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Diamond Drilling: What it is and what's good about it?

November 24, 2023

Diamond Drilling: What it is and what's good about it?

Guide
Drill Contractor Directory
Written by
Sachee Perera

Introduction to Diamond Drilling

When it comes to drilling for mineral exploration, diamond drilling is a common method that has been used for many years. It's a rotary drilling technique that uses diamond-impregnated drill bits to cut through rock and produce a solid core sample. This method has many benefits and is commonly used in the exploration and extraction of minerals.

The Sparkling History of Diamond Drilling

The history of diamond drilling dates back to the early 1900s when a French engineer named Georges Delamare invented the diamond drill bit. In the following years, diamond drilling was widely adopted for mineral exploration and mining. The technology has continued to evolve over the years, with advancements in the diamond bit technology, and the use of computerised drilling systems has made diamond drilling more efficient and accurate than ever before.

How Does Diamond Drilling Work?

Diamond drilling is pretty straightforward. It uses a diamond-impregnated drill bit to cut through rock and produce a solid core sample. As the drill bit cuts through the rock, the core is captured in the hollow drill bit, providing a continuous sample of the rock formation. It's a highly accurate method that produces precise results, making it a valuable tool for mineral exploration and resource estimation.

The Pros of Diamond Drilling

One of the main benefits of diamond drilling is its ability to produce high-quality core samples. This makes it an ideal method for obtaining detailed geological information, such as rock quality, structure, and mineralization. Plus, with the ability to drill up to 3,000 metres, it's a great option for exploration programs that require deeper drilling.

But like any method, diamond drilling has its downsides. It can be expensive, with diamond bits requiring regular maintenance to ensure they last longer. Plus, while solid core samples provide detailed geological information, they may not assess the entire rock formation, requiring additional drilling methods.

The Disadvantages of Diamond Drilling

Despite its many benefits, diamond drilling also has some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is the high cost of the equipment and the associated drilling costs. The diamond bits used in diamond drilling are expensive and require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity.

Another disadvantage of diamond drilling is the production of solid core samples. While these samples provide detailed geological information, they are not suitable for assessing the entire rock formation. Therefore, additional drilling methods may be required to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the rock formation.

Safety & Environmental Considerations

As with any drilling method, safety and environmental considerations are critical when using diamond drilling. Operators must ensure that they comply with local regulations and best practices to minimise the impact on the environment and protect the safety of workers. Diamond drilling produces a significant amount of drill cuttings, which must be managed properly to prevent environmental damage.

The Difference Between Diamond Drilling and Air Core Drilling

While diamond drilling produces a solid core sample, air core drilling produces a pulverised cuttings sample. Diamond drilling is ideal for obtaining detailed geological information, while air core drilling is better suited for obtaining a general understanding of the subsurface geology.

The Difference Between RC Drilling and Diamond Drilling

RC drilling and diamond drilling are two drilling methods commonly used in mineral exploration. While RC drilling uses a pneumatic reciprocating piston to deliver rapid impacts to the drill stem, diamond drilling uses a diamond-impregnated drill bit to cut through rock and produce a solid core sample. Diamond drilling is ideal for obtaining detailed geological information, while RC drilling is better suited for obtaining a general understanding of the subsurface geology.

As a geologist, it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of different drilling methods when planning an exploration project. Diamond drilling is a highly accurate method that produces high-quality core samples, making it an essential tool for detailed geological information and mineral resource estimation. However, it can be a more expensive and time-consuming method compared to other drilling methods. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different drilling methods, geologists can make informed decisions that lead to more successful exploration projects.

Some Australian Diamond Drilling Contractors

DDH1 Drilling

Founded in 2006 by the pioneers of the multiple intersectional directional drilling techniques used today, Murray Pollock and Matt Thurston, DDH1 is Australia’s premier deep hole drilling contractor. The DDH1 team can service a broad range of client needs from top tier miners to the smallest explorer, in all aspects of mineral exploration work including surface and underground diamond coring, reverse circulation, as well as geotechnical and engineering holes. 

Learn more about DDH1 Drilling here

Spaulding Drillers

Since the 80s, Spaulding Drillers has offered exceptional outcomes using diamond drill, RC and downhole hammer methods. The family-owned and operated business services the mineral exploration sector, and domestic and irrigation water bore services across all of Tasmania. 

Learn more about Spaulding Drillers here

Terra Drilling

Every job is done to the highest quality with the Terra Drilling team. Specialising in surface diamond drilling, the Terra Drilling team has grown from supporting the goldfields area to now servicing the wider Australian market.

Learn more about Terra Drilling here

How to find more Australian Diamond Drilling contractors:

At CorePlan, we work closely with a number of diamond drill contractors to help manage their drilling business needs. To make it easier to find them, we’ve created The Ultimate Drill Contractor Directory which covers where each contractor operates, how many rigs they have, what types of drilling methods they utilise and even what sets their company apart so we can match up the best partnership for the job.

Visit the CorePlan Drill Contractor Directory for a full list of diamond drill contractors

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