My role changes depending on what exploration programmes are being completed. At the moment we’re completing Aircore drilling about 2 hours south of the Tropicana Mine Site.
Wake up when I hear the drillers turn on the generator. It’s still dark and feels like it’s only 5 degrees. Pull my work clothes out from the bottom of my sleeping bag (I sleep with them in my sleeping bag overnight so they’re warm when I put them on in the morning) and get out of my tent. I make a coffee in the caravan kitchen and get my laptop out of the little office for our morning pre-start meeting.
Morning pre-start meeting is held around the campfire. I run through the meeting and write down the comments on my laptop. The drillers leave for the rig as soon as we’re done. I put my laptop back in the office and get my things ready for the day:
6.00 AM - 5.00 PM
Leave camp and drive to the drill rig. Depending on where we are on the drill programme, and where we are camping, it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes to drive to the drill line. I usually set myself up to work off the tray, at the back of the Ute. As they drill each hole, the offsiders place the samples in neat rows on the sample pad and I log each metre on the toughpad. When the driller can’t get any deeper, the offsider brings a sample for me to see, and I call to either finish the hole, or hammer through if the sample looks particularly good for gold mineralisation. Each hole gets recorded in my logging notebook so I can keep track of what holes were drilled each day. Every hole takes a different amount of time to drill, depending on the ground conditions. Most days we drill around 500 metres. There’s enough offsiders for them to rotate lunch breaks, so we don’t stop for lunch. I normally just eat when the drilling slows down, or while driving between holes.
Every day finishes at a different time, depending on how long it takes to drill the last hole. We drive back to camp and take it in turns to cook dinner each night. I go to the office in the caravan and write an email to the exploration team on site, summarising the holes we drilled that day and if any significant geology was observed. Then I prepare the meeting for the next morning, finish drawing cross sections of the holes we drilled that day, and reply to any emails I received that day. I read through and sign the daily plod from the drillers (a summary of each hole that was drilled that day) and scan it to the exploration team on site. After everything is done, I eat dinner and at the fire with the drillers.