Now in the advanced stages of research and development (R&D), field testing in Western Australia's Pilbara Region has confirmed the drill rig's ability to halve the carbon footprint of traditional exploration drilling programmes, with exceptional operational and environmental outcomes.
The GM1's performance in exploration drilling programmes at six separate sites across the state showed a significant reduction in fuel consumption of up to 400l per 11-hour shift at RC configurations, and 60l per 11-hour shift at diamond configurations, as well as reducing ambient noise emissions.
The GM1 can also commence drilling in reverse circulation mode and change to diamond coring within three hours, substantially less than current market changeover configurations, which typically take between 1-3 days.
Commenting on the driving factors for innovation, Geomagnetic Design founder and general manager, Darren Papst said: "Drillers are facing growing scrutiny and pressure from governments, investors and communities to exceed environmental considerations in their programme design. We made it our business to address a multitude of performance factors that have never been achieved in one drill rig.
"Once our R&D is complete later this year, our solution will be the first of its kind, an ‘all in one' RC and diamond rig that delivers reduced fuel consumption, carbon output and noise emissions all while covering more ground, with fewer holes and fewer metres."
Designed and manufactured at the company's headquarters in Perth, Australia, the patented blueprint for the GM1 utilises a hydraulic system, enabling the rig to operate with a drastically reduced carbon output (from 59kg per hour down to 29kg per hour) while still retaining the same operational capacity as competitor rigs. As well as halving carbon emissions, the physical machine footprint is notably smaller than other drill rigs - measuring just 2.5m x 3m. The GM1 rig requires support from only one air truck.
Unique to the GM1 drill rig is its ability to conduct shallow angle reverse circulation (RC) drilling on two axes. This capability has been addressed during R&D and if successful in future trials, will provide a cheaper form of drilling that allows clients to cover more ground with fewer holes and fewer metres.
The concept of a magnetically driven drill rig has been a long-time plan of Papst. Founding Geomagnetic Design in February 2021, Papst did not waste any time from kicking off the process to licensing a fully-fledged rig the same month.
"I began ideating the GM1 drill rig years ago when I noticed a gap in the market between having a superior-functioning rig versus having a sustainable, environmentally designed rig.
"This current drill rig that we aim to go to market with has phenomenal fuel efficiencies, but we don't plan on stopping there. Phase two of our engineering process will involve removing the need for diesel altogether with the use of a magnetic drive in its place," explained Papst.
If the project continues to move at the expected timeline, Geomagnetic Design's GM1 rig could be commercially available as soon as December 2022.
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