How is Hydro-Mining Going to be Developed?
Hydro-Mining’s concept has some complexity but it is not difficult to understand. It integrates both new and established borehole mining systems and methods in order to mine rich, deep deposits in a way never before done. The fact is that this concept has already been examined by at least one engineering expert at the USPTO, who granted patents based on stringent requirements. Inventors, Gilbert Alan Hice and Thomas Joseph Hice, were granted two patents covering 26 systems and methods claims that protect the innovative concept of transforming a sonic core drilling machine into a sonic mining machine. This is a unique idea based on real possibilities examined and validated by the USPTO. Below are abstracts from these two patents, which establish the proprietary foundation upon which this new mining process will be developed even beyond its current potential of recovering untouched deposits of gold and other valuable minerals. Additional patent applications are being contemplated by the inventors but the current patents have a significant scope that allows the inventors to move forward with this project in confidence of their intellectual property security. This listing includes only the utility patent applications that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Patents were assigned to and are owned by Geodrilling Technologies, Inc. – an Oregon regular “C” Corporation.
Low-frequency pulsing sonic and hydraulic mining method – Patented
Patent number: 9995127 (Click HERE for full USPTO documentation of this Patent)
Abstract: Enhanced method for borehole mining comprising: drilling a borehole using a low-frequency pulsing sonic, hydraulic mining system including a pulsed jet assembly; inserting casing into the borehole above target deposit depth; inserting and rotating assembly into the casing with a sub-coupling and a shoe rock bit positioned below the casing; pumping fluid into the borehole; evaluating slurry at surface; fracturing and disaggregating materials at target deposit with pulsing jets from the sub-coupling and rock bit causing light slurry to flow upwardly to the annulus between the borehole casing and the downhole assembly, then upwardly through the annulus to the surface of the borehole thereby causing heavy slurry to concentrate in a sump, located below the pulse jet rock bit; continuing to form cavity at target location; removing pulsed jet assembly from borehole; running core barrel to extract heavy slurry from sump; analyzing slurry to determine whether to continue with operation.
Low-frequency pulsing sonic and hydraulic mining system – Patented
Patent number: 9995126 (Click HERE for full USPTO documentation of this Patent)
Abstract: An improvement to a sonic drilling system comprising a high-pressure, high-volume water pump connected to a fluid supply and a length of casing in a borehole; an elastic sonic rod string; an eductor coupling having an upwardly directed convergent nozzle; a transition rod; a sub-coupling having a laterally directed convergent nozzle; and a shoe rock bit having a downwardly directed convergent nozzle. The water pump provides fluid down the bore of the sonic rod string, the eductor, the transition rod, the sub-coupling and the rock bit whereby adjustable high-pressure, high-volume fluid is forced through the sonic rod string, the eductor, the transition rod, the sub-coupling and the rock bit to fracture, cut and agitate targeted mineral into slurry and whereby the light slurry is directed effectively upwardly through the annulus to the surface for extraction and heavy slurry gravitates into a sump trap and is recovered with a core barrel.
An ‘Overview’ of how assemblage and manifestation of Hydro-Mining begins:
Initial project development of this new mining process and its affiliated financial concept, will be to establish a fundamentally reliable and effective working borehole sonic mining prototype. This will occur simultaneously with development of a complimentary bulk sampling configuration establishing (through a testing program at our initial test site) a relatively narrow but effective scope of controlled excavation and recovery metrics. Issues of safety and performance boundaries will be determined and implemented in coordination with various expert consultations and in accordance with governmental regulations — evaluating and establishing effective sonic borehole mining at depths of approximately between 20 feet and 200 feet deep. This will establish a process of mining slurry through one borehole using inventive attachable patented Hydro-Mining components and methods. Simultaneously, fundamental modular processing auxiliary equipment, (e.g. processor, filters, pumps, reservoir), will also be evaluated and incorporated into the Hydro-Mining water-circuit. More optimal designs will be developed longitudinally as the time-line and opportunity dictates.
A working prototype will be established as soon as possible. To begin with the project intends to quickly establish a relatively successful subsurface mining approach with an initial baseline of predictable performance proving recovery of hi-grade concentrate using a sonic core barrel. Questions will be addressed regarding siphon coupling eductors and components of the bottom-hole assembly, both in shallow and in relatively deep jet-excavation, evaluating for baseline performance objectives including sump recovery and surface processing. Surface slurry/water separation, water clarification/filtration and back-filling techniques will be assessed and facilitated along with other aspects of the project.
Since the heterogeneity of placer mining sites can be so variable and the complexity of understanding mining specificity will also require longitudinal experience, the process of acquiring optimal performance will occur with time and primarily empirically. This will of course result in protocols that can clearly facilitate efficient recovery leaving minimal environmental footprint.
Empirical testing of various designs will be done with performance comparisons being made at multiple sites with variants within variables being examined, as much as possible to optimize performance within controlled parameters for increased efficiency. Even the ‘prime site’, (first prototype Alpha Unit working site) which will be the first commercial mining site, will also be used to improve effectiveness of Hydro-Mining relative to the initial test site performance baselines. Testing and assessment will be an ongoing process with on-site adjustments as needed to improve modular apparatus and methods to better match the challenges of each mining site prior to mining. This will of course also be facilitated by development of the Beta Unit apparatus and methods configuration that will be employed to assess each site prior to being selected for Alpha Unit configuration mining.
The following is a list of 4 of the general assessment questions that will be addressed during the process of Hydro-Mining development:
What are the difficulties associated with designing, manufacturing and combining effective attachable Hydro-Mining apparatus components (i.e. jetting eductor coupling, frustum transition rod, jetting sub-coupling and jetting shoe rock bit) to be used with a sonic core drill rig’s system to form a new mining rod string system attached to water pump volume and pressure?
What are the performance and safety parameters assessed with (i.e. effective production and movement of both water in air and slurry subsurface at beta testing site) assembly and working of proposed designs of rod string attached eductor coupling, transition rod, jetting sub-coupling, bit jet using a high-pressure/high-volume pump using inactive sonic core drilling rig in a shallow mining procedure (excavation and extraction) along with slurry extraction process to the processor?
What is the general efficacy (i.e. improved effective production and movement of pulsed water in air and slurry compared to findings from Question #2) when combining proposed assembly of effective design of eductor coupling, transition rod, jetting sub-coupling, shoe-bit jet and sump trap using high-pressure/high-volume pump energy combined with an active sonic core drilling rig in a shallow (e.g. 20-30 foot and also deeper) mining procedure (excavation and slurry extraction)?
What is the assessment of improved efficiencies associated with design variations to increase efficacy (i.e. effective production and movement of slurry) of combining proposed designs, e.g. eductor coupling, transition rod, jetting sub-coupling, bit jet and sump trap, using a high-pressure/high-volume pump and an active sonic core drilling rig in both shallow and deep jet-mining events.
The process will be organized into three stages:
Stage 1 of the Development Process:
Establish working parameters for developing attachable mining apparatus to sonic rig and make initial contacts for ancillary equipment.
- Collaborate with TerraSonicInc, establish working agreements for developing sonic mining rig, establish time-lines, goals and objectives for developing apparatus including purchase of 1-2 sonic drill rigs.
- Contact seismic engineering group, establish working seismic mapping agreement to develop both pre-mining and while mining (RAMPS) procedures, soft-ware and other.
- Advertise for retired or honorably discharged military officer or noncom officer with skill-set (per TerraSonic direction) to act as chief operations officer (COO) with experience in research and/or multi-layered project development, secure 4 crew, command chain, etc.
- Advertise for sonic driller, preference having had military experience.
- Prepare ‘initial testing site’ in Oregon to establish a working mining model and feasibility study using the Hydro-Mining process with a rate of production between 10 and 20 yards per hour in deposit site with about 25% cobbled, 50% sand/loam, 25% boulders placer.
- Establish company contacts and/or obtain use by rental/purchase of downhole camera (e.g. Spectrum 90), handheld XRF spectrometer, digital density meters (e.g. radiation-based gauge), mobile all-weather tents, seismic mapping instrumentation, etc.
- Establish feasible designs and industry contacts for initial mini-processor and mining processor for sample analysis and deposit extraction recovery as well as for a main slurry processor, with grinder, hydro cyclone, centrifugal classifier, etc.
To establish a working mining feasibility study for mining and exploratory prototypes using the Hydro-Mining process with a rate of mining production targeted at about 10 and 20 yards/hour in about 25% cobbled, 50% sand/loam, 25% boulder placer.
- prepare a working excavation initial test site at 15 to 30 feet deep using an approximate 9.0”borehole diameter with casing emplaced (having a 9.25”O.D / 8.4”I.D.) which accommodates a sonic rod/rod string (having 4.25”O.D. / 3.75”I.D.) to be inserted to target deposit depth to jet excavate and facilitate annulus passage of 0.5” particulate material in slurry without bridging having an approximate mean 2.1” annular space for slurry passage upward.
- Design, manufacture, assembly and testing will be coordinated with TerraSonicInc consultation so that attachable components will comply with and complement existing sonic core drilling apparatus parameters of performance, including additional pumping components. Variations in quantity of components will be examined.
- The bottom-hole assembly will first be tested for efficacious generation of continuous jetting using a water pump both with and without attachment to an inactive sonic drill, in air on cinder blocks and in shallow ground (to establish effective pump energy system). Obtain pump, e.g. Goulds or other with industry established and appropriate flow and pressure rates, based on historical testing. Evaluate various pressures, flow rates, mining power parameters and others, including:
- convergent nozzle size and shape variations, with several vane permutations incorporated into sub-coupling with diametrically opposed nozzles at 90 degrees to rod axis maintaining external rod diameter to evaluate jet forms and flow rates;
- incorporate use of the transition rod as a guide vane internal frustum shape, various lengths to determine laminar flow facilitation;
- shoe-bit and nozzle with shape and size variations aligned with rod axis, incorporating vane structures to examine for flow rates and sump contents impact dynamics.
- Then with an active sonic unit in air using cinder block to determine efficacious nozzle design for baseline erosion/fracturing capability of pulsed jet performance parameters (second energy generating system evaluated to produce pulsed jetting). A shallow subsurface test will be made to further establish efficacy of pulsed jets, examining for rates of slurry production verses depth, variable flow rates and ground variation.
- Preliminary sump trap depth will also have preliminary assessment.
- Evaluation of coupling eductors to establish general efficacy of using jetting components within rod string juxtaposed to casing to design variation to increasing efficiency of whole unit and integrate with a processing unit. Transparent plastic tubes for casing components may be used for visual assessment and modification until a facilitated upward flush of slurry is generated relative to both the differential hydraulic lift and eduction.
- Cavity size and floor angle for effective evacuation and sump effect will be assessed for bulk sampling and cavity excavation.
- An effective Beta Unit, if available, can be deployed to prime site for evaluation once #7 is complete, mini-processor assembled and crew trained. Otherwise, Alpha Unit cohort development continues.
- Crew training will be assessed for working and maintenance of the Alpha Unit and its attachable integrated modular processing plant with water circuit-flow continuity, (including filtration, reservoir and recycling) for looping back to the Alpha Unit. Once the Alpha Unit and crew have been tested to work within known and safe parameters they will be deployed to the prime site, with both Alpha and Beta Unit capability.
Initiate Commercial Hydro-Mining.
- Deploy Alpha Unit to mine a ‘prime site’ identified and confirmed as a measured target resource by Beta Unit configuration. Site selection process may involve assessing multiple sites. Begin Alpha Unit, working prototype, commercial production.
- On-going assessment of Unit performance, associated policy and procedures to establish improved profit and performance parameters, for more effective future mining site production, Alpha Unit and Beta Unit crew training/equipment/management.
- Research and negotiate aggressively for target mineral rights contracts for Beta Unit and potential Alpha Unit deployment.
- Beta Unit deployed, as soon as possible, to assess multiple potential mining sites for profitable Alpha Unit mining targets.