TNDC Drilling Partner Completes First Project With Expanded Drill Rig Fleet

Geotech, TNDC’s drilling services partner operating in Tahltan Territory, has expanded its fleet of drill rigs with the addition of a remote access helicopter portable sonic drill, and recently completed its first project for SnipGold Corp (SnipGold). The Hydracore Heli-Sonic 4000 (HHS4000) drill is providing a new, efficient method for the investigation of overburden deposits, allowing greater accuracy of field data collection, which is of particular importance to both mining and engineering firms when reviewing deposits as well as planning infrastructure works in Tahltan Territory.

The HHS4000 is a diverse multi-purpose unit that can complete multiple drilling methodologies including sonic, soil and rock coring, mud rotary and rotary air blast drilling techniques. When sonic drilling, a second hydraulic power pack is used to provide the power source, to create the resonant frequencies for sonic casing advancement, while a special design mounting plate allows for the drill heads to be interchangeable, between that of the sonic head and conventional rotary head facilitating mud, air and core drilling. 

In recent years, the sonic methodology has seen increased implementation with investigations of soft subsurface sediments, notably tailing deposits. With the added benefit of achieving up to 100% recovery throughout the bore, the engineering and soil data that can be obtained is second to no other drilling method.

“In a region of remote project locations and an increasing requirement for continuous high-quality samples, Geotech recognized the need for a remote access helicopter portable sonic drill. We embarked on months of research and development, in conjunction with our rig suppliers and technical experts, to create the HHS4000 sonic drill, for implementation in restricted access locations not accessible by traditional track or truck sonic drill rigs,” explains Russ Prevett, Sonic Drilling Division Project Manger. 

Geotech recently completed its first program with the HHS4000 under the Tahltech Drilling Services banner, its partnership with TNDC. The geotechnical investigation was completed for SnipGold (a Seabridge Gold subsidiary) on the old Johnny Mountain Mine Property, located near the Bob Quinn airstrip. SnipGold has recently initiated a robust environmental program aiming to remediate areas of historical mining activity at its newly acquired Iskut property in northwestern British Columbia, including the Johnny Mountain Mine, a past gold producer.

The heli-sonic drill was used to advance five boreholes to depths of up to 15 metres, through compacted tills, clays, boulders and rock. Throughout the program the drill crew was asked not to use any water to advance the boreholes to ensure the ground was not subjected to increased bit face pressures that could potentially affect the integrity of the structure.

Further to the sonic drilling, a secondary heli/skid drill was utilized to complete ODEX drilling for the installation of 2” piezometers. The ODEX methodology utilizes a rotary air blast method while drilling a casing to sleeve the borehole, allowing for the installation of instrumentation.

“Tahltech Drilling Services proved to be a valuable partner for SnipGold. We set rigorous technical expectations for this group and they were met. With the Johnny Mountain Mine Project, it was extremely important that all our partners adhered to set schedules and timelines, which Tahltech did. Because they reflected our commitment to safety in all their operations, they helped to build a strong relationship and we believe their latest technology will be beneficial for Projects in the area,” says Elizabeth F. Miller M.Sc., R. P.Bio., Program Manager, SnipGold.

Geotech’s Sonic division is capable of completing various types of drilling programs, including:

  • Continuous soil sampling in geotechnical and environmental/remediation investigations
  • In-situ and downhole testing such as standard penetration tests and packer testing
  • Investigations to optimize recovery or quantify reserves in mineral or aggregate exploration
  • Confirmatory testing and continuous sampling for tailings dam and levee investigations
  • Hydrogeological drilling and installations for watershed and mapping investigations
  • Micro-pile or earth anchor installation during infrastructure projects

“Geotech’s addition of the Hydracore Heli-Sonic 4000 (HHS4000) will allow for more diversity in remote and restricted access drilling investigations, facilitating a greater confidence in obtained data, pertaining to engineering and resource investigations. The small footprint a Heli portable drill offers allows data gaps to be infilled with a greatly reduced footprint over conventional clearing and access preparation, as well as to reduce the overall environmental impact to the area of investigation. The Heli-Sonic will be extremely beneficial for mining and engineering firms undertaking investigation inside and outside the region,” says Peter Arendt, TNDC CEO.

For more information about the HHS4000, its capabilities and availability, review the rig specification sheet and contact Geotech Drilling at  or 1-888-228-1234.



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  • We worked with TNDC on the Galore Creek mining project and the Northwest Transmission Line, providing heavy lift helicopter services. It made good business sense to get involved with the Nation, so we formed Tahltan Helifor Joint Venture in 2011. After meeting Bill Adsit, I knew we had made the right decision. We have had only positive experiences and look forward to continued collaboration.
    Gary Laidlaw
    President & General Manager, Helifor Canada Corp.
  • Ledcor recognized the benefits offered through the Tahltan’s local expertise and experience, and welcomed the opportunity to involve community members in projects. We established Tahltan-Ledcor Joint Venture back in 1991 when we managed construction on the Eskay Creek mine. We value the partnership with TNDC and look forward to the opportunities ahead within Tahltan traditional territory.
    Rodger McLean
    Past Business Development & Aboriginal Relations Manager, Ledcor
  • We established the Tahltan Macro Industries Joint Venture with TNDC in 2009. Macro is very satisfied with the relationship we have with TNDC. The company has a reputation of being a solid and reputable business corporation, that emphasizes value added partnerships and business developments. We look forward to working with TNDC in future opportunities.
    Darcy Friesen
    Manager of Business Development & Special Projects, Macro Industries
  • TNDC is a great place to work. The atmosphere in the office is friendly, open, and honest, and there is always humour and laughter. I like that TNDC maintains an active approach of hiring locally and offers training within that position. Employees are highly encouraged and supported to advance professionally, which ripples into advancing personally as well.
    Rhonda Quock
    Finance & Administration Manager, TNDC
  • We formed our Tahltan Aeronigma Geodis Wilson partnership in 2011. It’s been an honour to partner with TNDC for the opportunity to provide our wide-range of global logistical services and be a part of a world class organization built on mutual cooperation, trust and respect. They’re a terrific group of educated, business friendly people eager to learn and work with us.
    Adam J. Wickstead
    President, Aeronigma Solutions Inc.
  • Sodexo Canada has been a partner with TNDC since 2002, providing complete camp management through Spatsizi Remote Services. During this time we have worked on many projects, and employed many Tahltan members. It’s been very positive, and the business relationships have formed long lasting personal and business friendships.
    Ivor MacGregor
    Vice President, Operations, Sodexo Canada Ltd.