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Exploration

There are multiple parameters that drive an exploration drilling contract, ranging from the accessibility of the drilling site, topography, water supply, ground conditions and the customer’s technical requirements. The Company addresses the needs of each project, providing technical advice to the client and proposing a package of equipment, drilling methods and procedures to fulfill the needs of the contract. The Company specializes in operating in harsh environments, including deserts, rain forests, high altitudes, Arctic territories and remote locations. It has developed specific equipment tailored to meet its customer’s needs, including:

  • Specialized combination rigs that optimize exploration drilling efficiency for its customers. This enables the client to conduct the RC DTH percussive drilling and diamond core drilling with the same rig and crew.
  • Specially developed heli-portable drilling rigs and equipment to facilitate access to locations in rugged and remote terrain with little established infrastructure.
  • The Company’s many years of experience in remote regions of Africa allow it to offer complete turnkey solutions to its customers, including lodging, catering, transportation and logistical support in addition to its drilling expertise. The Company also has extensive experience drilling volcanic formations which are of significant interest to Geothermal Project Managers.

Development — Geotechnical & Bulk Sampling

Development stage drilling is typically undertaken to define (quality and quantity) a resource for the planning and construction of a new mine site, or the expansion of an existing mining project. External and internal financing requires a definitive review of the project economics (grade and volume of mineralization) before funds are committed to advance a project, regardless of whether this is a new mine or an extension to an existing operation. To obtain sufficient definition of the ore body, development drilling often requires very large volumes of drill holes to be created to both provide detailed definition and to probe the boundaries of the ore body. During the development phase, the Company often mobilizes additional rigs to the site, performing larger drilling campaigns, “ramping up” from the earlier exploration stage. Drilling services are often of the same type, but volumes and duration much larger. It is during the development stage that Foraco markets some of its more technical drilling techniques, such as:

  • Large diameter bulk sampling utilizing destructive drilling techniques. These techniques provide customers with a large tonnage of ore, typically for pilot plant processing before the mine is put into production.
  • Large diameter core drilling which allows customers to obtain bulk samples with the large cores which are required for geotechnical and metallurgical assessment of the ore body (as required by mining and production engineers).

Development stage drilling services are typically longer term contracts with larger mining companies that require multiple drilling rigs. These contracts represent a more significant commitment from the driller in terms of resources, staffing and logistical support.

Production

Production stage drilling involves drilling within the mine boundaries and includes both surface and underground operations. Operating mines require drilling services to further delineate the ore body for mine planning and grade control over the life of the mine. Production drilling is also required to control or obtain water. Large diameter water wells are often drilled to supply the mine with process water, or to extract water from the vicinity of the mine to improve mining conditions (depressurization wells). One specialized area of production stage drilling is drilling for the solution mining industry such as potash, magnesium or uranium. Solution mining is a technique that utilizes a drill hole to extract the valuable components from a mineral deposit using an aqueous leaching medium. These highly technical programs involve the drilling of injection wells to introduce the leaching solution, and extraction wells to recover the dissolved minerals. A market in which Foraco has recently entered is the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) market, also known as Coal Seam Gas (CSG). Foraco is drilling for CBM in Australia in exploration and Production projects in shallow (up to 1000m) deposits, with specially retrofitted mineral drilling rigs. This niche expertise is an offering which we intend to bring to different regions. During the life of a mine there are often opportunities for near mine exploration to expand the scope or scale of the mine or for the mining company to establish additional pits or operations that can utilize the existing mine infrastructure. The life of mine extension projects often requires significant drilling services and often utilizes multiple drilling types.