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Roadmap to Mineral Exploration Guide 101

Comprehensive guide for geologists and mineral exploration companies

Roadmap to Mineral Exploration Guide

Mineral exploration has grown significantly in recent years, acting as a pillar for both mining and economic activities. We, at Grid, have meticulously curated a guide on mineral exploration - Roadmap to Mineral Exploration. It is a guide that takes an interdisciplinary approach in explaining the fundamentals of mineral exploration. Download the free e-guide today and get the Mineral Exploration Guide!

Mineral Exploration Drilling

Importance of drilling

Drilling is one of the most important, and can be the most expensive, of all mineral exploration procedures. Drilling is used to obtain detailed information about rock types, mineral content, rock fabric, and the relationship between the rock layers close to the surface and at depth. The aim of most drilling activities is to retrieve a sample which can be chemically analysed for a particular resource and used to identify the type of rock material that occurs at a given depth below the surface.

Different methods of drilling

There are a large number of different drilling techniques. Three basic types that are most commonly used in mineral exploration, in order of increasing cost, are auger drilling, rotary percussion drilling and diamond drilling.

Auger Drilling

This drilling method generally uses a hand-held auger or an auger mounted on a light vehicle. This is quite similar to a posthole digger used by farmers when fencing. This drilling method is generally used for shallow boreholes and requires little site preparation.

Rotary Percussion Drilling

In rotary percussion drilling, a variety of blades or roller bits are mounted on the end of a rotating string of rods that cut and break the rock. A percussion or hammer action in conjunction with a chisel bit can be used to penetrate hard material.

Diamond Drilling

Diamond drilling uses a rotating hollow industrial grade diamond-encrusted drill bit to grind or cut the rock producing a cylindrical core sample. To assist the process, diamond drilling uses water and drilling fluid to lubricate the drill bit. The drilling fluids are contained in either in-ground sumps or above ground tanks.

Alternatives for drilling with less environmental impact

New and advancing technologies such as satellites, remote sensory devices, global positioning systems, and seismic technology that records in 3- and 4-D have significantly reduced the risk of harm to land and marine ecosystems from mineral exploration and drilling endeavors. These technologies greatly reduce the time and impact of exploration, since they make these efforts far more efficient while minimizing the drilling areas with new slimhole and mobile drilling rigs.

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