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The Rise of the Digital Drill Contractor in Mineral Exploration

April 26, 2023

The Rise of the Digital Drill Contractor in Mineral Exploration

Sachee's Medium Articles
Written by
Sachee Perera

In recent years, the mineral exploration industry has seen a huge shift as drill contractors ditch traditional paper plods for digital systems. This change has been fueled by the need for better data management, improved accuracy, and enhanced collaboration among exploration teams.

Paper plods are becoming fossils in this digital age and today, choosing the right drill contractor now means picking one with the digital forward thinking mindset to deliver accurate and reliable data and costs.

Why Drill Contractors are Going Digital Now

So, why are drill contractors jumping on the digital bandwagon? There are a few good reasons:

Technological advancements: Cutting-edge tech has made digital systems more accessible, reliable, and affordable than ever. Drill contractors are now able to use these innovations to step up their game and offer clients better services.

Increased competition: With the drilling industry getting more competitive, contractors need to find ways to stand out. Adopting digital systems lets them offer clients better accuracy, efficiency, and data management, giving them a leg up on the competition.

Demand for real-time data and analytics to optimise performance: Mineral exploration companies are all about real-time data and analytics these days. Drill contractors who embrace digital systems can deliver this valuable info faster and more efficiently, making them a top choice for clients.

Environmental and social responsibility: Going digital can help drill contractors reduce their environmental impact by ditching paper-based documentation and cutting down on waste. Plus, digital systems can improve safety by streamlining communication and managing health and safety risks more effectively.

Regulatory compliance: Staying on the right side of the law is crucial, and digital systems make it easier to track and report compliance-related info. This means less risk of fines or penalties for non-compliance.

By going digital, drill contractors are staying ahead of the curve, offering top-notch services to clients, and staying competitive in a fast-paced market.

Types of Digital Systems Adopted by Drill Contractors

The digital revolution in the drilling industry is as varied as the mineral deposits we’re after. Drill contractors have adopted different digital systems, each with its own perks. Let’s take a closer look at the three main types of digital systems making waves in the drilling world.

1. Adoption of existing commercial solutions

Many drill contractors have chosen to integrate established solutions that were developed some time ago into their operations. These systems offer features that help with data collection and management, keeping exploration teams in the know about their drilling projects. But, these solutions might not cover every specific need or nuance for each operation.

These systems might have been ground breaking at the time however haven’t kept up with the demands of either running a drilling operations or requirements for collaboration internally or with their clients.

2. Development of custom digital systems

For some drill contractors, the limitations of existing solutions have pushed them to create their own custom digital systems. These tailor-made solutions cater to a contractor’s unique operational requirements, giving them a perfect fit. But, custom systems can be resource-intensive to develop and maintain, and they might lack the support or updates of more established platforms.

3. Transition to modern drilling SaaS platforms like CorePlan or Krux

Say hello to the new kids on the block: modern drilling SaaS platforms like CorePlan and Krux. These cloud-based solutions offer a comprehensive suite of features designed for the modern digital drill contractor. With built-in data validation, real-time data sharing, and analytics, these platforms are quickly becoming the go-to choice for drill contractors looking to work smarter and better serve their clients.

By partnering with a contractor using the right digital solution, you’ll make sure your drilling projects run smoothly, efficiently, and accurately.

What to expect when you’re expecting (to work with a digital drill contractor)

When you choose a digital drill contractor, you’ll be digging into a treasure trove of real-time data and streamlined processes. Going with a contractor that uses a digital solution means you’ll get drilling data in a format that helps you better understand your drill program.

Efficient delivery of data through Excel formats

Digital drill contractors can quickly deliver drilling data in easy-to-use formats like Excel. That means no more sorting through piles of paperwork or trying to read messy handwriting. Instead, you get streamlined, organised data that’s a breeze to analyse and share with your team.

Faster data delivery compared to paper or manual Excel systems

Since drill contractors are probably using a mobile or tablet, data is captured, processed, and delivered in near real-time. Your exploration team can make well-informed decisions on the fly, and you can say goodbye to waiting for paper plods or dealing with clunky spreadsheets.

Improved data accuracy and validation in digital systems

Errors can really slow things down, but digital drill contractors have your back. Most systems come with built-in validation tools that help make sure drilling data is accurate and complete, cutting down on the risk of costly mistakes.

Positive impact on geologists and other team members’ time within the mining company

By automating data capture and processing, your team gets more time to focus on what they do best: interpreting data, planning, strategizing, and — most importantly — DOING MORE GEOLOGY. Less time wrangling data means more time for uncovering valuable insights and making data-driven decisions. #FreeTheGeos

Enhanced data quality for resource modelling and estimation

With digital systems, you’ll collect top-notch data, which translates to more accurate resource modelling and estimation. Better data leads to better predictions and more informed decisions, giving your mining company a competitive edge.

In a nutshell, choosing a digital drill contractor is like striking gold in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and innovation. Embrace the digital revolution and watch your mining company’s exploration efforts soar.

Benefits of Selecting a Modern Drill Contractor VS others using General or Custom Systems

The digital drilling world offers plenty of solutions, but not every system is equally effective. Modern drill contractors using CorePlan or Krux, cutting-edge drilling SaaS (software as a service) platform, stand out as the top choice for exploration teams who want the best performance.

The following comparison highlights the issues with general or custom systems and the advantages of modern drill contractors using CorePlan. We’ll dive into the benefits for exploration teams for each point.

Integrated governance and validation controls for accurate data recording

CorePlan drill contractors don’t just collect data; they refine it for optimal accuracy. The platform’s built-in governance and validation controls ensure drilling intervals, time activities, and downhole activities are recorded with exceptional precision. In contrast, contractors using custom or general digital systems might face issues with overlapping or missing intervals due to weak internal validation.

Comprehensive supervisor review for precise data sharing

Drilling Supervisors can examine submitted data on a shift-by-shift basis from the field, promoting super accurate data sharing. This level of validation is often missing in custom or general digital systems, which can lead to discrepancies or delays in data delivery.

Secure data delivery through the CorePlan Plod Portal

Your drill contractor will provide you with supervisor-approved data via CorePlan’s Plod Portal — a secure environment for accessing your drilling data. On the other hand, custom or general digital systems often rely on email for data delivery, which is less secure and vulnerable to potential data breaches.

Streamlined review, approval, and resubmission process via the Plod Portal

The Plod Portal, exclusive to CorePlan, simplifies the review and approval process or drilling data. With an intuitive interface, it’s easy for exploration teams to request modifications or ask questions, ensuring you get the most accurate data possible. Custom or general digital systems might lack this level of communication and collaboration, leading to potential issues and delays in the review process.

Real-time access to daily drilling production and costs

CorePlan drill contractors offer real-time access to their daily drilling activities, giving exploration teams a transparent view of progress and costs. This level of detail is often missing in custom or general digital systems, where cost might be only available after project completion, limiting your ability to monitor expenses and make data-driven decisions.

Choosing your next drill contractor

The digital revolution in the mineral exploration industry has changed the game for drill contractors, exploration teams, and mining companies alike. By choosing a digital drill contractor that uses an advanced SaaS platform like CorePlan, you’ll gain access to accurate, real-time data, and streamlined collaboration, ultimately leading to better decision-making and improved exploration outcomes.

CorePlan has put together a directory of drill contractors in Australia with detail, including whether they use CorePlan.

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