Eco-Friendly Drilling Leads to SavingsThu, 10/17/2019 - 13:37
Q: How is ECODRILL integrating new technologies to make drilling operations more sustainable?
A: Our added value lies in going beyond traditional drilling. Our intention is not purely to drill; we are committed to developing the industry and ridding it of stigmas. ECODRILL was developed with a focus on sustainable practices. At the core of these principles is a water recirculation system that we developed and manufactured ourselves. We have been implementing this system for six years and it has provided significant water savings. For example, a 10,000m surface-drilling program requires an estimated 570L per drilled meter. We have reduced this amount to 236L of water per drilled meter. When multiplying this by 10,000 and considering that this is just for one rig, the water savings are incredible. What if we could save all this water for all the rigs in the country? Just the savings achieved by one rig in one drill program can provide a constant flow of water to seven families of five for a whole year. It is also important to note that we absorb all the water we use to prevent any fluids leaking. We separate the sediment from the water before reusing it. This system is our company’s banner. We do not charge for the service and will always include it, even if the client does not require it.
As we reuse the water, some sediment may drop back into the machine, implying that our equipment wears more easily. But, we are convinced that this is a minor side effect given the benefits. It is possible and we have proved that water usage can be significantly reduced; we have achieved up to 80 percent water use reduction compared to conventional drilling on deep holes. We will continue working to further improve this dry-drilling system.
Another of our developments is a solar panel system. Drilling platforms work 24/7 and companies use a power generator to illuminate the working area. But these generators use a high amount of fuel. In a one-month period, we can generate the same amount of energy that an average of 29 families would use over that same time frame. When we translate this to the total fuel liters that a drilling campaign would use in generating fossil energy in one year, we can save the same amount of fuel used to run a car for 90,000km. And again, I am only referring to the savings from one solar panel on one machine. This system represents an approximate investment of US$7,000 per machine; we do not charge extra for it as it reflects our corporate values.
Q: What other types of services does ECORILL offer to the Mexican mining industry?
A: The company was launched in 2013 and offered training to operators for mining companies that were interested in doing their own drilling. Since then, we have expanded our drilling business and today, we own one of the most modern drilling fleets in Mexico and have drilled over 230,000m. We specialize in diamond drilling and our clients include Capstone Mining, Fresnillo PLC, Minera Frisco and Aura Minerals. We remain true to our origins and still offer drilling training, we also offer an array of exploration services lead by experienced collaborators. Our goal is to listen to our client’s needs and really help them. The secret is to do things well.
Q: What is your assessment of the drilling sector in Mexico and how are you helping to enhance it?
A: Most mining companies are focused on cost reduction. Drilling companies, for example, have significantly changed their cost structure over the last 15 years. Power is passed from the client to the provider and fluctuates in between. But today, cost competitiveness is perhaps the main factor that impacts a mining company’s decision given a variety of drilling companies. Almost anyone can drill, so the market has a supply surplus. But the fact that drilling can be done by many does not mean that everyone really drills well. We strive to boost the market’s consciousness about this and to prove that mining and the drilling business can really be successful. While we are still a small company, we believe our grain of sand is making a difference.