We often refer to exploration as the future of our industry. It is one of the most important steps of a mining project because it’s how we can determine where minerals are located, and the best ways of getting them out of the ground. Exploration activity is very low impact on the environment. We use planes and drones for surveying large areas of land, and to minimise ground disturbance in sensitive areas some of our drill rigs have been re-designed to leave almost no tracks and now some rigs even collect all the excess in holding tanks to be transported away off site.
Technology has helped us to leave an even smaller footprint, but sometimes going back to the way we used to do things, is a better option. Lefroy Exploration is trialling the use of hessian and paper bags to replace plastic bags used for collecting drilling samples.
Hessian and cotton bags were used in the past, but plastic bags became a cheaper alternative and the industry norm – and still are, but with a shift to try and get everyone to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills, exploration companies are looking to a friendlier reusable alternative. It also means that if any bags are forgotten or left out in the bush, they’re completely biodegradable.
Our industry is always looking at how we can reuse equipment we no longer need for other purposes. Drilling company DDH1 has found the perfect use for old drill bits that can’t be recycled.
DDH1 are working on a trial project to use the old drill bits as fenceposts for a predator free conservation corridor. The strong materials used in the drill are ideal for using in remote areas with harsh conditions to help keep our native wildlife safe.