Exploratory mining is the process of testing an orebody to see if it contains useful minerals. That might include precious metals like gold, gemstones like diamonds, or resources like coal or oil. The process of exploring an area is simple in concept: the miner drills down a small shaft and extracts a core from the orebody, pulls it up, and uses a chemical assay to determine its components. The results of the assay will indicate whether there might be something useful in the rest of the rock. Wireline drilling also requires dropping a shaft, but for a different reason: to lower tools an diagnostic equipment into a well for evaluation. It is a different approach to identifying the characteristics of a well and it surrounding resources.
There are two important pieces of equipment that are necessary in this process. The first one is the drill rod.
A drill rod is, as the name suggests, a structural part of the drill. Specifically, the drill rod is used to mount the drill bit and convey it through the ground. Drill rods and pipes are made of tool steel, so it’s possible to heat treat a drill rod and draw it to any hardness. The drills for exploratory mining can use different kinds of bits, like diamond core bits, to penetrate the earth to a sufficient depth. The depth required depends on what the mining team wants to find. The drill rods need to be hollow to allow extraction of the core. This extraction process can be more difficult with a narrower aperture in the rod, but a rod with thicker walls is stronger, so there is a tradeoff between strength and ease of use for extraction.
A casing tube is a related piece of equipment. It forms the outside of the drill shaft and maintains the shaft’s structural integrity. Without a strong casing tube, the shaft won’t stay strong enough and could collapse, ruining the shaft. Casing tubes and pipes vary in material, strength, and length based on the job at hand. The casing tube is frequently one of the most expensive components of a well or shaft due to how much of it is required in order to drill a deep shaft. Casing tubes prevent blowouts and other problems, so it is not a good idea to go too cheap when selecting a casing tube. Ensure that all casing tubes in your project are up to the proper standards before using them, and that you know and trust the source that sold you the tubes. Dealing with a casing tube failure is much more expensive than the money you save from getting cheap tubes.
Both casing and drill rods are necessary for a functional shaft of any kind, whether it is for wireline drilling or exploratory drilling. A major aspect of making a mining project profitable is keeping the costs of these tools under control without compromising on their strength and causing a failure of the mine shaft. That’s why it pays to take the time to find a good source.
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