Editor’s note: The Geology and Mining series, edited by Dan Wood and Jeffrey Hedenquist, is designed to introduce early-career professionals and students to a variety of topics in mineral exploration, development, and mining, in order to provide insight into the many ways in which geoscientists contribute to the mineral industry.
The diamond drill is the most productive tool available for the earth scientist to explore and map the subsurface. However, the quality of the information obtained for analysis and modeling depends on how well the processes involved are understood so as to eliminate systematic and human error and effectively minimize the variables causing random error. This overview of the quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures required to manage these errors starts with the planning phase of a drilling program and goes through drill rig setup, borehole depth measurement, core recovery measurement, core depth registration, core orientation, borehole survey, and borehole path reconstruction. An outline follows of the methods used in the logging process to accurately depth reference the data recorded from both core and bore, as well as to ensure that the angles measured for structures are verified and correctly rotated to derive their in situ dip and dip direction or plunge and trend. To conclude, the provisions required for effective audits of the drilling and logging QA/QC processes are discussed: testing for inconsistencies, certifying that standards have been achieved, reporting on weaknesses, and making recommendations for improved performance.