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Is CorePlan a Database?

November 15, 2023

Is CorePlan a Database?

Mining Data Management
Exploration Software
Written by
Sachee Perera

One of the most common questions we get asked by Managing Directors and Exploration Managers is:

“We already use DataShed/MX Deposit/GeoBank/LogChief etc… so why would we switch to CorePlan?”

The answer? You don’t!

That’s because CorePlan is actually not a database.

CorePlan does handle some of the data that usually goes into your database, but it is not intended to replace it. In fact, it’s designed to help strengthen its integrity.


Why CorePlan isn’t a database

CorePlan is not a database because it was built specifically to capture and validate operational data. It is not designed to handle geological data, logging or sampling data.

It can help you run better drill programs in real time by enabling you and your team to quickly understand what happened in the field, when it happened, who made it happen, and how much it cost. However, it won't tell you what's under the surface - at least not directly (more on that in a minute).


If it’s not a database, then what is it?

CorePlan Exploration Hub is a project management tool specifically for exploration teams, mining teams and their drill contractors to execute drill programs in the field, compile operational data and complete all their paperwork.

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It’s a digital workspace where the team goes to work together and stay on the same page by bringing complete visibility to:

  • what needs to happen
  • when it needs to happen
  • who needs to do it
  • what data needs to be captured, and 
  • how much it cost.

For team leaders and managers, this brings peace of mind by knowing that the campaign is running on time and on budget, you’re getting the data you need as it happens, and you’re hitting your performance and compliance goals.

It’s as close as it gets to being in the field.


Why having great operational data matters

Operational data is the data you collect as you execute the drill program, like metres drilled, cost per shift, consumable usage and active drilling time. Your operational data can tell you a lot about the drill program’s performance and the overall health of your business.

There is a tendency for exploration teams to undervalue operational data because they are so focused on the geological data that drives investment. But operational data has an important role in the confidence of your geological results.

By making sure that all of the processes that happen before and after collecting subsurface information have been followed correctly, along with the complete story of that hole, you can have more certainty in the accuracy of your sampling data and plan better drill programs in the future.

Plus, by better understanding how your operations impact your bottom line, you’re better placed to make sure you can afford to keep drilling and make that all-important hit.


Why should you use a database AND CorePlan and not just a database?

The longer you can collect great operational data, the greater the insights you will be able to derive. This is why it must be easy for your team to capture great data. User-friendly tools like CorePlan make collecting great data more sustainable in the long term than traditional solutions like spreadsheets. 

Databases (or even spreadsheets) are not built for collaboration. You might be experiencing this problem yourself right now. When multiple users and teams try to access the same files at the same time, it creates loading issues, version control issues and data standardisation issues between teams (a data admin’s nightmare!).

It’s also hard to see what’s going on when all of the data is filed away in silos. How can you see which holes are ready to drill and when the rig will be available to drill them? Can you be sure that rehab is complete and that no holes have been missed without taking a trip to the field? What about what happened on the rig today and how much it cost you?  

If it takes you more than a few seconds to find the answers to these types of questions, you’re working in hard mode.

This is why CorePlan exists - to bring visibility to everyone’s workflow in a way that your database cannot. Rather than consulting your database, spreadsheets and paper files to find out what’s going on right now, your team only need to go to one place to find information regarding the drill program.

What data goes into CorePlan and what data goes into the database?

Ultimately, all your data will need to go into your database, including your CorePlan data. 

CorePlan is a convenient way to capture, standardise, modify, validate and improve your operational data before the final version goes into your database.

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CorePlan’s system is designed to cover everything related to:

  • drill production
  • field activities
  • sample dispatch orders
  • tenement expenditure
  • forms (eg pre-starts, take 5s, incidents, inspections)*
  • rig schedule
  • compliance checklists

and more.

One of the leading reasons why exploration teams choose CorePlan is for paperwork automation. CorePlan takes all of the drillers’ plod data and runs it against your cost contracts (including conditional clauses) to give you an accurate daily cost summary and time activity breakdown. This means you can keep your finger on the pulse of your financial position and performance at the per-shift level. It’s also far quicker to reconcile drilling invoices at the end of the month.

Perhaps most important of all, this means that your geos can spend more time on geology, including tasks like logging and sampling that directly affect the quality of your database. This facilitates higher-quality data across the board and an increased chance of discovery.


When does your CorePlan data go into your database?

This is another ‘it depends’ answer. Most of our customers choose to put the data they collect using CorePlan into their database once the drill program is complete.

They do it this way because they use CorePlan as their project's ‘working draft’. They review and modify data directly from within CorePlan, which is approved by a designated user (usually the Exploration Manager). When the project is finished, and the data has been validated, then the final version (the ‘source of truth’) goes into the database.

This works for our customers because they recognise that geologists and field crews are not trained data managers. Instead, they have their team focus on executing their area of work really well and leave the handling of the database to those with the appropriate training, like a database administrator or coordinator.


How to have great operational data

Exploration teams from Gold Road, Chalice, AngloGold Ashanti and more choose to use CorePlan AND a database because they believe that high-quality data shouldn’t come at the expense of geology time. Are you ready to join them?

Find out more about the capabilities of CorePlan’s drill program intelligence software, Exploration Hub, or see it for yourself at a free demo on Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

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