Hope Bay Mine – Exploration Surface and Underground Drilling
- SECTOR: Mining
- LOCATION: Hope Bay, Nunavut, Canada
- DATE: 2008 - Present
- EQUIPMENT: Zinex A5/U5 (surface/underground), Hydracore 500 / 2000 (Surface/Underground)
Geotech Ekutak, an Inuit owned subsidiary of the Geotech Group, has been involved on the Hope Bay Project since 2008, when it was originally awarded a three-year contract with Newmont Mining Corporation. Initial drilling seasons included skid mounted drilling on ice, and helicopter portable drilling on Tundra with the company increasing its fleet over the 3 years to four surface drills. When Newmont decided to step back from the project, Geotech Ekutak strategically left behind assets to have an opportunity and advantage to work with a potential new operator, which became TMAC resources in 2013 and sold to Agnico Eagle in 2020.
Geotech Ekutak, which is a majority owned Inuit drilling company, have completed over 250,000 meters of surface drilling and close to 135,000 meters of underground drilling since 2013. Up to 6 surface and 3 underground drills have or continue to operate on the program, working in challenging arctic conditions and drilling through unforgiving permafrost layers.
- Permafrost conditions as deep as 400-500 meters
- Underground brine use
- Surface winter conditions include temperatures as low as -80° Celsius.
- High arctic winds and flat landscape (i.e. whiteout conditions)
- Isolation and one annual opportunity for inventory and equipment restock (sea-lift)
- All land-based drilling occurs in permafrost conditions while recirculating and capturing all drill cuttings are standard on the property; which was used to the environmental footprint and potential damage to the tundra.
- Working in sub-zero temperatures with specialized drill shacks which completely enclose the drill shack and all ancillary equipment including but not limited to; generators, heaters, coil stoves.