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How to translate $ spent into metres drilled as a Junior Explorer

June 30, 2023

How to translate $ spent into metres drilled as a Junior Explorer

For Juniors
Mining Data Management
Written by
Sachee Perera

Exploration is getting harder.

The ‘low hanging fruit’ discoveries have largely dried up, leading to the need to dig deeper to find the next ore body. This has brought with it a rise in associated costs of using deep drilling methods, coupled with a global decrease in exploration budgets

It’s a high-risk, high-reward environment, where success is only determined by making a meaningful discovery.

But perhaps even more so for Juniors, who don’t have the stability and cash flow of a producing mine to fall back on. 

With limited funds, it’s essential that money spent translates into metres drilled. But how can Exploration Managers make sure this is what actually happens?

The answers lie in your drilling data - but how it’s managed has a direct impact on your ability to find these answers. Even the highest quality data is at risk of missed opportunities and valuable resource wastage if it’s not available at the right time and in the right format.

So if you’re a mining professional looking to run drill programs smarter, not harder, by leveraging technology to make better, data-driven decisions - keep on reading!


How tech can help Juniors drill smarter not harder

Faster access to insights

Using automation found in modern software, it's possible to instantly import plod and cost data from any drilling contractor and standardise that data according to your needs. This means that, instead of manually transferring data into spreadsheets, you can spend your time interpreting the data.

This time-saving hack is especially useful during limited field seasons or short drilling cycles.

Because it takes only seconds to upload the data, you can keep pace with the speed of the rig. This means you can identify and resolve potential issues as they arise, reducing resource wastage and improving efficiency.

For example, if a hole isn't going to plan, you can end it ASAP, rather than continuing to burn through cash that could be better spent elsewhere.

Burn rate visibility

Nothing could be worse than running out of cash before you make your big hit!

Complete visibility into costs is critical - but doing this the old way using spreadsheets is time-consuming. It's easy to fall behind and lose touch with performance when you have to do this process manually.

Tech can help by automating this process for you so that you can see exactly how much drilling you did today and how much it cost based on your contractors' rate schedule(s). This can be deducted from your overall budget so you know how much cash you have left.

Also, because of this new level of visibility into your daily data, there's no shock at the end of the month - you can go back to the drillers and ask questions the next day and avoid the time suck of manual invoice reconciliation.

But what about the future?

When it comes to planning and forecasting, modern software can automatically calculate and adjust your cost per metre and penetration rate over time so that you're able to make predictions and plan the next round of drilling with increased accuracy.

Light-speed sample turnaround

Agile methodology is a project management method that involves breaking down work into short, iterative cycles. The goal of this approach is to allow for flexibility and rapid adaptation based on the insights and learnings gained during each cycle.

In Junior exploration, agile methodology helps managers plan and execute drilling campaigns that are geology-led based on the assay results from previous rounds of drilling. It's a more cost-effective approach to drill program design because cash is directed toward holes with the best prospects.

So what could be worse than running a drill program only to lose track of your samples or get hit by delays from the lab?

Exploration teams can now use technology to make sure every sample is logged and tracked on their journey from the core yard to the lab and even receipt of results. Using automation found in this same technology, exploration teams can instantly raise sample dispatch orders and turn samples around faster than ever before. Because everything is tracked and accounted for, including date and time stamps, you can be sure that each and every sample is analysed - and know if it's time to follow up with the lab.

A mission command centre for time-poor managers

Imagine being able to see your entire drill program on a live digital progress map that tracks field activities and drilling progress as it happens.

Using technology, it’s now possible to replace previously manual tracking processes with interactive maps that automatically colour-code each hole based on the most recently completed task in the workflow. Interactive visuals make it easy for Exploration Managers to quickly gauge overall progress and view the details of each hole with a click, rather than scrolling through a spreadsheet or rifling through a stack of paper.

Delegation and accountability become a breeze when the whole team are working from the same page and there's only one place to consult for everything related to the drill program.


How to do all of this (and more) as a Junior

What if we told you there was a software package designed to cater to the needs (and wallets) of Juniors that could do all of the above - and more? A software package that can pay for itself in time saved over days, weeks and months of drilling?

This software is CorePlan Exploration Hub and it's here to help Juniors like you run better drill programs from planning to completion.

See how a Junior exploration company like you used CorePlan to effortlessly run their entire drill campaign in this customer study.

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