Surface Drilling

Mitchell’s world class surface rig fleet and highly experienced drill crews combine to offer a range of drilling techniques across multiple commodities and geographies.

The mix of late model rig configurations allows us to provide an end-to-end drilling solution for our clients, from grassroots exploration to highly technical deep hole directional programs as well as mine services holes greater than 40” diameter. Surface programs are completed using the latest drilling technology, with a large portion of our surface fleet eliminating rod handling “hands off steel” or significantly reducing high risk, manual operating tasks.

Of course, our equipment is only as good as the crews who operate them, and we are fortunate to have industry leading operations managers, supervisors, driller and offsiders. We will tailor the right crew with the required experience to complete the scope your drill program requires.

Diamond Coring

Surface diamond coring can be conducted at all stages of the exploration and mining lifecycle. Our diamond coring fleet is a standardised, late model spreads in truck and track mount configuration.

The high-capacity diamond coring rig fleet is currently completing diverse green and brownfields programs for the world’s major miners, with diamond hole depths exceeding 2,500m in some of the most challenging terrains and geological settings. Current contracts include multi year, multi rig diamond programs.

machinery set up at work site


Mitchell Services is an expert in directional and navigational operations, conducting highly complex programs using a variety of directional techniques. Navigational motors, wedges, mud motors and various bottom hole assemblies are utilised based on the geological formation, depth, directional parameters and desired client outcome.

Mitchell Services has a dedicated directional drilling team that employees directional drilling engineers who use directional drilling software to design, plan and execute programs of this nature. During the execution phase, the hole path is monitored using downhole survey technology to track the hole ‘flight path’ and ensure drill targets are intersected in the required position. The team is currently being utilised throughout Australia, including deep hole directional diamond programs with hole depths up to 2,500m. We are one of very few drilling companies to have its own dedicated directional drilling teams with directional engineers

We are often asked to conduct ‘parent/daughter’ programs where multiple holes are drilled from the one collar point. This method has the ability to significantly reduce program metreage, remove unwanted core sample, reduce environmental footprints and increase overall production.

directional drilling graph

Mud rotary

Mud rotary drilling is a fast and cost-effective method of drilling through sedimentary style formations. Drilling fluids or ‘muds’ are pumped downhole through the drill string to keep the bit face cool, with the fluids then pushing the hole cuttings/sample up the annulus to surface. The muds also act as a ‘wall cake’ to preserve the hole structure and integrity to minimise the chance of hole collapse.

When combined with our high-capacity pumps and relevant support equipment, our surface drilling rigs have the ability to drill deep mud rotary greater than 1,000m, with penetration rates greater than 50m/hour.

As part of our commitment to Finding a Better Way we have recently combined traditional mud rotary techniques with oil field technology to be able to directionally steer mud rotary holes for mineral exploration. We’ve called it Mineral Performance Drilling.

mud rotary

Mine services

A significant portion of our surface fleet operate brownfield drilling programs on/near operating mine sites, where Mitchell has the experience to conduct specialist holes to assist both open cut and underground operations in the hard rock and metallurgical coal sectors.

Often the type of mine services holes performed are mine critical, ensuring Mitchell’s operations team works hand-in-hand with the client to identify and develop the appropriate methodology ensuring a safe, timely and efficient outcome.

Hard Rock Mine Services operations include:

  • geotechnical drilling services
  • horizontal in pit de-watering
  • large diameter holes
  • mine service holes for water, power and ventilation
  • paste fill holes
  • pilot holes for raise bores
  • production water bores.

Metallurgical Coal Mine Services operations include:

  • coal mine methane/gas drainage
  • pilot holes for raise bores
  • mine service holes for water, power and ventilation
  • paste fill holes
  • gas conformance.
machinery controls dashboard

Mineral Performance Drilling

As part of our commitment to Finding a Better Way, Mitchell Services has created Mineral Performance Drilling (MPD) – the revolutionary new technology allowing mineral explorers to rapidly, efficiently and safely target geological sequences under deep cover, with pinpoint accuracy.

Designed in-house, MPD combines oil and gas technology with traditional mud rotary techniques, enabling mineral exploration drilling through deep cover sequences at speeds of over 50 metres per hour.

With mineral deposits getting deeper and hidden further under cover, MPD makes it economically viable to explore, discover and drill out the orebodies of the future.

Reverse Circulation

Reverse circulation/downhole hammer drilling is a service offered on our select fleet of multipurpose rigs. These surface drillig rigs have high-capacity onboard compressors as well as auxiliary compressor/booster support units to be able to complete holes greater than 500m in depth.

Reverse circulation work is conducted using mechanised rod handlers for reduced manual handling. Sampling is provided using chip sample units with dust suppression and mist injection that are either rig fitted or trailer mounted for efficiency and convenience.

The vast majority of reserve circulation drilling is conducted only when combined with Diamond coring to provide a multipurpose service.

drilling operation
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