How drill program planning software can transform your exploration drilling operations
Up until now, for most exploration professionals, the words ‘drill planning software’ probably bring to mind tools like Leapfrog and Micromine that are used to plan where to drill.
But what about when it comes to how to actually execute the drill plan in the field? (And no, we’re not talking about dip and azimuth here).
There’s a whole lot of activity that needs to happen before that rig starts drilling - or even arrives on site, not to mention the rigmarole that happens after the hole has been drilled.
For many exploration teams, this is organised on spreadsheets, clipboards and maps in the office.
And for a long time, it worked well enough.
But those days are coming to an end - no doubt faster than many would like.
As the cost of drilling goes up, budgets go down, and we are forced to look deeper than ever before for our next discoveries, it’s becoming more and more important to make sure that time and money spent in the field is done so wisely.
This is why more and more exploration managers and geology teams are now turning to drill program planning software to plan, execute and optimise their drilling campaigns.
What is drill program planning software?
Drill program planning software is a project management tool that encompasses all of the activities that happen between deciding where you’re going to drill (your drill plan), all the way through to completion. This includes pre and post-drilling activity workflows for field crews, drill plod validation and approvals, rig scheduling, budgeting, tenement cost management, sample tracking, drilling performance analytics and more.
Who is it for?
Drill program planning software is a collaborative tool that brings the entire team together onto one platform to plan and run drill programs together.
This includes your fieldies, management, geos, lab staff, database administrators, payroll and even your drilling contractors.
That means no more trawling through folders and spreadsheets, waiting for emails or confusion about where to look for data. It’s all there in one place in real time so everyone can just get on with it.
What are the benefits of drill program planning software?
There are many benefits to be gained by using software to optimise your field operations.
Here are three key benefits:
Improved project management and coordination
As an Exploration Manager, you may have wondered what strategies you can use to allocate resources as efficiently as possible. Or how you can make adjustments on the fly if your needs change throughout the drilling process.
Context is key. So it’s much harder to make decisions like these when you don’t have all of the data you need, when you need it, in one place.
This is one of the key benefits of drill program planning software. Because it offers a centralised place to track rigs, field activities, sampling, costs and drilling performance, it becomes much easier and faster to make contextual, data-driven decisions using real-time insights from your drilling operations.
Geologists want to listen to the geology and follow the cues found in the core - not hash out repetitive drill programs to meet metre targets.
Drill program planning software can help geology teams run more agile operations, where drilling plans can be altered based on real-time findings. By centralising and standardising the process from site prep through to sampling and dispatch to the lab, samples can be turned around faster, drill plans adjusted, and investors informed sooner - all helping to give your team the best possible chance of making a hit.
Cost and scheduling control
It’s never been more important to run drill programs to (or under) budget. Having a close eye on your cost per metre is critical to ensure that you don’t blow all of your cash before you make a discovery.
Drill program planning software can help you to stay on top of your costs by keeping you informed of your moving cost per metre and how this compares to your initial budget. It can even forecast future costs based on past drilling performance.
It works by matching your drill plod data to your drill contractors’ cost contracts at the end of every shift, giving you immediate visibility into your drill production and costs for that shift across every rig, the drill program to date - and even across your entire business.
Using the same dataset, it can even give you an estimated time to completion and assist you to schedule rigs to drill holes in your desired order based on drilling speed.
Drilling software for exploration teams
With so much time and energy injected into the drill plan, it’s important to set your team up for success.
It’s no wonder that drill program planning software is fast becoming an essential tool for exploration managers wanting to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their drilling programs.
However, it’s not the only drilling software being used by exploration teams.
Our complete guide to drilling software for exploration teams breaks down the latest in drilling software for mineral exploration and gives you the facts you need to know to make an informed decision about drilling software for your team.