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Why now is a great time to review your exploration tech stack

December 20, 2022

Why now is a great time to review your exploration tech stack

Exploration Software
Digital Transformation
Written by
Sachee Perera

High quality data is key to a successful drill program. But, even the best data won’t help you if it’s not available in the right format, at the right time.

Your tech stack (or lack thereof) plays a crucial role in helping you to interpret your data and determine if the money you’re spending is translating into metres drilled. 

If you can’t quickly and easily find the answer to this, and other important questions, you’re at risk of wasting resources or missing vital opportunities that may have major consequences on the results of your drill program.

In this article, I’ll explain what an exploration tech stack is, and why you should evaluate how well yours is serving you right now - not in six, twelve or eighteen months' time. 

 

What is an exploration tech stack?

Your tech stack (or ‘software stack’) is the combination of digital tools that your team uses to run your exploration drilling campaigns. 

Your exploration tech stack likely includes geology-specific software packages like Leapfrog, Micromine or Seequent, but it also probably includes a range of common tools like Microsoft Excel, DropBox or Google Drive for project management and operational data.

Every explorer’s tech stack will look slightly different, but the end goal they are trying to achieve is the same: to run a drill program on time and on budget

Some tech stacks are better than others at helping exploration professionals monitor progress toward this goal. 

What a high functioning exploration tech stack looks like

As a general rule, your exploration software stack should feel like it ‘just works’ for your team.

It should be easy to use, help you reduce time spent doing manual work, and enable quick access to the insights you need to make informed decisions. 

If you’re working with a software tool and wondered if there’s a better way, there probably is - and now is a great time to see what's available. Here's why.

 

So, why now?

Expectations are changing

The expectations of stakeholders, including shareholders and boards, are changing. Return on investment is key amidst tighter budgets and increased economic pressure. Dynamic, data-driven drill program management where cash is reallocated today, is becoming the new normal.

If you’re still having to manually tracking your costs or using slow, outdated software that makes it hard to see exactly where your money is going, you’re exposed to risks like:

  • excessive cost per metre
  • inadequate penetration rate
  • incorrect line items
  • preventable wastage of consumables

and more.

This is why it's critical that your software helps your team keep pace with the rig - so that you can keep your fingers on the pulse. By falling behind, you’re losing valuable time to make decisions during a limited field season. There could be nothing worse than realising you should have ended a hole or changed course days or even weeks after the fact, but the money’s already been spent! 

Just because your tech stack worked for you when you first set it up four years ago doesn’t mean it’s the best solution for your team now.

It’s time to start preparing for mining’s digital future. The way the industry works has changed, even compared to one or two years ago.

Just because your tech stack worked for you when you first set it up four years ago doesn’t mean it’s the best solution for your team now. Exploration technology has become more sophisticated, increasing the capacity of Exploration Managers to run agile drill programs where decisions are made based on the results of the last shift. 

Rising costs and a hot labour market

Prices are rising, and there’s no sign of them slowing down soon. With everything from fuel to lettuce costing significantly more, it’s pertinent that you’re across your financial position and have a firm grasp on your costs.

At the same time, we're also seeing an ultra-competitive labour market. Wages are rising due to the shortage of geologists, and working conditions play a major role in the race for people.

If your software tools create additional stress and burdens on your staff, there’s a risk they’ll leave for greener pastures, where they can spend more time on what they want to be doing - geology.

Plus, if your data management systems are inadequate, departing staff may inadvertently take knowledge and insights with them, leaving you without the critical data you need to ensure continuity and the success of the drill program. 

Compliance is key

The new Australian Labour Government is expected to take a strong stance on the environment. It’s not unreasonable to expect that regulations and reporting requirements across the mining sector will be affected.

Having operational oversight, strong data collection processes and accessible records will be important to make sure you’re meeting your compliance goals.

The faster and easier it is for your people to record the data, the more likely they are to stick to it amidst the pressure of the drill program.    

 

Software for Exploration Managers to manage their operational data in one place

The power of automation has officially arrived in exploration. New tools are entering the market that can help you increase your team and contractor performance, reduce costs or both. By automating manual processes like invoicing and reporting, Exploration Managers have the time and the tools to improve the operation of their drill programs, communicate better within their teams and share results with their stakeholders.

If your software package can shine a light on every aspect of your operations in real-time, on-demand, it becomes significantly easier to optimise efficiency and compliance and nip issues in the bud before things can escalate. User-friendly data collection and record-keeping systems that your staff will actually use will be essential to protecting your business both now and in the future. 

Project management software built for exploration teams

Modern exploration operations management software, like drill program intelligence software, gives time-poor Exploration Managers the tools they need to track their costs and drilling progress in real-time and run more effective drill programs. By centralising operational data into one place, it’s quick and easy to flag issues in the drill program before they escalate and ensure that money going into the project is resulting in metres drilled. 

Coreplan-to-this

 

CorePlan's Exploration Hub offers Exploration Managers these capabilities - and more.

CorePlan makes it easy for Exploration Managers and their teams to:

  • review and approve daily drill reports delivered in any format
  • track actual, expected and projected costs
  • visualise and track pre and post-drilling field activities by hole
  • generate progress reports
  • raise and track SDO’s

and more.

See how exploration companies like yours are using CorePlan to run more effective drill programs.

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