Precious support to mineral exploration

19 Sep 2016

Portugal has recently been reinvesting considerable effort into developing its mining sector. However, we must remember that mining has ancient traditions in Portugal, and is in fact still today carried out using the most modern technologies and processes known.

It all starts in the exploratory phase, when the mineral potential of an area is assessed. After geological, geophysical, seismic and other tests are carried out, the final assessment consists of drilling core samples. Core samples not only confirm the viability of an area for mineral exploration, but are often also carried out in various stages of the mine’s life cycle, to assist decision-makers in directing the future growth of the mine.

Drilling for core sample is therefore an essential phase in modern mining. However, drilling equipment cannot operate without some form of lubrication, which is normally known as “mud”. This mud is essential to keep the drill crowns cooled, to keep the holes clean by bringing debris to the surface, to reduce friction between the drill rods and the sides of the hole, and to interact with the earth to stabilize it and ensure that the drilling runs smoothly and efficiently.

To prepare the mud, two products are generally used: bentonites or polymers. We have had excellent results using both kinds of products, supplied to the highest quality standards of Süd-Chemie*. In this instance, we would like to make specific reference to SC MUD P, a synthetic polymer, which has yielded excellent results in geological surveys under demanding circumstances.

SC MUD P has proven highly reliable when drilling deeper than 600 meters, maintaining its viscosity and lubrication properties intact. It is also very easy to use and very little is needed: between 0.025% and 0.10% of water volume to make the desired mud. SC MUD P is an environmentally friendly product, being 100% inert and easily degradable with the use of oxidants.

* Süd-Chemie is headquartered in Munich (Germany), and has a highly reputed track record in providing solutions to a variety of sectors, including civil engineering. Süd-Chemie and Salmon have been partners in the Portuguese market for decades, not only in civil engineering but also in filtration aids for edible oils, wine and other applications.