Eskay Creek

  • SECTOR: Exploration
  • LOCATION: Golden Triangle, BC
  • DATE: 2019 - 2020
  • EQUIPMENT: Hydracore 2000 & Zinex A5 (11 drills)

Geotech Exploration, under their partnership with the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (Tahltech Drilling), was awarded was awarded a helicopter/skid portable exploration program located at the former Eskay Creek mine site back in 2019 and continued drilling throughout 2020. A total of 19,000 meters was drilled by the end of March 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic halted operations at site. The Tahltech team was able to return with 3 drills in July 2020, after several months of Covid planning and preparation by the dedicated Skeena management and HSE team to ensure all site personnel could operate safely.

As the summer progressed, our team continued to add resources to the project, increasing from 4 drills to 11 drills, which operated until the end of 2020.

Further to the exploration drilling Tahltech completed over 2,200 meters with hole depths from 25 to 270 meters, in a geotechnical program for the pit wall design and other infrastructure needs. This program included core orientated drilling, standard penetration testing, shelby tubes, and pneumatic packer testing down to 250 meters! Further to this the crews also installed vibrating wire piezometers and monitoring wells.

Between the exploration and geotechnical drilling programs a staggering total of over 85,000 meters were drilled in 2020 on the Eskay property, utilizing Zinex A5 and Hydracore 2000 drills.

CHALLENGES

  • Shallow holes and cementing casing for artesian control; required multiple moves
  • Soft ground conditions for skid-based drill moves
  • Steep terrain and track access only for drill support
  • Weather and snow of Northwest BC


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 12 hour Shifts up to 120 meters drilled
  • Tahltech Drilling was able to manually move the drills without helicopter assistance for azimuth changes up to 180 degrees.
  • Development of efficient procedures for artesian control
  • Implementation of track-based units to support crew transport, fuel and core
  • Program completed under our partnership with the Tahltan Nation
  • Safely managing up to 11 drills during the Covid-19 pandemic