Drilling twinned holes is a traditional technique used for verification of intersections of high-grade mineralization, testing of historic data, or confirmation of drillhole data during geological due diligence studies. Twinned holes can also be used for special tasks such as correcting earlier data that are recognized to be biased.
Successful implementation of the twinned-holes technique requires thorough planning. Experience suggests that good practice is to drill twinned holes no more than 5 m apart. Many unsuccessful twinned-holes programs could possibly have failed because the twinned holes have been drilled too far apart.
Twinned holes are best compared by mineralization intersections and, if the data and geological characteristics of the deposit permit, by samples, equal-length composites, or geological units. Variables to be verified by twinned holes should include the thicknesses of the geological units of interest (e.g., mineralized thickness) as well as the presence of significant geological features (e.g., ore/mineralization contacts, alteration, etc.).
A formal, rigorous analysis of twinned-hole data is essential. Repeatability of sampling, analytical results, and bias must be analyzed and statistically quantified. The number of twinned holes required for conclusive statistical and geostatistical analysis can be as high as 20–30, in particular where the studied variables are characterized by high short-range (local) variability.
The efficiency of this approach is demonstrated by several examples of successfully applied twinned-hole projects, including applications to orogenic gold, mineral sands, bauxite, and iron ore deposits.