Precision Drilling Australia, a leading name in the drilling industry, recently executed a groundbreaking project for a prominent mineral sands and rare earth miner, Iluka. Located 150km north of Perth at the Cataby mine site, this drilling endeavour aimed to obtain essential geotechnical and geochemical samples. The team’s expertise and innovative approach played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the project, even in the face of challenging conditions and difficult access.
Project Scope and Objectives
The project’s primary scope was to acquire geotechnical and geochemical samples to provide crucial insights into the mineral sands and rare earth deposits in the area. Furthermore, the installation of vibrating wire piezometers facilitated accurate groundwater modelling, which is crucial for mining operations and environmental assessments.
Drilling Methodology: PQ3 Diamond Coring
To achieve their objectives efficiently, Precision Drilling Australia deployed the PQ3 diamond coring method. This drilling technique is known for its ability to deliver high-quality core samples, making it ideal for projects where precision and sample recovery are of utmost importance. By utilising PQ3 diamond coring, the team ensured that the obtained samples would offer valuable information about the geological makeup of the region.
The drilling activities encompassed both existing and new pits. This strategic approach allowed the team to explore the geological variations in different locations, maximising the chances of identifying mineral-rich deposits. The selection of drilling locations was crucial in obtaining comprehensive data for the client, Iluka, and played a vital role in the success of the project.
Insitu Testing and Sample Collection
In the pursuit of accurate data, Precision Drilling Australia employed U63 Shelby tubes and standard penetration testing at regular intervals of 1.5 meters. This meticulous approach enabled the team to gather detailed information about the geological strata and identify potential mineral reserves effectively. The focus on drilling muds during the sample collection process was essential to achieving a high level of sample recovery, further enhancing the project’s success.
The Cataby mine site posed several challenges for the drilling team. Difficult access routes and boggy sand conditions required the deployment of specialised equipment to navigate the terrain successfully. Precision Drilling Australia’s expertise in handling such conditions came to the forefront as they efficiently used track-based drill rigs, including the Hydropower Scout V and the Marooka 2200 support asset. These powerful rigs ensured stability and access to hard-to-reach locations, enabling the team to carry out drilling operations effectively.
Vibrating Wire Piezometers and Tremmi Grouting
Precision Drilling Australia demonstrated their commitment to accuracy and data integrity by installing vibrating wire piezometers in every drill hole. These devices helped measure groundwater levels with precision, enabling robust groundwater modelling. The use of tremmi grouting to secure the piezometers in place ensured reliable and accurate readings throughout the project’s duration.
Deep Drilling Achievement
Among the many accomplishments during this project, one notable feat was drilling the deepest hole to a depth of 78 meters. This impressive achievement demonstrated the team’s capabilities and the advanced technology they employed to extract valuable core samples from significant depths.
Precision Drilling Australia’s recent drilling project for Iluka at the Cataby mine site showcased their expertise, innovation, and commitment to excellence. Despite the challenging conditions, the team successfully obtained geotechnical and geochemical samples, providing critical data for mineral sands and rare earth exploration. The use of PQ3 diamond coring, insitu testing, and specialised equipment proved instrumental in achieving a high level of sample recovery and accurate groundwater modelling. Through their exceptional efforts, Precision Drilling Australia further solidified its position as a reliable partner in the mining and exploration industry.