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Plansearch Operations

OPERATIONS OF PLANSEARCH (extract from the book-  Planet Mining Company Pty Ltd, 1970,  )

The Operations Department was established to service the natural gas, oil and minerals geological survey and exploration programmes in all phases of Planet’s operations.  Operations Manager, Peter G Coutts, controls the field party managers, field assistants and all on-site equipment.

Plansearch helicopter
Planet Contracted Sycamore helicopter at Uluru 1968

The Operations Department is faced with the formidable task of deploying personnel and equipment over a sparsely populated continent of more than three million square miles and their employment in remote areas and harsh climates where it may be impossible to operate for more than six months of the year.  The efficiency of the Group’s Operations Department is the key to the success of the Group’s exploratory activities.

The Operations Department is responsible for the organisation and supervision of drilling contracts prepared to geologists’ specifications.  In conjunction with the Budget Section it prepares cost estimates for expenditure on each exploration activity.  When a programme is underway, a weekly comparison of actual cost to the budget estimate is available to senior executives of the Group.

Daily Activity Reports are prepared by the Operations Department from informative submitted by every operating petroleum and minerals unit on-shore and off-shore. Generally four-wheel
drive vehicles are used in the field and in very rugged isolated terrain helicopters are used extensively on charter for transporting personnel and equipment.

As well as supporting geologists on land, the Operations Department assists the off-shore minerals geologists in solving the many problems that may arise when drilling in waters up to 150 feet in depth.  Off-shore exploration work for minerals does not warrant the use of huge rigs or vessels such as those employed in off-shore drilling for oil.  Plansearch uses vessels of about 65 feet and around 15 tons.  It involves a great deal of ingenuity to keep these vessels, usually chartered by Plansearch, working in the open ocean conditions encountered off our shores.

Off-shore navigation and accurate position fixing is being greatly assisted by the use of one of the marvels of the electronic age, the laser beam.  The laser equipment is supplied and operated by Laser Electronics Pty Ltd in which the Planet Group has a substantial financial interest.  This method of surveying from the shore out to sea has proved to be the most effective way of overcoming the problem of fixing and re-establishing drilling positions. It is a highly sophisticated and successful technique, enabling many times greater accuracy to be achieved than with traditional methods of
surveying.  The laser beam has proved to be useful in land surveying in areas where undergrowth and trees have made normal methods of surveying difficult.

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