Mining for minerals has long been a crucial part of our economy, but it’s not as easy as just digging a hole. To reach resources beneath the earth’s surface, mining companies often use surface diamond drilling, a practice that involves drilling a borehole through the surface rock layers to reach the mineral deposits below.
During the process of surface diamond drilling, a drill bit made of industrial-grade diamonds is attached to a rotating drill rod, which is fed into the ground by a drilling rig. As the bit drills down, the drill cuttings – small particles of rock material – are brought to the surface by a stream of drilling fluid, which helps cool and lubricate the bit to prevent it from overheating or getting stuck.
Miners use the information gathered during surface diamond drilling to decide if the minerals present warrant further exploration. The rocks and cuttings extracted are examined in a lab, and core samples, cylindrical pieces of rock, are taken to assess the mineral and metal content of the earth beneath. This information helps mining companies make the necessary decisions on whether to move ahead with further extraction or to abandon the site and look elsewhere.
Surface diamond drilling is a time-consuming and expensive process, but it’s a vital tool in the mining industry. Without it, we would have no way of knowing what resources lie beneath the earth’s surface and where to look for them. As technology has advanced, the practice has become more efficient, allowing us to explore greater depths and discover even more valuable resources.