. Also, as a field study in this research, deep drilled boreholes with RC and core drilling methods in the gold mine of Khomein-Akhtarchi located in the Markazi province, were investigated and compared from different aspects. At the end, the ability to select the most appropriate drilling method among the variety of methods was studied. The study region is located at 25 km northeast of Khomein city in the Markazi province. This region consists of two exploration areas of Zarmadan-Akhtaran1 with the area of 13.21 square kilometers and Zarmadan-Akhtaran2 with the area of 2.85 square kilometers. Access to the Akhtarchi gold region is possible through the Khomein-Shahabiyeh (Goldsat)-Mahallat road. In the mining region, the Permian rock complexes include dolomite, dolomitic limestone from brown to dark gray, black Irony sandstone and white to milky limestone known as pds, pdl and pl units in the geological maps.
In the studied region, several deep boreholes, most of them by RC and some of them by core drilling methods have been drilled. In general, by now in the Akhtarchi gold zone in the Zarmadan-Akhtaran2 area 54 powder boreholes have been drilled through RC method called by RC1 to RC54. Also, there are 25 core drilling boreholes, 18 boreholes called by BH1 to BH18 in the Zarmadan-Akhtaran1 area and 5 boreholes called by BH1 to BH5 in the Zarmadan-Akhtaran2 area. During drilling operations, Permian and Cretaceous rock units have been encountered. The details of drilling via RC method for 4 boreholes with numbers 50, 51, 53 and 54 have been accurately taken. The measured drilling times were obtained from drilling personnel of the mine through the questionnaire which they were weighted mean if needed.
Results and discussion
The average drilling time for each meter of rock in boreholes 53 and 54 is 2:12 and 2:54 minutes, respectively. In both cases, the time duration is very short and this feature is one of the advantages of the RC drilling method. The longer average duration of drilling for each meter of rock in the borehole 54 than 53, is due to the depth of the borehole 54 and the hammer problem of the drilling machine during the drilling this borehole. In Table 1, the average duration of drilling operation per meter of rock in the Akhtarchi gold mine is given according to the type of rock (lithology) at definite depth intervals, on the basis of field studies. According to this table data, the duration of the drilling for each meter of rock in the greater depths increases that the reasons for increasing the duration of drilling for each meter of rock in greater depths are the difficulty of drilling due to the increasing length of rig, the reduction of transient energy to the bit, the probability of greater borehole declination, compaction increasing and as a result increasing the strength of rocks and more hydrostatic and lithostatic pressures in the great depths meanwhile at a great depth, the probability of capturing the drilling rig is too high. Also the cost (the time price) of drilling per meter of rock in this mine based on the dip and depth of drilling is about 1300 to 2000 thousand Rials by the RC method, against 2620 to 4250 thousand Rials by the core drilling method.
The results of the present research indicate that the RC drilling in comparison with other drilling methods, especially conventional and applied ones in terms of drilling costs and drilling rate (time) is highly desirable while is desirable regarding depth of drilling, the type and quality of the acquired samples and the overall efficiency of drilling performance. Although the core drilling method with the ability to drill very deep boreholes obtaining cores in terms of the type and quality of the acquired samples, as well as the depth of the drilling is the most desirable, but for exploration drilling (especially in the detailed exploration stages), deposits with low-grade and very little mineral indices (like gold mine of Khomein-Akhtarchi), and hence the large sample sizes are needed, employing RC drilling method having comparative advantages is economic.
Regarding the use of RC drilling method in the case study, the gold mine of Khomein-Akhtarchi, it was found that the RC method compared to the core drilling method, in terms of the duration of drilling operations or the speed of advance (the rate of penetration in the rock), drilling costs and efficiency of performance is desirable. Also, according to the type of mineral deposit (gold type), which is low-grade and the indices of the mineral are very low, therefore the large sample sizes are needed, thus, in terms of the type of obtained samples, employing RC drilling method in this case, is accounted a very important advantage related to the DC method (in terms of accuracy) and core drilling method (in terms of cost). The results of this research are useful for all users of drilling operations, including drilling engineers and technicians, engineering geology and geotechnical practitioners, mineral exploration engineers, groundwater aquifers and hydrocarbon reserves (oil and gas) to choose the optimal drilling method under different environmental and economic conditions based on criteria such as the purpose of drilling operations, costs, progress rate, type and quality of the yielded samples and the efficiency of drilling operation. Also, the use of RC drilling method has the advantages over the other drilling methods to be suggested for exploration of low-grade deposits such as gold, silver and copper, especially in the final stages such as detailed and mining exploration.
Keywords: Reverse circulation drilling system (RC), Direct circulation drilling system (DC), Core drilling, Drilling rate, Cost of drilling, Samples from drilling, Gold mine of Khomein-Akhtarchi
Full-Text [PDF 631 kb]   (250 Downloads)    
Type of Study: s | Subject: En. Geology
Received: 2019/04/3 | Accepted: 2019/04/28 | Published: 2020/05/30

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