High-power laser rock cutting and drilling in mining operations: initial feasibility tests
The interaction of a high power (infrared) laser beam with samples of rock encountered in hard-rock metal mining operations was experimentally investigated. These tests were intended to explore the feasibility of using high power lasers to improve the speed, performance, accuracy, and safety of rock cutting and drilling in mining operations. The current results were compared to similar tests, performed with the same laser, of materials typically encountered in gas and oil well drilling. Suggestions are made for the next steps in exploring how laser systems could possibly revolutionize drilling and cutting operations in the mining and oil/gas industries, particularly by augmenting other drilling hardware and techniques.
This paper was published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4065