Challenges of potash exploration drilling

CIM Vancouver 2016
Ms Jana Neubert (ERCOSPLAN Ingenieurgesellschaft)
The exploration, extraction and processing of potash requires particular planning and test work,
amongst others, due to the high solubility of the salt minerals and their partly hygroscopic behavior.
For the same reason the selection of suitable exploration methods, exploration density and evaluation
of the results are of crucial importance. As potash deposits occur mostly unexposed the only
possibility to get material and, therefore, detailed information from the subsurface is through drilling
and coring. The recovered material is significant to gain material for assay data and test works, e.g.
rock mechanical and processing test works, which are essential for the evaluation of the best mining
and processing options for each individual potash deposit.
In this frame particular requirements related to drill hole design, drill mud selection and drill mud
control have to be considered in order to successfully complete a stable drill hole, recover high quality
unbroken and undissolved drill cores and protect the potash deposit from any dissolution.
Furthermore, the drill core handling and sampling procedures of the drill core are of crucial
importance to guarantee best results as data base for the entire further planning.
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