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Does size matter? How big your exploration project needs to be to go digital

April 26, 2023

Does size matter? How big your exploration project needs to be to go digital

Written by
Sachee Perera

One of the most common questions we get asked by Exploration Managers is how big their exploration company or project needs to be to start running digital drill programs.

It's a common misconception that digital drill programs are only for the top end of town. You might be surprised to hear that many exploration companies making the switch are Junior explorers!

This is because there is no cookie-cutter approach to running a digital drill program. 

Regardless of the size of your operations or the complexity of your workflow, we can all agree that drilling accurately, on time and on budget is essential to running a successful drill program. 


So, how big do you need to be to start running digital drill programs?

After speaking to over 50 Exploration Managers and their teams, we’ve discovered a sweet spot for when digital drill programs start to change the game.

It's not about the size of your exploration company; it's about how much you're drilling.

And that number looks like a drill production volume of 2,000 metres drilled per quarter.


Because, at this drilling volume, a few things are happening:

  1. there's a large amount of data you need to collect and analyse
  2. you're completing a substantial amount of pre and post-drilling work in the field
  3. you have a large volume of samples to keep track of
  4. you're managing a team of three or more employees (or contractors)
  5. the volume of manual paperwork starts to become a burden.


When your drill program reaches this level of complexity, you're in the perfect position to start leveraging automation found in drill program software. 


What if you're drilling less than this?

Even if you're drilling less than 2000 metres per quarter, nothing is stopping you from going digital per se. However, we generally don’t recommend it because you won’t be processing a high enough volume of data to get the most out of a digital drill program just yet.


Is your team ready to go digital?

Remember, whether you're drilling one metre or 100,000 metres per quarter, switching to digital drill programs only makes sense if you're ready and willing to do it. Even the best software in the world will only benefit your team if they use it!


What next?

In summary, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but the time to start thinking about going digital is now. Modern software is more affordable than ever and allows for almost endless configuration, so an exploration team of any size or complexity can use it, including Juniors.

If you put off the change, you'll soon fall behind your industry peers as the mining industry shifts to digital.

Ready to take your drill programs to the next level? Let's make this official at a free demo of our drill program intelligence software product built for Exploration Managers who want to run better drill programs.

If you still need time to prepare for the switch, follow us on LinkedIn to keep up with the latest on all things mineral exploration drilling so that you can hit the ground running when the time is right.

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