Sonic Drilling’s Ray Roussy joins the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame (Exploration)

Developer of the sonic drill, Canadian Ray Roussy will be inducted in the Exploration category at the gala dinner in the Brown Palace Hotel, Denver on February 16 ( Roussy, President of Sonic Drilling Ltd and the Sonic Drill Corp is the patent holder and the developer of modern day sonic drilling technology – a technology that has made a significant impact on the mining industry. Today, seven out of 10 sonic rigs are purchased for mining exploration. Although the diamond drill has long been the preferred tool for mineral exploration in hard rock, in unconsolidated material, it has two unfortunate drawbacks. First, it doesn’t drill well in unconsolidated materials and, secondly, it can’t provide accurate core samples from that kind of formation. Only a sonic drill can recover a continuous core including boulders, clays, silt, sand and gravel and lay it in its stratigraphic sequence – from the surface all the way down to 100 m and deeper.

Using Roussy’s innovative sonic drill head, samples, ranging from 3” to 8” in diameter, can be obtained from a wide variety of mineral deposits including hard-to-extract oil sands, slag piles, mine tailings and heap leach pads. Extruded into clear plastic sleeves and then neatly laid out, these core samples can be subjected to a detailed visual examination and analysis, followed by sampling, photographing and archiving for a permanent record of the existing mineral conditions and a comprehensive evaluation.

Building his first sonic drill rig in his backyard more than 30 years ago, Roussy’s lifetime work has resulted in three prestigious awards, thanks to the unique features of his sonic drilling technology. The Roussy sonic drill head can:

  • Drill three to five times faster (some users report ten times faster)
  • Produce 70% less mess on site
  • Drill without the use of drilling mud
  • Drill through mixed soils with ease
  • Produce continuous core samples to 100 m+
  • Use 50% less power
  • Offer many environmentally-friendly benefits including less noise, less waste, lighter engines, reduced fuel consumption, a smaller footprint and “green” hydraulic oil.

Roussy’s sonic drill has overcome all of the traditional hurdles to cost-effective mineral exploration in unconsolidated material, making him a worthy member of the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame.

The Sonic drilling technology has recently been nominated for a fourth award. The Northern Ontario Institute of Technology (NOIT) has nominated Roussy for an Ontario Premier’s award.

Roussy is an alumni of NOIT where he was first introduced to mechanical engineering before continuing onto Lakehead University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree in 1974.

Today, 40 years later, Roussy holds dozens of patents involving sonic drilling technology and is solely responsible for the successful commercialisation of it when others failed to make it work. If Roussy wins the Ontario Premier’s award, it will be the fourth award since 2008 for his technology.

Today, award-winning sonic drill rigs, patented and built by the Sonic Drill Corp, are in use on six continents and in every application imaginable. Due to its non-intrusive abilities, sonic drilling technology has often been used (and specifically requested in government contracts) for sensitive projects such as dam remediation, nuclear site investigations and hazardous waste site reclamation.

Because vibrations from the drill bit are not transmitted very far beyond the drill, penetrations can occur into very sensitive areas such as critical eco-systems, unstable terrain or vulnerable situations where traditional drilling would cause more harm or be impossible to complete.

Initially, sonic drilling technology was seen as a powerful environmental investigation drill due to its ability to provide undisturbed core samples but, now, the technology has broadened in use to excel at geothermal installations, piling and mineral exploration.