Hydraulic Preconditioning Project
MIRARCO’s Geomechanics Research Centre is introducing hydraulic pre-conditioning as a seismic hazard mitigation technology to Canadian mining. Building upon work funded through the Ultra Deep Mining Network, MIRARCO commissioned CW Manufacturing of Acheson, Alberta, a major oilfield equipment provider, to build a high pressure, high flow, diesel powered pump capable of easy transport to and within mines. The system, pictured in the accompanying photo is currently undergoing field trials.
To demonstrate that hydraulic-preconditioning can alter the character of the rock mass such that the maximum magnitude of mining induced seismic events can be reduced in highly stressed ground.
The technology has been successfully employed for such purposes at El TenienteMine in Chile; however, in an environment characterized by lower stresses and weaker rock.
A phased approach will be taken. Currently Phase 2b – Hydraulic Preconditioning Trial is in process.
Phase 1 – Fracture Initiation: a simple underground trial at depth to prove that fracturing, via borehole pressurization, can be successfully executed under high in-situ stress conditions in strong rock. (Design Input)
Phase 2a – Fracture Propagation: in planned application environment, observation holes and additional instrumentation will be used to determine how fractures are propagated (establishment of treatment parameters; additional Design Input)
Phase 2b – Hydraulic Preconditioning Trial: full scale application of hydraulic pre-conditioning in an area currently experiencing or anticipated to experience an unacceptable level of mining-induced seismicity. (Mine Area Application)
Phases 3+: System Optimization/Enhancement/Commercialization