Chalice Mining is one of Australia’s most exciting exploration companies and their recent Nickel-Copper-Cobalt discovery in
March of 2020 at the Julimar Project is the jewel in the crown of
an impressive discovery portfolio.
The Julimar project team has a reputation for excellence, led by highly experienced General Manager- Exploration, Bruce Kendall, co-winner of AMEC’s Prospector of the Year Award (2012).
Following the landmark discovery, Lead Geologist, Matt Demmer, joined Chalice’s team as the drill program rapidly expanded to determine what lay beneath the surface.
"To find the metals needed to decarbonise the world" while creating "a world-class, multi-district green metals province."
Chalice’s plan was to begin drilling at Gonneville; an area located just south of the 30km Julimar Complex.
The drill program included a handful of planned holes and one rig. Because of the scale of the program, it was going to be relatively straightforward for the team to use paper plods to track progress and costs each day.
That was, until they struck mineralisation on the very
Within just a few weeks, the program was rapidly expanded to multiple rigs and triple the number of holes from the original plan.
What began as a small operation, quickly became the talk of the industry. Virtually overnight, all eyes were on the Gonneville team, anxious to see what would
Chalice quickly needed to run multiple rig types (diamond, RC and aircore) across multiple contractors. The rapid escalation created scheduling challenges as the team rushed to adapt their spreadsheet system to fit this new level of complexity.
Meanwhile, the drill contractors were sending across data in multiple formats, making it difficult for the Chalice geologists to efficiently consolidate the data, track progress and costs, and build reports at the same rate as their rigs were drilling.
The geology team were having to manually re-enter all of this plod data into a new set of spreadsheets at the end of each shift. This looked like hours upon hours of geologists’ time spent re-formatting the data, fiddling with cells and double and triple-checking to avoid inevitable human errors. A dreaded task that became even worse if the data was delivered behind schedule!
Then, at the end of the month, Bruce was having to cross-reference all of these spreadsheets and other paper records against the drillers’ invoices to confirm errors and question discrepancies.
Hours of their valuable time was being bogged down with operational paperwork at the expense of the geology. Time that Chalice was having to foot the bill for - at a geologists’ rate of pay.
As the drill program grew, the way the team was having to operate to meet the rising demands began to stray from this vision. Bruce and Matt could see the problem, and knew there had to be a better way.
Then, they found CorePlan.
Bruce set up a product demo with the CorePlan team and could immediately see the power that CorePlan’s automation could bring to his team’s operations. He could see a not-too-distant future where his team wasn’t wasting time double-handling plods or sifting through paperwork; they could instead rely CorePlan to do the heavy admin lifting for them, so they could focus on what they do best: the geology.
And so, within the hour, a new partnership was born.
Chalice’s key pain point was that the existing workflow wasn’t able to keep pace with drill production. The manual system placed unnecessary time burdens on the team who were struggling to keep up to date with the plods as they came in.
Now, plod pains are a thing of the past. All the Gonneville team has to do at the end of each shift is import the plod data directly into CorePlan using the plod importer.
It’s no longer an issue that the drill contractors are supplying the data in different formats, as it only takes a few minutes to match up and consolidate the data into CorePlan, either by:
Once the data is entered, it’s immediately reconciled against the driller’s cost contract and the drill plan. The Chalice geos can instantly check if they are drilling on time and budget in just a few seconds per day. Because the data populates visual reports, it’s faster and easier to identify any issues or discrepancies as they happen. Even more time is saved, as mistakes don’t make it through to their invoices at the end of the month.
But the efficiency gains didn’t end here.
Another challenge Chalice wanted to tackle was rig scheduling. The number of rigs onsite fluctuated according to the needs of the drill program, and each of the three different rig types were drilling at different speeds and chargeable rates. It was complex to plan this detail using a manual system, not to mention making sure that the team was across the detail when changes needed to be made on the fly.
Now, the team is using CorePlan to run this part of the workflow. The rig schedule dashboard brings visibility to which holes are being drilled, by which rig and in what order, as well as when each hole should be completed, based on the actual progress to date. Anytime the schedule needs to be adjusted, it can be done with a few clicks, and the entire team can see the schedule as they’re all working from the one digital space.
Other aspects of CorePlan that Chalice are using include sample dispatch generation and tracking and reporting. Time savings that all add up. “We have five or six of our geology team using CorePlan. This is saving us around 8 to 10 hours of site time, every week.”
“At Chalice, we believe that the more you can stop a geologist becoming an admin, the more likely you are to make a discovery, which is the whole point!” says Matt.
“CorePlan is like another member of our team. We can set and forget knowing that all of our operational data is taken care of. Now, we are able to put our effort into stuff that’s going to move the needle, like hole design, not project management.”
CorePlan keeps everyone aligned and working without the high cost of low tech. Geologists, exploration managers, and field staff – all collaborating in one place.