One of the major application breakthroughs in the diamond drilling industry was the development of the wireline system in 1958 by E.J. Longyear Company (now Boart Longyear Ltd.). The principal features of this system were adapted from the petroleum industry’s application of the wireline methods for downthe-hole retrieval of drill core.
The introduction of the wireline system revolutionized the diamond drilling industry by significantly increasing drilling productivity and performance by providing a procedure for retrieving drill core without having to trip all the drill rods from the drill hole for each run. Previously, with conventional standard drilling equipment, the entire string of drill rods had to be pulled from the hole to recover the drill core. This laborious procedure became very frustrating when core blockages occurred over very short intervals when drilling through highly fractured rock and fault zones. Drill rods are now only pulled for bit changes, unexpected downthe-hole problems and special procedures such as wedging. In addition to dramatically increasing drilling productivity, higher core recovery, less caving and core blocking, longer bit life and lower drilling costs were all made achievable by the wireline system.
Wireline drilling was introduced in British Columbia in January 1963 when Canadian Longyear was contracted for a drilling program at the Endako molybdenum project. Subsequently, many exploration companies involved in the B.C. porphyry copper exploration rush and other exploration projects quickly adopted this new drilling technology to advance their projects.