Rambler Metals and Mining has been in commercial production at the Ming Copper-Gold Mine, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, since 2012. Currently the mine is operating under its Phase 1 start-up program exploiting high grade massive sulphides that were inaccessible to the previous operators. In conjunction with the daily mine operations the group is also advancing its pre-feasibility engineering work to further define the Phase 2 expansion program through the integration of a much larger ore body, the Lower Footwall Zone, beneath the current mining horizon. Both the Phase 1 and 2 ore bodies were initially defined through the use of Devico’s directional drilling equipment.
Rambler’s first exposure to directional drilling was in 2003 when a deep surface exploration hole intersected stringer style copper mineralization over several meters. Downhole geophysics indicated a strong conductor fifty meters to the west of its existing location, however conventional wedging could not guarantee an accurate pierce point. With more advance targeting expertise required, Rambler began its search for a technology that allowed for a high degree of accuracy while still providing diamond drill core for further analysis. Devico’s first daughter hole intersected four and a half meters of massive sulphide at a down hole depth of 1150 meters and was within five meters of the planned target area.
During 2004, and most of 2005, Rambler reverted back to conventional diamond drilling and wedging with careful hole planning. The hope was that new targets could be intersected without the use of directional services. During this program fifteen deep holes were completed totalling nearly 20,000 meters of NQ sized core. Of these fifteen holes five pierced the ore body as planned returning favourable mineralization. Without the option of Devico’s directional drilling equipment the deep surface drill program would have ended. However, with the help of TECH’s employees over sixty daughter holes were spawned allowing for a significant portion of the ore body to be brought into the measured and indicated mineral resource categories. While a number of resource/ reserve estimate haves since been completed on the property, the first would not have been possible without the use of TECH Directional Drilling Services.
While TECH’s primary role was to ensure drill target accuracy, they also provided numerous other services that aided in the smooth operation of the surface drill program, including:
- Target planning and drill hole sequencing
- Drill hole set-up and supervision as a client representative
- End of hole final surveys
- Effectively steered a drill hole through old mine workings into the target area below
The information gained through the directional diamond drilling program was invaluable to the project and an integral component of the mine’s transition into the commercial operation today.