March was a busy month for the team here at Viking West. Vice President Kevin Reimer flew across Canada to co-exhibit at PDAC 2016, a convention held by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada that attracts members of the mineral exploration community from all over the world.
Back home in BC, we were busy exploring options for a local customer in need of a unique attachment.
So unique, in fact, that the machine it’s being built for doesn’t exist.
I caught up with Kevin to talk more about the new project and his experience at PDAC.
Kelvin: What are some of the keys to good exhibiting?
Kevin: Having a machine there for people to see is a necessity. There’s benefit to having something tangible they can see and touch, a machine they could potentially purchase for their drilling application. We have video of our machines in action as well as all our standard marketing literature. We bring a small machine normally, it’s easy and economical to ship. We’re toying with the idea of bringing a 4000 to Groundwater at the end of this year.
What are the specifications of Viking’s sonic drill rigs?
The first distinction is that we sell a large size and a small size. On the small size, we sell a mini sonic head attached to a terrier track drill or a Dando multitec 4000 track drill. On the large size, the full capacity, we can supply a sonic 50K drill head on a Dando 375 track drill.
The unique variations of these two sizes would be that on the mini side, we’re one of the only companies that can offer a small, limited access, lightweight rubber tracked drill with a small sonic head at an affordable price.
Where are both heads being used?
The large-sized head is in North America working for an environmental drilling company. For the large head, we’re working with customers on a 375 size machine, full capacity sonic with onboard rod storage and pipe handling.
The small sized head is in south America sampling for gold right now. This head is used in muddy conditions in the jungle, it’s drilling into clays mostly. This is where the sonic head really excels, in soft unconsolidated conditions. If you drill and sample down to 100 feet with sonic you can achieve nearly 100% representative core samples. This is true both of the little and big machine.
Back to PDAC, did you talk to any potential customers about sonic drill heads?
We did, but most of the conversations centred on their conditions first. We learn what we can, then it’s our job to provide solutions. There were a couple clients looking for special custom drills specific for their market. These companies have to drill in jungles, in swamps and on the sides of mountains. Clay drilling conditions are quite unique so it’s always rewarding to be able to provide solutions for these kinds of challenging applications.
Ultimately, whether we’re dealing with sonic drill heads or custom tooling or other products, the key is to listen first. This is how you work smart. Conventions like PDAC, provided you’re prepared, are a great way to meet people in the industry and learn more about their unique challenges. This is the nature of our business, solving problems. The more we solve, the more seem to come our way.
Which is a good thing, right?
(laughs) You bet. It means our industry is working in more ways than one.