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Drillcore library project under way

Saturday, 27th October, 2018

Contracted Manager at the EC Andrews Drillcore Facility Brian Casey holding onto some drillcore on site. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Contracted Manager at the EC Andrews Drillcore Facility Brian Casey holding onto some drillcore on site. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

The value of the EC Andrews Drillcore Facility has been highlighted with a $900,000 upgrade to the facility currently underway and expected to be complete by mid-December.

The facility, which allows many within the resources industry as well as university students to analyse drill cores and other materials, was given money for upgrade work in last year’s State budget.

Contracted Manager at the facility Brian Casey said there was an extensive collection of materials for explorers to observe there.

“We currently store three hundred holes, which is ninety thousand litres (and) nine thousand kilometres of drill core,” he said.

“There’ll be a similar amount going into the new shed as well.

“So, different people from all types of exploration mining companies come here as well as a lot of university students.

“Sydney University and University of Tasmania come here a couple times a year and they’ll have a look at some drill core.

“The students will re-log it as part of their program. Then they’ll go out in the field and identify the rocks that they’ve seen in the drill core.”

Brian said everyone who came to the facility was impressed with what they could observe.

“Everyone likes the facilities, the setup and the ease of being able to look at the drill core,” he said.

“As with anything, explorations go through boom and busts so when the money’s tight you don’t see so many people. But when it loosens up again, more people are here.

“But universities certainly do use the facility a lot.”

One beneficiary of the facility is exploration company Silver City Minerals, with Managing Director Chris Torrey saying it was “invaluable” for many within the industry.

“Throughout the Broken Hill district there’s been thousands of diamond drill holes drilled and a lot of them are stored in that facility,” he said. 

“So if you go and search their website, or call them up, before you go out to an area, they’ll tell you whether or not there’s any drill core there and whether it’s available for viewing.

“So it’s a starting point to see what you can find out about an area you’re interested in.

“The drill holes cost a lot of money, so if the core is stored there it’s money you don’t have to spend.” 

Mr Torrey said the collection of samples at the Drillcore Facility helped make it much easier to evaluate whether certain areas required further exploration.

“The Core Facility at Broken Hill has stored these little packets of crushed rock for a number of projects dating back to the 70s,” he said.

“In those days, they only ever analysed for copper, lead, zinc and silver, and maybe manganese.

“Now the potential is to go back to those samples and areas you’re interested in, select them out and run high-powered geo-chemistry over them to find out a lot more about them.

“That means you don’t have to go and do the whole sampling program again, it’s all there. 

“So it makes everything faster. It just gives you a first pass look-see of what’s going on.”

A spokesperson for the New South Wale’s Department of Planning and Environment said the upgrade work was expected to be complete by December 13.

“Access to drill core samples is important for the resources industry to encourage mineral exploration in NSW,” said the spokesperson.

“The expansion of the EC Andrews Drillcore Facility in Broken Hill will provide additional secure storage and access to the extensive amount of drill core generated by historical and current exploration and mining activities around Broken Hill.

“The expansion of the facility will add an additional 80,000 square metres of core storage, almost doubling the building’s capacity, at a cost of $900,500.

“Construction of the building expansion commenced in early October. Barring rain delays, the scheduled completion date is December 13.

“The library has averaged 10 external users a month for the past two years.

“This doesn’t include the many Department of Planning and Environment staff who regularly use the library for their day-to-day work.”

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