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.

CHALLENGES

  • 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)


ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 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.