Back to basics. Is it mineralized or not?

In early exploration drilling, the most common question in need of an answer is whether an exploration target is mineralized or not. If it is, the target will be slated for further work. If it is not, the explorer usually moves on to more prospective ground.

First pass drilling

Spend as little as possible drilling barren holes!

On most projects prior to first pass drilling, geological, geochemical and geophysical exploration methods have been used to produce drill targets. No matter how good the initial work, many of these targets will turn out to be barren when tested. Ranking the targets in order of prospectivity is often difficult, especially at the early stage of a project. With this in mind, being able to test more targets and/or different types of targets by using the most cost-effective methods available should significantly increase one’s chances of discovery.

Use the right tool for first pass drilling.

Northspan’s rapid and mobile reverse circulation drills are the results of more than 30 years of design and field experience. “Light-weight, powerful and adaptable” was the design mantra used while developing the drills. Although the Hornet RC drill can be used at any stage of the exploration cycle, it was designed for first pass exploration drilling. Quick, light-weight and rapidly moving, the Hornet RC drill often tests several targets per day. The Hornet RC drill helps take the guess-work out of early exploration.

The Northspan Hornet

The Hornet RC drill is the mainstay of Northspan’s fleet. The Hornet is a modular design with every module weighing approximately 1,250 lbs or less, making the Hornet extremely mobile and a very efficient solution for both helicopter-based and land-based drill programs.

Main components of the basic Hornet package

The Hornet is available in 100 m depth capacity (the Basic Hornet) or 200 m depth capacity (the Super Hornet) configurations. The Hornet drills 92 mm (3 ⅝”) diameter holes at angles between 45 degrees and vertical. The Hornet requires minimal setup time so that, in favourable conditions, multiple drill targets can be tested in a single shift.

Hornet drilling in trench

The drill can be equipped with tracks, to operate as a self-propelled unit while remaining transportable by light-helicopter or Twin Otter aircraft. Northspan refers to the track-mounted Hornet as the Grasshopper.

Super Grasshopper in Greenland

The Hornet drill is ideal for first pass exploration drilling. Originally designed as a rapidly moving drill for kimberlite target testing, the Hornet has since proved its worth exploring for a wide range of commodities at various stages of the exploration cycle from grassroots drilling to resource definition.

Super hornet at Hope Bay

Hornet Specs

Hornet RC 100 m drill - Helicopter lift weight list (assuming 2,000 lbs lift capacity using AS350B2 or similar helicopter).

Module Weight (lbs) Comments
Drill + 20 m Drill rod 1900
Compressor 300 cfm/200 psi 115 hp 2000 Can be split into two parts if required.
Power pack 44 hp 1700 For drill
Drill rod 60 m 2000 5 ft RC rods
Tooling basket + 20 m Drill rod 2000 Cyclone, hammers, down the hole tools, etc.
Total weight approx. 9600 Dry. Including 100 m of drill rod

Number of light helicopter lifts: 5

Fuel consumption: 1 drum diesel per 12 hr shift

Notes: These weights include 30'surface casing. A survival shack may be required in certain jurisdictions/climates.

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Super Hornet Specs

Super Hornet RC 200 m drill - Helicopter lift weight list (assuming 2,000 lbs lift capacity using AS350B2 or similar helicopter)

Module Weight (lbs) Comments
Drill + 20 m Drill Rod 1900
Compressor 300 cfm/200 psi 115 hp 2000 Can be split into two parts if required.
Compressor 300 cfm/200 psi 115 hp 2000 Can be split into two parts if required.
Power Pack 115 hp 2000
Drill rod 60 m 2000 5 ft RC rods
Drill rod 60 m 2000 5 ft RC rods
Drill rod 60 m 2000 5 ft RC rods
Tooling basket + Booster 2000 Down the hole tools, Piston booster
Total weight approx. 15900 Dry. Including 200 m of drill rod

Number of light helicopter lifts: 9

Fuel consumption: 2 drums diesel per 12 hr shift

Notes: These weights include 30' surface casing. A survival shack may be required in certain jurisdictions/climates.

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The Attacus and the Hornet XL

Northspan’s Attacus and Hornet XL drills are multi-purpose drills designed to tackle overburden situations that cause problems for traditional drills.

Attacus at Patterson Lake

The drills are very versatile and able to utilize several different overburden drilling techniques. These tactics can include dual-rotary (Attacus) and casing hammer systems.

The Attacus and Hornet XL drills can drill using air or water hammers equipped with full-face or eccentric casing advancer systems, tri-cones or rock bits. Both drills are transportable to a project site using light helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft.

Attacus Drilling

Attacus Welding

Attacus on land

In short, both the Attacus and the Hornet XL combine the capacities of several large “road-based” drills into one much more mobile drill.