Water drips from a diamond drill core as it defrosts indoors. Winter is the only season that heavy equipment can make it across Finland’s marshy tundra. And thanks to well-managed drilling data, one frigid site is worth the cold.
Mawson Resources already drilled the country’s best gold intersection in the last ten years – six metres at 617 grams.
Now, they’re exploring a location eight kilometres east where gold and cobalt grades and continuity were significant.
They’ve drilled over 30 km of diamond core in the last two years, and have even bigger projects in the future.
“When you’ve got four drill rigs going, if you can’t manage the data you can lose control,” says Nick Cook, president of Mawson Resources.
“Otherwise you don’t learn enough. And it’s very easy to waste money drilling the wrong place.”
The resource exploration company chose MX Deposit, a cloud-based drill hole and sample data management platform, for an accessible place to log and analyse their drill hole data, as well as export it to enhance their 3D geological models.
Project status at a glance
“For somebody with my basic computing skill set, who is focussed on keeping geologists on the rocks, we get the assay data imported, verified, and work out details of the intersections within minutes rather than a day or two days.”
Nick works in Australia, the drill site is in Northern Finland, and Mawson Resources is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Their team needed a way to monitor how the project was moving forward, from any location.
MX Deposit’s dashboard view provides managers with drilling progress status and real-time data updates.
“Because you can see it, you can actually say, ‘Okay, this hole is being logged. This is what they’re actually doing,’” says Nick.
Better understanding, better results
Instead of searching through multiple emails and spreadsheets, MX Deposit allows drill hole data, comments, and assay results to be interpreted in one single location.
By having a big picture view of their data, Mawson Resources learned vital information about the control they were using – which led to big discoveries.
“The understanding of that control allowed us to improve the program. And it ended up that eight of the last 12 holes were the best of the 2019 winter season in terms of intersections,” says Nick.
Quick QA/QC matches
“It takes me two minutes to match the data that comes back from the lab with the original sample information,”
Originally, the company’s assay results would come back from the lab, be entered into a spreadsheet, and then sent off to a third party who would look for QA/QC issues.
In MX Deposit, Nick’s team uploads the lab results right into the app, matching them with the core samples in an instant.
“It takes me two minutes to match the data that comes back from the lab with the original sample information,” says Nick.
“In the past, you could wait 24 hours, and you’d have to make a temporary spreadsheet file, and you have to do the matching yourself.”
Drilling data goes 3D
Mawson Resources’ next drill project requires substantially more directional drilling and downhill surveys.
“Once you go past the exploration stage to resource expansion, you have to be much more precise in your aiming of the drill bit,” says Nick. “We know where we need to drill, so we have to be smart in the process”.
Understanding the entire system is pivotal to avoid going deep in the wrong direction. Their team exports MX Deposit drill hole data into Leapfrog Geo to enhance their 3D geological models.
“Sometimes people struggle to believe continuity, for example,” Nick explains.
“If you’re just looking at a plan, trying to work out what the continuity grade is – it’s tough until you can actually see the volumes in 3D.”
Drill data in Leapfrog Geo shows the full 3D shape of the inferred deposits, giving confidence to decisionmakers and investors.
Changing with the seasons
“Our plan at the moment is primarily resource expansion. And working on getting our data into a great standard so that we can produce a new inferred resource,” Nick says.
As Mawson Resource’s drill program expands, MX Deposit will scale with their team: adding users and fields as needed.
To reach an exploration target of 2.5 M ounces of gold, Nick’s team still has kilometres of core to drill – and to thaw – when Finland’s winter sets in again.