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Choosing The Right Core Bit For Your Exploration Core Drilling
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The actual drilling process of any exploration core drilling operation will always come right at the very later stages of the operation. It is at this point that a large amount of resources have already been spent to even get this far, so ensuring that any captured core is of a good enough quality to assess a potential mine is of paramount importance.
This means that your core bit selection will have to be spot-on in order to ensure no more resources are wasted. This selection will usually be based on size and depth of any hole that is required as well as the hardness of the rock formation that is going to be drilled, the capacity of the rig that is being used, and of course the skill that the driver possesses.
So to ensure that you make the right decision, check out three of the main drill bits that are used in exploration core drilling and learn about their benefits and disadvantages.
Impregnated Diamond Core Bits
Impregnated diamond core bits from leading companies are generally used for exploration core drilling through hard and extremely hard rock formations. These bits can be used for drilling through almost all types of formations apart from clay, chalk, and a small number of other unconsolidated formations.
Impregnated diamond core bits are the most commonly used drill bit in the exploration core drilling industry. This is because they have a number of additional benefits over other types of core bits such as offering larger amounts of resistance against wear when used in most geological formations of rock (especially in harder formations of rock). Impregnated diamond core bits are also not as sensitive as other types when it comes to rough handling, incorrect use, or abuse.
Surface Set Diamond Bits
Surface set diamond bits are designed more for drilling through formations that are graded between soft and medium-hard rock. Whilst Impregnated Diamond Core Bits will be able to drill through softer rock formations, Surface Set Diamond Bits are far more cost-effective for this type of formation.
Other benefits that surface set diamond bets have over impregnated diamond core bits include having a higher rate of penetration and can be used with lower powered drills. However, due to only having the one layer of synthetic diamonds, the bits will generally have a shorter drill life.
Poly-Crystalline Diamond Composite Bits (PDC)
PDC bits (Poly-Crystalline Composite Bits) are suitable for drilling through medium to hard rock formations such as salt, limestone, and clay and are another alternative to using Surface Set Diamond Core Bits.
The benefits of using a PDC are that they are extremely fast at drilling, are more durable and have a longer-life than surface set bits, and can drill a lot faster than Impregnated Diamond Core Drill Bits (though not through some of the much harder rock formations).
When exploration core drilling, it is important to maximize your drilling efficiency. This is done by first ensuring that you select the right drill bit from leading manufacturers before then employing the correct drilling practices.
Testing your drilling system at site is extremely important too, because each site will be different from the next, each formation will be different from the next, and the requirements from your clients will all be different from the next.
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