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When Red Pine Exploration started to intersect multiple gold-bearing zones at its Wawa Gold project in northeastern Ontario last year, managing the drill logs and results in addition to recently re-sampled historical core became increasingly cumbersome.

The junior explorer’s outdated logging system was in a rigid Access format that couldn’t accept field and code changes or import assay results from the lab. Geologists were spending too much time inputting data manually and coming up with workarounds in Excel, reducing the time they had for fieldwork and interpretation.

Red Pine’s current exploration program at its Wawa Gold project includes mapping, sampling 42,000 metres of historical core, completing geophysical and geochemical surveys, and drilling.

Red Pine decided to seek an alternative. Purchasing new software was beyond the company’s means and hiring a third party was costly and would involve unwelcomed wait times while the project remained dynamic.

Red Pine may have found a solution in MX Deposit, a new subscription software for drill hole and sample data management launched by Geosoft and Minalytix earlier this year. MX Deposit is an agile cloud-based system designed specifically for exploration that can be accessed from anywhere, adheres to industry standards, and encourages real-time collaboration.

MX Deposit provides a subscription-based model for drill hole data management that can be scaled to a company’s needs.

“We like MX Deposit for its flexibility, the fact that we don’t have to hire extra staff to manage the software, and for the timely manner in which changes can be made and implemented in the field,” says Red Pine’s data manager Eric Steffler, who subscribed to MX Deposit to support a 10,000-metre drill program on the Wawa Gold project this spring. “We’ll be able to create new forms and lists for the geologists that will better depict the geology, alteration and mineralization we are looking for.”

MX Deposit eliminates the upfront expense of most commercial solutions by following a subscription-based model that can be scaled up or down depending on a company’s needs. “The flexibility of the software and subscription model make it ideal for junior companies, “ Steffler says. “We can also use the subscription as an (100% deductible) exploration expense instead of applying it to corporate overhead.”

The Wawa Gold project is ambitious. Red Pine is aiming to expand the project’s known inferred resource and outline a mineralized corridor between several historical gold mines on the property. The company’s current exploration program includes mapping, sampling 42,000 metres of historical core, completing geophysical and geochemical surveys, and drilling. If results warrant a larger program, Red Pine will be able to upscale MX Deposit to match the work and personnel. Eventually, the company hopes to use MX Deposit to tailor logging structures and codes to each property in its portfolio and to collaborate on projects

Real-time collaboration is also an important attribute for Nighthawk Gold, which is beginning to use MX Deposit to manage data from its drilling program on the Colomac gold project and other priority gold targets within its regional land package in the Northwest Territories. “We hope to speed up the process of drill hole data collection and allow easy interaction between the database and our 3D modelling and interpretation software, Geosoft Target,” says Lorraine Dupuis, who manages the company’s geological modelling and GIS applications.

MX Deposit’s Android app promises more efficient data collection by allowing field personnel to enter drilling and sampling information in the core shack. Once they return to their offices, the data is automatically synced to the cloud through an internet connection. A built-in activity feed allows geologists to collaborate: if the field geologist is unsure of a rock type, for instance, they can securely post a photo to the cloud to request feedback from colleagues anywhere in the world.

Dupuis says trust played a role in Nighthawk’s decision to try MX Deposit. “We have local support by people with proven expertise in database management and we trust them in guiding us with the best practices for collecting data,” she says.

MX Deposit is particularly useful to groups who lack in-house data administration. “As a software service, we remove a lot of the secondary supports you need to manage a drilling database,” says Steve Randall, VP of marketing for Geosoft, which will provide sales and data management expertise under their partnership with MX Deposit developer Minalytix. “Minalytix has built a lot of industry best practices into the solution, including standards for lab analysis and quality control.”

Built-in corporate governance standards could also help larger exploration companies engage in multiple joint ventures with juniors. Majors often have to re-input data on projects operated by joint venture partners in order to meet their own data management and quality control standards. An affordable, easily accessible solution with consistent, best practice inputs by every partner would introduce significant efficiencies and lower overall project risk.

“MX Deposit is a new software-as-a-service solution for classic drill hole data management, and the main benefit is the way it does that,” says Randall. “The ability for multiple groups to access data in real-time in the cloud with security, rather than relying on a centralized in-house network, is key.”