Project Geologist, IsoEnergy
IsoEnergy uses MySQL Database Service to store, access, and manage critical drill hole data easily, accurately, and cost-effectively.
Introduction & Background
IsoEnergy Ltd. is a Vancouver-based mineral exploration company founded in 2016. Their portfolio comprises 24 exploration projects in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan, Canada, an area well recognized for the high-grade uranium mineralization. The company is currently planning for summer drill programs at its Geiger and Larocque East projects. Larocque East hosts the company's Hurricane Zone of high-grade mineralization, with intersections reaching 74.0% U3O8 over 3.5 metres within an interval of 38.8% U3O8 over 7.5 metres in drill hole LE20-76.
When evaluating new projects and planning exploration on existing ones, IsoEnergy heavily relies on geological data related to exploration drilling or other work in the area. This can include soils geochemistry, drill hole locations and orientations, as well as lithological and other drill hole data such as down-hole geochemistry, geotechnical data, rock alterations, and critical structure data. Field operations are typically remote, where communications are limited to satellite Internet or satellite phones. The data comes from many different sources. It may be compiled from historical reports, imported from other company databases, or collected in the field by IsoEnergy geologists.
For IsoEnergy, the ability to integrate, store, manage, and share exploration data in an easy and accessible way has a direct impact on their efficiency.
Business Challenges & Goals
IsoEnergy's geologists made use of a Microsoft Access file to upload field data and share it with other geologists as well as the company's management team. However, with numerous people requiring access to this database, an increasing number of conflicts started to arise, leading to geological data being temporarily over-written or altered. This translated into the company spending additional time correcting, importing, and verifying data before using it in geological models.
The process of recovering and quality checking data often involved manually reviewing hundreds of records, which took an increasing amount of time as the company's exploration projects advanced. It was also difficult to identify who made the latest modifications to those records. A user-friendly, cost-effective database cloud solution was needed to ensure data integrity with a single source of truth and minimize data errors with the least technical intervention.
The difficulty of uploading data in real time due to poor satellite or Internet connection represented a key challenge for IsoEnergy. The company was thus aiming at streamlining data collection and data sharing. "If I wanted to update a single row of data, I had to make sure I had the most recent copy of the database, and if not, I would have to download and re-upload an entire 80 megabytes database with an Internet speed as low as 20kbps, which is the last thing you want to be waiting for when you're trying to send an update to management", Justin Rodko said.
IsoEnergy was also keen on enhancing the overall business agility and team productivity, which required an enterprise-grade solution that would support IsoEnergy's demands for scalability and offer the much-needed IT support to relieve pressure on IsoEnergy's geologists.
Business Results & Metrics
Upon deploying MySQL Database Service and moving the data from Microsoft Access, IsoEnergy's geologists were able to access all field data in real time from a single source of truth. This allowed IsoEnergy to more efficiently compile, update, and share important geological data which it needs to prioritize exploration targets of interest and plan million-dollar drilling projects.
The custom connection to integrate Microsoft Access with MySQL Database Service, built within a few days, provided the company's geologists with a simple frontend, that they were already familiar with, to perform their queries and ensured that there was no business disruption.
For IsoEnergy's management team, MySQL Database Service delivered accurate exploration data which allowed them to make decisions related to exploration opportunities faster, while avoiding costly mistakes due to missing or incomplete information.
MySQL Database Service gave IsoEnergy state-of-the-art tools to manage their database and automate maintenance tasks such as backup, recovery, and monitoring. With the time saved on reviewing or fixing data inconsistencies, IsoEnergy's geologists can now focus more on mineral exploration.
MySQL Database Service, with roles-based access control, enabled IsoEnergy to ensure individual access permissions according to each user's responsibilities. This helped the company to maintain the integrity of their data despite the various updates performed simultaneously by team members. Coupled with the multi-layered security offered by Oracle Gen 2 Cloud Infrastructure, IsoEnergy benefits from end-to-end data protection against external attacks or data breaches.
For IsoEnergy field workers in remote locations, with limited internet connectivity, the ability to work offline is critical. The latest data is uploaded to MySQL Database Service when the Internet connection becomes stable again. This offered IsoEnergy the much-needed flexibility and agility in collecting and storing field data.
With MySQL Database Service optimized for performance and automated scaling, IsoEnergy can now easily access more compute and storage resources across Oracle's Toronto data center. The Oracle Gen 2 Cloud infrastructure, which powers MySQL Database Service, translates into enhanced computing security, performance, and scalability of IsoEnergy's databases.
Since deploying MySQL Database Service, IsoEnergy has witnessed a major reduction in total cost of ownership.
Why MySQL Database Service
"IsoEnergy chose MySQL Database Service due to its ease-of-use, cost-efficiency, and the on-demand scalability which were superior to other cloud providers' offerings, including Microsoft Azure SQL," Justin Rodko said.
IsoEnergy also opted for running their MySQL database-as-a-service on the Oracle Gen2 Cloud to benefit from serverless computing with high security and enterprise-grade support.
"If we need to make changes, build custom queries, or create tables for new data or other import-export procedures, MySQL Database Service is very straight forward and simple. We never need to wait or pay for a developer or consultant to do these things for us. Our existing system was great for the company at the time, but MySQL has been terrific for a growing team. Geologists are free to interact with our data as they see fit, and can do so, using the tools they're already familiar with. And I can issue unique permissions, so I never have to worry about someone making changes they shouldn't be," Justin Rodko said.
The process involved moving data tables, some with hundreds of thousands of records, from Microsoft Access to MySQL Database Service and building a custom integration to continue using Microsoft Access as a frontend for the MySQL database. Time from development to deployment only took three months.
IsoEnergy is currently looking to streamline and improve their data collection and management processes even further by making use of HeatWave, MySQL Database Service's new in-memory query accelerator, which dramatically speeds up both transaction processing and analytics queries.
For generating geological models and reviewing geochemical data sets, IsoEnergy currently exports the data collected from the field into their modeling software - a step which the company aims to eliminate from the process by integrating the MySQL database with the modeling application.