Emerging drill rig manufacturer, Geomagnetic Design has announced results from field trials on its specialty, patented RC and diamond GM1 drill rig.
Now in advanced stages of research and development (R&D), field testing in Western Australia’s Pilbara Region has confirmed the drill rig’s ability to halve the carbon footprint of traditional exploration drilling programs, with exceptional operational and environmental outcomes, according to the company.
Of note, the GM1’s performance across exploration drilling programs at six separate sites across the state showed a significant reduction in fuel consumption of up to 400 litres per 11-hour shift at RC configurations, and 60 litres per 11-hour shift at diamond configurations, as well as reducing ambient noise emissions.
The GM1 can also commence drilling in RC mode, and change to diamond coring within three hours, a significant reduction compared with current market changeover configurations, which typically take between 1-3 days, Geomagnetic Design says.
Commenting on the driving factors for innovation, Geomagnetic Design Founder and General Manager, Darren Papst, said: “Drillers are facing growing scrutiny and pressure from governments, investors and communities to exceed environmental considerations in their program design. We made it our business to address a multitude of performance factors that have never been achieved in one drill rig.
“Once our R&D is complete later this year, our solution will be the first of its kind, an ‘all-in-one’ RC and diamond rig that delivers reduced fuel consumption, carbon output and noise emissions all while covering more ground, with less holes and less metres.”
Designed and manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Perth, the patented blueprint for the GM1 uses a hydraulic system, enabling the rig to operate with a drastically reduced carbon output (from 59 kg/h down to 29 kg/h) while still retaining the same operational capacity as competitor rigs, the company says.
As well as halving carbon emissions, the physical machine footprint is substantially less than other drill rigs – measuring just 2.5 m x 3 m. The GM1 rig requires support from only one air truck, where competitor rigs are normally accompanied by two to three large trucks, it says.
Unique to the GM1 drill rig is its ability to conduct shallow angle RC drilling on 2 axes. This capability has been addressed during R&D and, if successful in future trials, will provide a cheaper form of drilling that allows clients to cover more ground with less holes and less metres, the company said.
The concept of a magnetically-driven drill rig has been a long-time plan of Papst’s.
“I began ideating the GM1 drill rig years ago when I noticed a gap in the market between having a superior-functioning rig versus having a sustainable, environmentally-designed rig.
“This current drill rig that we aim to go to market with has phenomenal fuel efficiencies, but we don’t plan on stopping there. Phase two of our engineering process will involve removing the need for diesel altogether with the use of a magnetic drive in its place.”
If the project continues to move at the expected timeline, Geomagnetic Design’s GM1 rig could be commercially available as soon as December 2022, the company says.