Drilling the KCB with flexibility in mind

We’ve now mobilised our maiden drilling programme in the Kalahari Copper Belt, where our goal is to make one or more economic copper discoveries.

Our first pass will include six holes for around 1,250 metres of drilling, focusing on the Northern and Central anomalies we’ve identified on licence PL082/2018.

The work marks the first phase of up to 37,600 metres of planned drilling across 188 drill collar locations we’ve identified on four of our 12 KCB licences.

We now aim to move along at a fairly rapidly clip, thanks in part to the variable capabilities of the drill rig deployed by our contractors Mindea.

You see, Mindea is using a multi-purpose to drill PL082. This is capable of both reverse circulation and diamond drilling, allowing for great flexibility.

Now, experienced mining hands will know there are certain advantages and disadvantages to each of these drilling styles. Much of this comes down to geological setting.

At PL082, the Kalahari sands overlying our target rocks are quite thin. That means we can get down to where we want to be pretty quickly.

It’s what we do when we get there that’s really crucial.

With diamond drilling, you get a fully intact cylindrical core of rock that can provide a much higher quality of analysis once it’s split and sent to the lab for analysis. Most exploration companies would, on the whole, favour this if neither money nor time were an object and ground conditions allowed.

With reverse circulation drilling, the rock that’s drilled is also crushed and comes to the surface in the form of chips. It’s then batched up by intervals and sent for analysis in bags or boxes. Because there’s no need to keep the core intact, it’s much faster than diamond drilling and more cost effective too.

One factor in particular that also plays a part, especially in an environment like the Kalahari, is water. You need water for diamond drilling, but not so much for RC drilling.

A hybrid approach

The hard numbers tell the real story, though. It can take up to a month to drill a single 800 metre diamond drill hole, which is roughly the same amount of time it might take to drill eight to twelve 200 metre RC holes.

Now, the KCB targets we’re currently working on are not that deep. This means we can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and get a fast but real feel for the rock types if we use RC.

This diagram shows the location of the Northern and Central zones we are targeting with our current drilling campaign


Nonetheless, if ground conditions mean we can’t use RC for whatever reason, or if we decide to go deeper into the KCB than originally envisioned, Mindea’s multi-purpose rig gives us the capability to switch to diamond drilling without any fuss.

That flexibility with the rig will make us very nimble when it comes to making day-to-day decisions about how and where to drill. Brett, our COO, has flown to Botswana for this campaign and has been joined their by Kavango’s co-founder Hillary Gumbo. Together with Fred and the team, we have everyone on sight to maximise our chances of success.

Ultimately, at this early stage of the campaign we want as much physical data as we can gather for minimal cost, so most of the work will likely be RC. But where a more complex understanding of structure is required, we can quickly switch over to diamond.

This means it’s quite possible that some of the holes we drill will be hybrid; the upper levels will be drilled out using RC, with the lower levels pulling out diamond core.

It’s a useful option to have, and one that will make the upcoming results from KCB just that bit more critical to our search for large, economic deposits.