Drilling Program - Step Out Drilling vs. Infill Drilling
Soil sampling and geophysics1 is applied by the mining company's geologist in order to
detect the presence and position of an ore body (i.e. an anomaly). When an anomaly is found, the
mining company will initiate a drilling program in order to test the extent of the mineralization. The drilling
program is followed by an assessment if the project could potentially be economically developed, based on the drill
A drilling program is often divided into a step-out drilling program and an infill drilling
program. Step out drilling programs have a fixed starting point from which they intend to expand the
mineralization zone. The bigger the size of the property the better. Infill drilling programs are used to confirm
the presence of mineralization between the step-out drill holes. When drilling under an angle, the slant of the
mineralization is being tested.
After a geologist has defined the drill targets, based on a thorough analysis of the various exploration
techniques, a drilling program is initiated in order to test the potential mineralization in the Earth’s crust. Of
course, the drill program has to confirm the presence of the sought after mineralization. Further, it has
to determine the shape and continuity of the minerals found.
Core samples are taken from every drill target of the drill program. These core samples are then split
vertically: half is sent to a lab in order to test the mineralization. The other half is stored for future
As the orebody is often not just horizontally positioned beneath the surface it is very important to
understand the slant of the mineralization in order to determine what angle to drill at.
When a mineralization is horizontally positioned beneath the surface, vertical drilling can be executed.
Consequently, it is very important to understandthe direction (strike) and dip of the
mineralization when interpreting a mining company’s drill results. In order to explain this more clearly see
the figure below.
Vertical Drilling vs. Angle Drilling
Corebox: A Very Convenient Tool to Visualize Drill Results
Corebox empowers mining investors to visualize drill results through their interactive 3D
models, which you can find on their website by clicking the link provided.
On the Corebox homepage you will find the following description about their unique feature: "Corebox 3D
models show how a deposit's intercepts line up with each other (or don't). Using the 3D model, it's easy to see how
new results relate to previous intercepts, and the significance of each hole becomes apparent. To make it easy to
identify the most recently reported intercepts, new intercepts are shown in blue and the previously reported
intercepts are shown in orange."
I recommend you to take a look at the "Properties" section on their website. Here, you can browse by company
name, mineral project and by country to see which mining companies use Corebox to visualize their drill
Keep in mind that mining companies who use Corebox had to pay a one-time setup fee of $500, and they
have to pay an on-going monthly fee of $400 to maintain their public display.
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1 Exploration geophysics is the use of seismic, gravity, magnetic,
electrical, electromagnetic, etc., methods in the search for oil, gas, minerals, water, etc., with the objective of
economic exploitation." Definition from Robert E. Sheriff's Encyclopedic Dictionary of Applied
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