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Partnership formed to focus on directional drilling

The above image depicts the directional core drilling technology

GROWING THE MARKET IMDEX and Devico are aiming to grow the market for directional core drilling technology, which provides sustainability to mining operations while decreasing costs and environmental impacts through focused and efficient explorations

20th October 2023

     

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Global mining technology company IMDEX is partnering with directional core drilling (DCD) services and borehole surveying company Devico to expand their DCD capabilities and grow the market for technology that will deliver sustainable mining operations.

This will be achieved through more focused and efficient exploration with intentions to lower associated costs and decrease environmental impact, which will include reducing water consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions associated with drilling, when compared to conventional drilling methods.

IMDEX COO Shaun Southwell states that the transition to DCD was inevitable for the exploration industry, as the costs of exploration are increasing in line with deeper and more remote prospecting projects to find future deposits.

“Resource companies need to take every advantage available to them, so having the capacity to hit more targets with less exploration drilling delivers real quantifiable savings,” he says.

Southwell explains that DCD is one of the fastest growing markets as companies seek greater precision in their drilling programmes.

He adds that time and cost savings, ranging from 20% to 50%, are typical when employing DCD in comparison to conventional drilling techniques, explaining that the technology is “well-suited” in the search for geologically complex critical minerals.

Southwell also says that this is particularly apparent in the capacity to drill multiple secondary drill holes from an initial mother hole and/or overcome the natural deviation to hit the intended targets.

While the DCD technique adds some short-term costs, resource companies are recognising the greater overall savings when using DCD, states IMDEX Europe GM Erlend Olso.

“Using DCD provides precision and efficiency in exploration; you can hit more targets with a lot less metres drilled,” he explains.

Olso elaborates that resource companies are able to save money in the exploration phase while also knowing that they can hit the targets and prove up the resource in a better and faster way, with a lot of other added benefits.

He notes that resource companies from countries such as Canada have been early adopters of DCD technology, followed by Nordic countries, Southern American countries, and more recently, African countries.

Further, IMDEX and Devico are planning to expand the DCD market within Australia. Anglo American principal geology and resource estimator Janne Siikaluoma credits Devico’s DCD technology with results that would otherwise not have been possible at its Sakatti copper, nickel and platinum group element deposit in Finland.

“Sakatti Mining Osakeyhtiö (Oy) has used Devico’s services in the Sakatti project since 2017,” explains Siikaluoma.

He explains that Devico’s services, mainly the DCD technique, have been an important factor in conducting accurate diamond drilling programmes in deep and complex deposits located in environmentally sensitive areas similar to Sakatti.

Siikaluoma adds that the Sakatti winter season metallurgical drilling programme, from 2022 to 2023, with several multi- branch DCD guided holes, was completed on time with high technical quality.

“This enabled Sakatti Mining Oy to collect the metallurgical samples from the Sakatti deposit by means of core drilling which was the priority one objective and very important for the future progress of the Sakatti project,” he explains.

In addition, Siikaluoma explains that the successful drilling programme enabled them to achieve a consistent 25 m drilling pattern in certain key areas of the deposit with the required 5 m target precision, with up to 800 m of depth, which would not have been possible by any other practical means.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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