Hope Bay Mine – Exploration Surface and Underground Drilling

  • SECTOR: Mining
  • LOCATION: Hope Bay, Nunavut, Canada
  • DATE: 2008 - 2021
  • 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.  Geotech Ekutak completed over 72,000 meters of surface drilling. 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.

TMAC and its partner Geotech Ekutak, which is a majority owned Inuit drilling company, have completed over 200,000 meters of surface drilling and close to 100,000 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.