Very much like the great navigations in the 14th century or the space programs, exploring remote parts of our planet is a dangerous, challenging, and unknown endeavor that drives human beings. We not only do it to find resources but also for the sake of science, looking for shreds of evidence of a past that we only speculate. Our civilization has been driven by courageous and visionary explorers and now the challenges are different, and they need to be investigated.
The Unexplored Earth is a design project that aims to provide a vision of the future of mineral exploration in such an unknown planet, the Earth. The result will, hopefully, serve its purpose of inspiring both the mining industry and geological survey organizations throughout the world in developing new technologies and methods of exploration increasing the rate of discoveries with reduced expenditure in comparison with current scenarios.
Together with Epiroc's experts and geologists from all over the world, I investigated the science behind Geological Explorations, the practical aspects, and how the problems affect the people involved. After months of research, it was clear that Exploration is the most challenging and important phase in the Mining process.
Geologists need to analyze maps and data from multiple sources, organize expeditions to collect samples and perform geophysical surveys, define a reduced search grid, and follow many drilling operations. This entire process may take years with or without a good result.
The Exploration process can be very damaging to the environment and spends a lot of time and resources, especially when there is not a discovery.
The Pilgrim is an underground drone capable of exploring where humans are not able to go, performing geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys within the Undercover, a 10 to 15m deep layer, where the chances of finding evidence of Mineral Deposits are much higher.
The drone is small. And its flat and sleek body allows it to move freely underground as if it "swims" through soil, sand, and gravel. Thanks to a geothermal battery system, it can perform long sweeps within the search grid without coming to the surface.
While working, it sends a live feed to geologists on the surface who can take control of it and analyze closely a specific geological formation. The entire data comes easily allowing them to make faster decisions and pin drilling locations if needed.
Thanks to Epiroc Pilgrim, Exploration is faster, simpler, and more effective than ever. Preparing us for a cleaner future.