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Exploration Managers: don’t make this budgeting mistake!

April 26, 2023

Exploration Managers: don’t make this budgeting mistake!

Drill Program Planning
For Exploration Managers
Written by
Sachee Perera

Setting your next drill program budget?

Don’t sign off on your budget until you’ve read this first!

Exploration budgets have been trending downwards for years, but I'm here to put forward a radical suggestion: that you should actually add drill program intelligence software to your next budget.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? You have less to spend overall, so you should look for areas to save or scrap entirely...

Well, what if I told you that, by investing in software, you could:

  • unlock efficiencies in your workflow
  • reduce wastage
  • attract and retain high-quality staff and
  • save time and money

resulting in savings for your business overall?

Sound too good to be true?

It’s not.

In this article, I’ll explain how this could be the case for your business, and I’ll show you why leaving drill program intelligence software out of your next budget would be a big mistake!


How to save money on drilling

Do you know how many metres you’ve drilled today and how much it cost you?

If you’re like the Exploration Managers I’ve spoken to, one of the biggest challenges they face in running their drill programs is getting the data they need when they need it. This makes it really hard to stay on top of your cost per metre and burn rate. But without these key metrics - you're flying blind.

Maybe the data is coming in late from your contractors. Your geos are spending hours consolidating spreadsheets and building reports. Or, mistakes are sneaking into the data because it’s manually wrangled by the team. Or, worse - something was missed in the drill program, but all of the details were hidden in a complicated filing system, so nobody realised until it was too late.

This is a problem because the team is constantly playing catch up to the rig, missing critical opportunities to make time or cost-saving changes to the drill program.

In other words: you might be spending more (time and money) than you need to on your drill program.

Drill program intelligence software can help stop this chaos by streamlining your operations so your team can keep pace with the rig, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your drilling costs, and it's possible to pivot the drill program in real-time.

How? By making it quick and easy to standardise and consolidate your operational data into one place. Then, automating your reporting and cost reconciliation, so your team can spend more time diving into the results, collaborating with the drillers and focusing on the geology.

Think more time spent answering questions like: 

  • Why has our penetration rate declined this month?
  • Why has our standby time been so high on the night shift?
  • What strategies could we use to decrease the cost per metre drilled?


  • Where did I put that spreadsheet again?
  • Why aren’t these invoices matching our records?
  • Where’s my data?!

Just think about it.

What efficiencies could you unlock with access to this information at your fingertips?

How much time, money, and consumables could you save over a week, month - or entire drill program? How much extra value could you extract from your drill contractors? How much closer might you be to your next big hit?


How to save money on staff

We’re in a hyper-competitive job market with a shortage of geologists. 

It’s never been more important to retain good people!

Gen Z is starting their careers, and Millennials are the dominant generation in the workplace. The geologists of today and tomorrow are digital natives and expect to operate in a digital environment. It doesn’t make sense to them that they’re running multi-million dollar drill programs using paper and spreadsheets but going home to software like Netflix for $14.99 a month.

These workers know there are more efficient ways to work using technology, and they want to work with the best tools to feel satisfied at work, reach their potential and continue their professional development.

In other words, they want to be geologists, not admins! 

Every hour of a geologist’s time spent on paperwork is a hidden cost for your business. That’s one expensive admin. Fortunately, software can automate manual tasks like data entry, invoice reconciliation and reporting, freeing your team from repetitive paperwork. 

But perhaps most importantly, the easier you make it for them to focus on discovery, the more likely they will make one. 

Finally, suppose you want to attract new talent. In that case, you’ll stand apart from the crowd as this kind of working environment and company that modern geologists want to be a part of.


How to walk the talk with investors

Investment drives your access to resources. Without investment, it’s pretty hard to keep exploring.

So, how can you differentiate your exploration company in a crowded market?

Investing in your team and giving them the tools they need to get closer to discovery - and then telling everyone else in the industry about it!

Drill program intelligence software can help your team execute a complete digital transformation of their entire drill program workflow in as little as six weeks.

But the impact extends beyond the day-to-day operations; it can be a source of strategic advantage in your communications to your investors.

By sharing your digital transformation journey with the investment community, you’ll show them that:

  1. You put your money where your mouth is and that ‘future-focused’ is more than just a marketing buzzword for your team.
  2. You’re committed to spending their money wisely by becoming data-driven and agile in your approach to the drill program.

- both are sure to impress investors who stop by your booth at your next conference.



If you’re an Exploration Manager who wants to:

  • find ways to cut waste and reduce the cost of their drill programs
  • stop paying geologists to complete paperwork and get them back on the geology
  • stand out as a leader on the road to mining’s digital future

then you should consider including drill program intelligence software in your next budget!

The good news? It’s cheaper than you might think. In fact, the savings in your time, your team’s time and increased efficiencies of your drill programs can more than likely cover the cost - and then some!

Interested? Learn more about drill program intelligence software and what it can help your team achieve here on our blog. 

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