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Easy drilling burn rate management tool for Junior explorers

April 26, 2023

Easy drilling burn rate management tool for Junior explorers

For Juniors
For Exploration Managers
For Managing Directors
Written by
Sachee Perera

It’s critical to have your finger on the pulse of your Junior exploration company’s burn rate so that you don’t run out of cash before you make your big hit.

Burn rate is calculated using your actual cost per metre drilled. If you’re only drilling a few metres here and there, this is pretty easy to do in a spreadsheet. But what if:

  • early results are looking positive and you want to bring a few extra rigs on and scale your project
  • you get an invoice from your drill contractors, and the cost per metre is way higher than what you’d budgeted for
  • you’re recording large variations in metres drilled between rigs and shifts - even though the rig type, ground conditions, staff numbers and bit type are similar?

Suddenly, the amount of work required to get your head around the numbers increases substantially.

This is a problem because it becomes much harder to stay in touch with what’s happening in the field. And if you can’t process and analyse data at the same speed as the rig, you could be in for a huge shock at invoice reconciliation time - or miss opportunities to direct cash to better prospects on the fly.

But at the same time, you only have so many hours in a day. The typical spreadsheet solution used to calculate burn rate is difficult to scale in line with drilling - and you have better things to do than fiddle with spreadsheets all day!

Plus, it won’t tell you much about the inputs into your cost per metre or help you quickly identify what’s driving your incurred costs so you can take action to stem the bleeding.

The easiest way to calculate burn rate

If you’ve ever wondered if there’s an easier way to stay on top of your burn rate, you’re not the only one.

Modern drill program management software can automatically calculate your burn rate for you and update it at the end of every shift to give you real-time visibility into your costs and what’s driving them. 

Rather than spending half an hour or more plugging the numbers into your spreadsheet, all you need to do is log in. Straight away, you’ll be able to see what happened on the rig today, your real-time cost per metre, how the actual cost compares to your budget, and forecast future costs based on progress. 

It works by matching drill plod data to your cost contract at the end of every shift, giving you immediate visibility into your drill production and costs for that day across every rig, the drill program to date - and even across your entire business.

Drilling data from any contractor can be entered into the system, so it’s easily scalable, even when drilling with multiple contractors.

A tool for managing burn rate

Calculating your junior exploration burn rate is the easy part. What about managing it?

This is where data visualisation is your friend, and digital tools, like CorePlan’s drill program intelligence software, can automate this for you.

When data is displayed in the right way, it becomes a lot easier to identify patterns in your daily operations and track changes over time. 

Colourful graphs and charts are a much easier way to communicate analyses and collaborate across teams in comparison to sharing spreadsheet data. You’re far more likely to spot discrepancies in a graph than scrolling through hundreds of data cells.

But it’s not just about displaying the data in the right way - it’s also about bringing the right data together to generate relevant insights so that you can take action to improve your burn rate and measure the impact of these actions. For example:

  • Rig time activity breakdowns: see exactly how much time the bit is spending on the bottom versus other activities that could be blocking the rig’s progress.
  • Progress mapping: see which holes are being drilled, waiting to be drilled, finished drilling or delayed on a map. Track your estimated time to completion based on prior drilling.
  • Consumable and cost charts: see where costs are spiking and dive deeper into the reasoning behind these spikes or troughs.

Because the data is entered into the system daily and your cost per metre is automatically updated, you’ll have real-time insight into whether or not actions taken based on reporting insights are having an impact on your bottom line.

The power of fast cost per metre calculation

When you’re getting the data in real-time, you can make decisions based on the latest information. This allows you to plug budget leakage and follow up with your drillers as soon as the very next shift - not days or weeks later once everyone has forgotten what happened on the rig that day.

This process will also save you valuable time at the end of the month. 

When you have quick access to that cost per metre metric, and you’re able to track it over time, you can have more confidence in your drillers’ performance, monitor the impact of any planned corrective actions and make better forecasts. All leading to an increased likelihood of a successful drill program.

How to try it for yourself

CorePlan’s drill program management software is a cloud-based SaaS tool built to help exploration teams run better drill programs. See how it could help your team manage your burn rate and other aspects of your field operations in a free demo over Microsoft Teams or Zoom today.

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