Heliportable Bulk Sample

Heliportable Bulk Sample

A majority of the kimberlite pipes in Canada’s north are water covered.  The window for access is limited to a brief  winter ice road and the abbreviated drilling season consists of about three months, in some of the most extreme winter weather conditions in the world. 

A phone call from one of the world’s leading geologists came after a diamond discovery had been rumoured at Lac De Gras, in the Canadian Northwest Territories. The first problem was the immediate need for a bulk sample – and the winter road was closing in two weeks.  A new, non-damaging drilling system was also required. High velocity reverse-circulation had diamonds traveling back to surface at 7,000 linear feet per minute.  The evidence was half of a four carat octahedron laying on the table – it broke when it hit the surface.

The Kinley Solution:  Build a barge that could be flown in by a small fixed-wing and then helicoptered to the site.  At breakfast the next morning, we sketched  the unit out on a napkin and had it on a truck two weeks later.  Design a drilling system that would economically and effectively sample the pipes with adequate production and no damages.  We designed and constructed a 6″ wireline core system that worked like a dream.   Design an overburden system that would cause zero environmental damage through the lake and into the boulders over the pipe.   We built an eccentric down-hole hammer casing driver with reverse-circulation.  Provide a transportable rig.  We constructed a top-drive drilling rig that could be flown to site, with enough horsepower to drive the system. Last, operate.  We had the system up and running economically and effectively, and used it to prove out one of the three major diamond mines in Canada.

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