How to spend less time on paperwork using drilling reporting software for exploration teams
Every geologist laments how much time they spend on paperwork and reporting as opposed to geology.
Paperwork is one of the downsides of a geologist’s job, and, unfortunately, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
But if it isn’t going anywhere - surely there has to be a better way?
Enter drilling reporting software; a digital tool being used by a growing number of exploration teams like Chalice Mining, BHP and others. Teams that asked this very question, and who are now getting through mountains of paperwork in just a few clicks so they can get back to the work that matters most.
What is drilling reporting software?
Drilling reporting software is a new kind of software used by exploration teams to produce cost and productivity reports on drilling activities such as drill production, time activities, utilisation, consumable usage and more.
It differs from traditional software because it uses automation to produce these reports, removing double-handling in the reporting process. It works by importing drill contractors’ daily drilling reports, standardising the data across contractors, running it against the drilling rate schedule and instantly pushing it into a range of useful reports.
The result is more time and energy spent on geology, and less on paperwork.
Who uses drilling reporting software and when do they use it?
Depending on the size and scope of your drilling project, drilling reporting software is used by Geologists, Senior Geologists and Exploration Managers as frequently as daily to run drill production and cost reports.
Database Administrators and Database Geologists can also use the software to run a suite of reports, or to integrate the data into the database.
Even Managing Directors can use it to produce board and investor progress reports about their drilling programs.
What kinds of exploration drilling reports can you generate using drilling reporting software?
There are a wide range of reports that can be generated using the automation found in drilling reporting software.
Currently, reports are compatible with data captured from RC, diamond, auger, rotary, aircore and hydro rigs, plus multi-purpose drill rigs or hybrid drill rigs.
Let’s explore the types of reports that can be generated using this automation.
Daily, weekly and monthly drill production reports
If you need a quick summary report of how many metres you’ve drilled by shift, date and rig over a day, week, month or other custom time report, a drill production report is the best place to start.
It brings in all of the data from your daily drilling reports to make it really easy to understand the productivity of each of your rigs and how each contributes to your cumulative metres drilled and moving average of metres drilled over time. The report can be used to compare rigs, day and night shifts and drill type to provide insights into your contractors’ overall performance over a given time period.
A helpful resource and time-saver when it’s time to put together your weekly activity reports or weekly geo reports!
Drilling cost reporting
Drilling is the biggest and most variable expense in your exploration budget. Nobody wants a nasty surprise at the end of the month - or to have to go back to the MD to explain that you won’t be able to hit your meterage goals for the drill program because you will run out of cash.
However, it can be really complex to calculate your actual incurred costs because of conditional clauses in drilling rate schedules like minimum shift and slow pen rates.
Drilling reporting software makes this process really easy by enabling access to actual and projected costs in real-time by using automation. It can even calculate conditional clauses for you by implementing cost contract rules for laser-sharp, instantaneous cost calculation.
Simply by importing your drill plods, the software will do the work for you and automatically produce the report in just a few seconds, making it easy to stay aware of your real-time costs and other important metrics like burn rate. This is important because what gets measured, gets managed - and there’s nothing more important to manage than your costs!
Daily drilling reporting review and acceptance reports
An important daily task of the geology team is to review and sign off on daily drilling reports (plods / DDRs) from drill contractors to ensure the metres and charges are an accurate reflection of what happened on site that day.
Until now, most geology teams used emails, spreadsheets or even grainy photos of paper plods to complete this process.
The problem with operating in this way is that there’s no clear chain of custody for the drill plod. Unless someone is manually recording the task as complete, it’s just about impossible to know if the plod has been sighted and verified, and there’s nothing to prompt you to follow up on any outstanding data from your drilling contractors.
Using drilling reporting software, the transfer of data between drilling contractors and exploration teams can be done automatically without the need for emails and a complex back-and-forth process.
A two-way review and acceptance process between both parties then occurs directly from within the drilling reporting software, so that any issues with the plod are resolved prior to sign-off and billing.
As each plod is received, it’s tabled against a plod count by rig report so that it’s easy to ensure that every plod is received, and all outstanding plods are reviewed, approved or rejected.
Drilling consumable usage reporting
The cost of consumables, such as drill bits, hammers, rods, and fluids, can significantly impact your overall drilling costs. Not only are these consumables expensive, but their use needs to be optimised for both cost and performance control.
For example, changing a drill bit can impact the overall metres drilled during a shift, but drilling too long with a worn-out bit can decrease penetration rate and reduce effectiveness. By using drilling reporting software, exploration teams can track drill bit charges by rig, monitor changes in penetration rate, and identify trends over time to ensure that drill bits aren't being under or overused.
The software generates a consumable use report automatically, freeing up geologists' time to analyse data and make informed decisions. With automated consumable reporting, teams can also identify which rigs are using more or less consumables and make adjustments to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Rig time activity reporting
Because drilling is the most expensive and variable cost in an exploration project, exploration teams want to make sure that the bit is on the bottom for as much of the shift as possible.
A rig time activity report can give you a full breakdown of your rig utilisation, including the amount of time a rig is actively drilling versus other productive and non-productive activities. This can help exploration teams to identify obstacles to the rigs’ progress so that downtime can be reduced and efficiency can be increased.
Automate your drilling reports using drilling reporting software for geologists and exploration teams
Do you want your geos spending more time on geology and less time on repetitive paperwork?
If you’re like most of the Exploration Managers we talk to, you probably answered yes. So it’s no surprise that drilling reporting software is quickly becoming an essential part of many geologists’ tools kits and weekly activity reporting workflows.
However, it’s just one of many new types of drilling software being adopted by exploration teams.
Our complete guide to drilling software for exploration teams breaks down the latest in drilling software for mineral exploration, giving you the facts you need to know to make an informed decision about drilling software for your team.