Speedy drilling

Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

A research team based in Queensland, Australia, has shattered the world drilling record with jets of water in a coal seam. The team drilled 123 m underground into the coal seam at the German Creek Mine in Central Queensland. This is about three times deeper than has ever been drilled before with high-pressure water jets. Drilling coal seams provides information about the coal, which helps in mine planning. The holes can also be used to drain methane gas, which is a hazard in coal mines. The major benefits of high-pressure water drilling is speed, accuracy and flexibility. The project leaders from the government-owned Safety in Mines Testing & Research Station hope to be able to drill upto 300 m. The depth of 123 m is a significant milestone in the development of the water jets drilling technique, which could increasingly be used for drilling coal seams.

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