Atrum Coal Groundhog Site

  • SECTOR: Mining
  • LOCATION: Northern BC, Canada
  • DATE: 2014
  • EQUIPMENT: Hydracore 2000 Hybrid heli-portable drill

In 2014 Geotech completed a two-month program for Atrum Coal at their Groundhog site in Northern British Columbia. Throughout this program, Geotech completed over 1,025 meters of rotary air blast drilling.

A Hydracore 2000 Hybrid helicopter portable drill rig was used for this operation. The drill rig was specifically modified to complete the air rotary methodology, which many heli-portable rigs are not capable of. Borehole depths averaged around 155 meters of rotary air blast and pdc drilling. The Atrum Coal project also included the installation of 2″ monitoring wells and airlift testing, which was completed with the heli-portable drill.


  • During the program the drill crews successfully mitigated many challenges, including excessive amounts of downhole water (40-70 gpm), heavily fractured bedrock, and the limited use of muds due to stringent testing requirements. In order to overcome these challenges, the Geotech crew was required to precisely monitor the downhole ground conditions while drilling.


  • Due to the heli-portable nature of this program, it was necessary for Geotech to manage a multi-engine operation, requiring two air compressors and air booster to reach the target depths.
  • Geotech customized the Hydracore drill to complete Rotary Air Blast (RAB) drilling; illustrating our adaptability for any project. This was Geotech’s first job utilizing the RAB methodology with a heli-portable drill.