Coiled Tubing Drilling for Mineral Exploration

“A cost of $50 per meter in Greenfield mineral exploration drilling, will change the approach to exploration
drilling programs.” Soren Soe, DET CRC.


To develop and build a Coiled Tubing Drilling Rig (CT Rig) for Greenfields mineral exploration drilling at a cost of $50/metre to a depth of 500 metres and weighing less than 10 tonnes with ancillary safety and environmental benefits.

Background & Aims

The major advantage of CT drilling is the elimination of drill rods leading to much higher drilling rates and hence no associated rod handling, the system facilitates a safer drill site. A CT rig has the ability to continuously maintain in hole pressures with a promise of improved hole stability plus capabilities to continuously retract the drill string at speeds of >30 metres per minute.

Project 1.1 aims to improve our current CT technologies to drill the hard rocks encountered in mineral exploration and to operate cost effectively.
The project will also focus on improving the life and durability of the drill string (the coil) by researching new materials such as composites, high strength steel and alloy tubes in combination with optimised operating parameters. A key challenge for the Project is to produce a quality sample of the drilled formation so, combined research in borehole stability, water cleaning and cuttings transport are areas of focused research.