Boart Longyear has been serving customers for 129 years with the latest drilling innovations and services. However, at this year's major mining industry event in Canada, PDAC, it chose to focus on how it provides valuable geological data that creates immediate results for customers.
"It's not just about drilling," said Brendan Ryan, chief business development officer for Boart Longyear. "We deliver time-critical, high-quality information to geologists and mining companies to support educated decisions on where to target the next mineral-rich resource."
In order to provide that information, Boart Longyear has introduced a number of geological data services and instrumentation over the last few years to complement its drilling services and products divisions. TruShot digital downhole survey technology was introduced in mid-2018 and is used to capture high-quality, three-dimensional hole path data and to precisely determine the azimuth and dip measurement of boreholes.
TruShot digital downhole survey technology is used to capture high-quality, three-dimensional hole path data
Downhole instrumentation tools are sent down boreholes to provide information to geologists searching for ore bodies. Although the plan is that boreholes follow a straight path below the surface, varying rock properties will cause a drill bit to shift and change direction as it penetrates the underground layers to retrieve core samples. TruShot technology is used to precisely determine the azimuth and dip measurement of the borehole to understand exactly where the hole is located and from where the core is retrieved. From this information, quick and accurate decisions can be made on the eventual locations of the most productive future mineral extraction activities.
"TruShot technology is a new magnetic downhole survey tool optimised for field deployment in mineral exploration activities," said Boart Longyear's Geological Data Services, Mike Ravella. "Drillers are using TruShot to capture high-quality, three-dimensional hole path data that is helping our clients to accurately target mineral resources.
"Operators are finding out how easy the TruShot tools are to use," added Ravella. "They are robust, reliable, and provide immediate access to accurate survey results."
Boart Longyear's instrumentation line-up continues with the TruCore core orientation tool. Oriented core is increasingly playing an important role in deposit definition and structural analysis. TruCore provides a solution to determining the true direction of the mineralisation of a geological feature, deposit and the associated structure.
"In a discussion about which core orientation platform to use for a planned exploration project, our manager saw the TruCore system at a recent trade show. One thing we liked about it was the ease of use. The handheld unit allows the driller to activate the tool with a very minimal amount of delay," said Arthur L. Smith, senior exploration geologist, Hecla Silver Valley says about his recent experience with TruCore.
He continued: "Another distinct advantage was the tooling did not require disassembly to obtain the orientation mark. The TruCore orientation tool proved to be robust with no problems encountered under tough field conditions. Our team has used other core orientation tools in the past and we found the TruCore tool to fit more seamlessly with the drilling process. We found that the TruCore tool performed with consistency with no flaws found in our data results that were attributable to the instrumentation or the process defined by Boart for its use.
"Given the very positive experience with the Boart team and performance of the design and technology, we would certainly use the TruCore tool again and would recommend the system for core orientation in core drilling programs," he concluded.
The third innovation from Boart Longyear that has quickly caught the attention of the exploration industry is TruScan onsite core and chip scanning technology.
TruScan provides geologists with non-destructive, accurate, high-density elemental concentration data for same-day continuous analysis of drill core.
"Mining companies and geologists are rapidly learning the advantages of having access to tools and services that provide quick and accurate geological data right onsite," said Ravella. "The time to collect the geological data is drastically reduced, significantly lowering the cost of mineral exploration."
Utilising innovative XRF technology specifically built to scan rock, TruScan is designed to provide same-day continuous analysis of the drill core and quickly provide non-destructive, accurate, high-density elemental concentration data. Boart Longyear's own Drilling Services utilises TruScan for elemental and photo scanning of the core at the exploration site, providing geologists access to real-time geological data as the core is drilled.
The system offers high-definition wet, dry, and continuous scan photos (to scale) of the retrieved rock core. This information can be quickly viewed by the geologist and aids in the logging and interpretation of the geology—more accurate conceptual geological models can be built while the drill is still on the borehole. Because the time to collect data is significantly reduced, exploration and mining companies can make accurate and timely decisions on where to drill next or to what depth, thus lowering the costs of collecting and analysing data.
Because it has been previously calibrated, TruScan does not require the operator to have knowledge of XRF analysis. TruScan can be operated by the drill crew, removing the need for additional staff on site. No additional staff onsite once again both minimises the cost to deploy this technology and keeps onsite environmental health and safety related risk low. Boart Longyear offers TruScan as an independent service to mining clients or the technology can be bundled as part of a drilling services agreement. The technology is designed to fit into the normal workflow of Boart Longyear drill crews so there is no decrease in drilling productivity.
Operating a well-designed Boart Longyear drill rig with hands-free rod handling, XQ coring rods and Longyear bits, while utilising TruScan, TruShot, and TruCore technologies for capturing geological data, makes for a complete drilling solution for increased productivity on any drilling exploration project.