British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Effective utilization of helicopters in reconnaissance drilling Smith, L. A. 1979

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rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  23  EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF HELICOPTERS IN RECONNAISSANCE DRILLING  Paper presented by:  L.A. Smith Pacific Petroleums Ltd.  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  25  EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF HELICOPTERS IN RECONNAISSANCE DRILLING  INTRODUCTION This paper discusses exploratory drilling for coal in remote Foothills terrain in which access is difficult and expensive.  Information is based  on and derived from 3 years of exploration on the Monkman Coal Project in northeastern B.C. (Figure 1).  The property is located near the south end  of the Peace River Coalfield.  Figure 2 indicates the logistics of the pro-  perty when we commenced work in 1976.  This property is 75 kilometres long  and stretches from Kinuseo Creek in the north to the Narraway River in the south.  The road network at that time consisted of the Wapiti River Road,  the Kinuseo Falls Road, the Triad Prairie Creek Road leading southwest off the Wapiti River Road, Denison Mines' Quintette Road in our Five Cabin area and local access of poor quality in the Duke Mountain area.  The phy-  siography is typical of the northern foothills and varies from glacial valleys with thick till and heavy forest cover to forested and poorly drained hillsides, to sub-alpine and alpine ridge tops.  EXPLORATION PROGRAM 1976 TO 1978 Objectives In 1976 when Pacific commenced work our objectives were typical of first-phase exploration: 1.  Determine the extent of coal measures on and adjoining the property.  2.  Determine the rank, quality and extent of development of the coal seams.  3.  Determine those areas most favourable for follow-up work.  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  26  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  27  FIGURE PHYSIOGRAPHY COAL PROJECT  2  OF THE MONKMAN  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  28  In subsequent years the objectives became definitive and included reference to the development of blocks of mineable coal.  Thus, over a  three-year period, our information base increased and we became more selective with our drill targets and decreased the area to be explored.  1976 Program A field camp was set up on the Wapiti River and geologic mapping commenced in late spring.  The helicopter diamond drilling started in  early July, and by early September we had completed 11 helicopter drill holes and one road-access drill hole.  The equipment used initially was  as follows: 1 only 206B helicopter 2 only Longyear 38 drills with NQ rods 1 only portable logging unit split into 2 sections of 900 pounds each We decided to use small diamond drills in order to allow mobility with a 206B helicopter, thus we felt we were restricted to NQ core size.  It  did not take long to find out that the costs of rig moves were inordinately high in terms of helicopter and rig time.  Therefore medium  turbines (205A's and S-58T's) were ferried in for many of the long moves.  We found that the ferry costs from Prince George were not a  major factor and that the overall cost saving with these larger machines was significant. The 206B was used to ferry the logging unit from site to site.  The  large dots labelled 1976 in Figure 3 show the drill holes completed on this program.  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  29  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  30  1977 Program This program was all land-supported and all holes were drilled on the Duke Mountain Block.  The construction of a new 13.3 kilometre road allowed access  to eight drill sites.  1978 Program In 1978, 46 diamond and rotary holes and 2 adit sites were located on the Duke Mountain Block. circles in Figure 3. roads.  They are shown as small black dots and small  All of these sites were reached by poor quality  Additionally four helicopter-access drill holes and two road-  access holes were put in the Western area (large dots labelled 1978 in Figure 3). Cost Effectiveness and Means of Access, 1976, 1977 and 1978 Programs The first noteworthy item is that none of the helicopter-accessed drill sites cost more than 500 dollars to slash and reclaim, whereas, the roadbuilding program required nearly 1,500 dollars per kilometre direct cost for slashing, revegetation and erosion control.  Table 1 shows the  breakdown of the combined drill move and support costs.  These figures do  not include rig costs for drill moves, and trucking costs that were increased because of required changeover of a diamond drill and a logging unit to portable units.  However, Table 1 does indicate the effectiveness  of helicopter transport for long distance moves. Road building costs for 1977 and 1978, which included all site preparation, roadbuilding, road maintenance, cleanup and reclamation costs, averaged 7,440 dollars per kilometre. heavy timber and muddy conditions.  The reason for this high cost was  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  31  TABLE 1  COST OF HELICOPTER DRILL MOVES  MOVE COST YEAR  NO. HOLES  PER HOLE  SUPPORT COST/HOLE  1976  11  3600  6300  1978  4  7600  9400  TOTAL COST PER HOLE  LENGTH  COST  OF MOVE (km) ($/km)  9900  17,000  SUPPORT COST/ METRE DRILLED  12  825  34  26  650  42  ____________________________________________________________________________________ 37 705 7100 11,800 AVERAGE 15 4700  COST OF ROAD DRILL MOVES TOTAL ROAD YEAR  NO. HOLES  COSTS  COST  LENGTH OF  PER HOLE  SUPPORT COST/  MOVE (km) COST ($/km)  METRE DRILLED  1977  8  66,000  8250  1.7  4850  32.20  1978  48  181,000  3770  0.8  4700  17.50  __________________________________________________________________________________ 4740 AVERAGE 56 4410 19.90  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  32  Figure 4 consists of two charts which compare the cost of road access versus helicopter access.  The left hand chart shows the cost in  dollars per kilometre for various moves over varying distances.  Three  different road costs are presented, which are plotted as horizontal lines.  The helicopter costs for the 1976 and the 1978 programs are  plotted, and a third point has been calculated for a 1 kilometre move. The helicopter access curve has been developed on this framework.  It  is immediately obvious that the incremental helicopter costs decrease dramatically with increasing distance to a certain point.  The heli-  copter curve crosses the current Monkman road cost line at the 1.7 kilometre mark.  It is noted that, even if we were able to reduce road  costs to 3,000 dollars per kilometre, we would only supply 3.5 kilometres of road access before helicopter moves became more economical. At the unrealistically low road cost of 1,000 dollars per kilometre, the breakeven point between road and helicopter access would be 11.2 kilometres.  The righthand chart shows total costs versus distance.  The helicopter  move curve is obviously shallower than the road access curve.  At pre  sent Monkman costs, the break-even point is, as we saw on the other chart, 1.7 kilometres. These figures have been generated for the Monkman property with its own peculiar set of logistics.  However, there is no reason to expect that  on another property the figures would change by more than 50 percent. I will now mention a series of constraints that must be considered when evaluating method of access: 1.  Weather and climate  2.  Physiography of the area to be drilled  3.  Local environmental sensitivity  4.  Reclamation costs  5.  Drilling equipment requirements  6.  Availability of equipment  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  33  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  34  7.  Availability of suitable aircraft  8.  Length of move  9.  Certainty of follow-up drilling  In conclusion I wish to reiterate the following points: 1.  Get the right drilling and logging equipment to do the job. Equipment is often expensive so do not sacrifice quality for quantity unless circumstances dictate.  Know your equipment weights  (Table 2) and use contractors who also know them.  2.  For short moves by air a small turbine may suffice, but if distances are 6 kilometres or longer and medium turbines are available, use them.  Try to match the helicopter to the equipment and the  distances concerned. 3.  For preliminary exploration consider flying a rig to isolated drillsites that require a move of more than 2 kilometres.  4.  If you are certain that the total follow-up work will result in less than 2 kilometres of road/drillsite, plan access roads as soon as is practical.  This will allow more flexibility in choosing  equipment, which can significantly lower overall costs.  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  35  TABLE 2 SUPER 38 LONGYEAR DIAMOND DRILL HELICOPTER PORTABLE WEIGHTS  Item  20-foot Aluminum Tower Tabular Skids, fuel tanks and bunks Folding Drill Shack  Weight (pounds)  900 1200 700  Super 38 drill with H chuck  3180  353 diesel motor  1230  10-foot HQ rod 10-foot HQ casing  77 113  Portable mud tanks  1000  435 mud pump  1400  Supply pump  820  1000 feet of water line  650  Floor planks  1400  Mud mixer and tank  650  Rod rack and slide  100  Basket  180  Hydraulic cylinder for tower Stiff legs  110 250  Core barrel with tubes  220  Tidy tank  110  1 HQ core box  12  1 bag mud  50  4 tool boxes  800  100 ft. high pressure hose  100  5 wooden sills  650  Blocks for sills  400  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  36  DISCUSSION RELATED TO LES SMITH'S PAPER  Greg Jones, Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing.  You said that you were  worried about contractors not knowing the weight of the equipment that they were lifting.  Well, previously I was involved with helicopter logging on  the Island, and the co-pilot would watch a weight gauge.  If it indicated  over 20,000 pounds, which was the weight limit for the big bird they were using, the co-pilot could just press the kill button and it would drop everything. ANS.  Lovely.  Greg Jones.  I was just pointing out that that's an alternative to having  to know exactly what your weight should be, if you have no scale handy. ANS.  Yes, some operators use them.  this summer where we had them on.  We used a 205 for a couple of moves They had to install scales because there  were several crashes with the 205 last summer and they had to put the weights on the machines so that they could delift down to 3,000 from 3,500 pounds. Neil Duncan, Energy Resources Conservation Board.  What was the reason for  the four-kilometre spacing of the drill holes, which didn't seem to match into the geology of the place.  It seemed like a rather strange type of  program.  ANS.  No comment.  Jim Meyer, Byron Creek Collieries.  Did the drill crew travel back and  forth in a helicopter every night, as well.  rd  Proceedings of the 3 Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium in Vernon, BC, 1979. The Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation  37  ANS.  Yes.  In 1976 and 1978 we used the light turbines for support of the  rig. Jim Meyer.  Basically you're saying that you have few roads and therefore  the helicopter drilling is cheaper. there?  What if you plan to do more drilling in  Your exploration costs will get lower each time, if you have the  roads to start with. ANS.  Yes.  My seminar paper was designed to discuss preliminary exploration  and during this past summer we did build 39 kilometres of road to provide access.  Our experience on this road gave me a lot of the cost derivation  that I have used here.  Once you know that you are going into an area and  you are sure you have something, then it's worth building the road.  All I  am pointing out is that when you have a property with difficult access, don't start planning on building 20 kilometres of road.  It can produce some  problems for you. Marv Mitchell, Range Oil Ltd.  How many man shifts did you lose on the rigs  due to inclement flying weather. ANS.  In 1976 we lost quite a few shifts but in 1978 very few.  I would say  that helicopter drilling raises your drilling costs, particularly your direct drill contract costs, by 15 to 20 percent.  This is mainly due to  lost time and to night-time equipment failures in the field when you can't do anything about them.  

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