Our certificate programs are made up of the following courses:

1. Drilling fundamentals

Drilling boreholes into the Earth's crust can be done in many different ways using different types of drill rig and ancillary equipment and we often allow this to confuse us. In effect, all drilling operations are very similar and we can identify several of "essential features" that are common to all drilling methods and techniques, increasing the candidate’s level of understanding of these vital concepts is a necessary foundation for understanding more complex drilling concepts.

This course examines these essential features and so is designed to deepen the candidate’s understanding of these fundamental drilling concepts. This course is an essential foundation upon which all of the certificate programs will build.

2. Introduction to drilling methods

Frequently we refer to the same drilling method in three or four different ways and this creates significant confusion. In order to eliminate this confusion, this course discusses a simple classification of common drilling methods and techniques that are used in exploration and mining applications. For each method and technique, an overview of the general principles and the surface and downhole equipment are discussed. This will enable candidates to objectively assess the applications and limitations of each drilling method and technique.

3. Common drilling calculations

Frequently, a number of in-hole problems are blamed on “adverse geological conditions” when in fact the problem is caused by poor hole cleaning and poor drilling practice. The flushing system is a critically important feature of every drilling operation and so an understanding of some fundamentals of the flow of drilling fluid through the borehole is important.

In this course, candidates will learn how to carry out six basic calculations that will help the candidate to better understand the fundamentals of fluid flow and how a lack of attention to these fundamental principles can lead to a host of in-hole and other problems. 

4. The use of drilling fluids in exploration drilling

The drilling fluid has to perform a number of critical functions as it flows through the borehole, in this course these functions and the important properties of the drilling fluid will be discussed. The course also examines different types of drilling fluid additives and their applications, the design of a fluid system and the design of surface reticulation systems. The application of drilling foam to air flush drilling operations is also discussed.

5. Fundamentals of borehole surveying 

"A borehole is not a borehole unless it has been surveyed". Boreholes do not progress in straight lines – they deviate at different rates depending upon a number of factors and, for many reasons, it is essential that the path of the borehole is accurately known.

This course discusses some fundamental surveying concepts, the principles of operation of a range of different survey tools and as well as the major sources of error in running a borehole survey. By the end of this course candidates will be able to identify errors in a set of survey data and also how to correct the errors so that the survey data more accurately represents the true path of the borehole.

6. Economic aspects of exploration drilling

Most mining companies use contractors to conduct their drilling programs and so whether you are a geologist or a contractor, management of a drilling contract requires that you have a good understanding of how a contract is structured and therefore of how the contractor makes profit.

This course examines the role of drilling in the mining industry and how a typical tender document is constructed. The course also discusses the structure of different types of drilling contract and examines how an understanding of the structure of a contract can be used to better manage production and cost aspects of a drilling operation.

7. Fundamentals of hazard identification

Hazard Identification is the most critical part of the risk assessment process - poor or incomplete hazard identification leads to poor risk assessment and therefore increased risk of injury or loss.

Many different techniques have been developed to assist in identifying hazards but the very complex nature of drilling operations make these techniques unsuitable. In this course candidates will be introduced to the Component - Activity Technique for identifying hazards in drilling operations. The assessments in the course provide candidates with opportunities to use the technique in a practical setting.

8. Fundamentals of risk assessment

Risk assessment is the most fundamental tool that is used to manage safety and when correctly applied, will significantly reduce the chances of an accident. This course examines the fundamental principles of risk assessment and risk mitigation.

9. Legal aspects of exploration drilling (SA Law)

In every country in the world, exploration activities are regulated by one or more Acts of Parliament or pieces of legislation. In South Africa, exploration drilling operations have to comply with two major pieces of legislation, neither of which specifically addresses exploration drilling activities. The correct interpretation of the legal requirements and the appropriate application of the requirements is therefore of great importance.

In this course, we examine the structure of the legislation and we extract and interpret the provisions that are applicable to an exploration operation.

10. Drilling engineering

This course builds on some basic concepts that are a necessary foundation for the drilling methods and techniques and directional drilling courses that follow. Circular motion, the fundamentals of the strength of materials and the properties of wire ropes are covered as a basis for the examination equipment properties and design which are essential for an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of different drilling techniques.

11. Dual-tube reverse circulation drilling techniques

In this course, we examine in much greater detail aspects of the drilling technique with particular reference to the efficiency and accuracy of sampling.

The characteristics of face sampling hammers and different designs of dual walled drillpipe are discussed as well as different types of sampling systems. Throughout this course special emphasis is placed on the identification of hazards associated with the drilling technique.

12. Diamond core drilling techniques

In this course, we examine in much greater detail aspects of the drilling technique with particular reference to the efficiency of a coring operation and the accuracy and quality of the core samples produced.

The characteristics of a range of surface and downhole tools are discussed. Throughout this course special emphasis is placed on the identification of hazards associated with the drilling technique.

13. Pre-deployment inspection procedures

This course is designed to equip candidates with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to effectively conduct a pre-deployment inspection on a drill rig, compressor, booster and other ancillary drilling equipment.

14. Practical hazard identification

This course is an extension of the Fundamentals of hazard identification course and focusses on the major hazards associated with different types of drill rig and ancillary equipment.

15. Fundamentals of directional drilling

Directional drilling is playing and increasingly important role in exploration drilling but in many cases the technology is incorrectly or poorly applied. In this course, we discuss some fundamental directional drilling concepts so that the capabilities and limitations of different technologies can be more clearly understood. This course is an essential foundation for the two specialist courses that follow.

16. Directional drilling equipment

The trajectory of a borehole can be altered in a number of ways each having different applications and associated risks and costs. In this course we will examine the principles of operation of different types of directional drilling equipment that are commonly available, their application and the risks associated with each.

17. Planning a directional borehole

Many directional drilling operations fail because the objectives of the project were unrealistic or unobtainable. Correct planning and design of the directional borehole is essential to the success of the project and so in this course we will examine the process of borehole design using first principles. This course requires that the candidate has a good understanding of trigonometry and geometry in order that the various calculations can be executed.