Geotechnical Drilling

At Hagstrom Drilling we provide a broad range of experience in Geotechnical drilling  across the mining, construction and marine industries. Our diversity and flexibility makes us the leading drilling contractor choice.

Hagstrom’s  Geotechnical Division offer a fleet of drill rigs operated by crews who have a wealth of geotechnical drilling experience and a track record of achieving high standard results under challenging site conditions.

A range of specialist geotechnical testing equipment is available with diverse capabilities from diamond coring and testing on holes providing undisturbed core samples up to 4″ (102 millimetres) in diameter to various depths. Our crew is experienced in all ground formations and understand that hole direction, recovery and quality are crucial.



 Geotechnical drilling services 

“We would like to thank Hagstrom and their drill crew for delivering on our project safely, ahead of schedule and below budget, great work”


Our Services

Wireline Diamond Drilling NQ, HQ, PQ and S Geobor
  • Diamond crusted drill bit’s are used to cut through. rock layers, leaving core sample inside drill rods
  • Provides efficient sample extraction without having to pull out entire drill string.
  • The sample is extracted via an overshot attached to the wireline cable.
  • NQ, HQ, PQ  and S Geobor sizes available.
Directional Drilling
  • Drilling of non-vertical boreholes and wells.
Mud Rotary Drilling
  • Used for drilling through soft rocks, sand and clay mixtures.
  • Specialised mud mixture is pumped down the hole, turning a rotary bit which returns rock chip sample inside the mud.
Air Core Drilling
  • Widely used to drill loose material covering solid rock.
  • Steel and tungsten blades are used to bore a hole while compressed air is injected into the hole to remove drill cuttings.
  • Provides a more accurate sample than RAB drilling.
  • Down hole percussion hammers can also be utilised.
Hollow Flight Augers
  • Widely used for soil sampling, groundwater monitoring and/or temporary drill casing.
  • “hollow” describes their ability for drill rods to pass through their centre, to take undisturbed samples for analysis or to install pipe for ground monitoring.
  • Auger cutter head and pilot bit break up ground material while auger ‘flights’ act as a screw to move dirt from the bottom of the hole.
Solid Stem Auger
  • Widely used in environmental drilling for soils and clays.
  • Solid stem with a continuous spiralled steel flight welded on the outside.
  • Allows for easy sampling in formations with semi-consolidated soil.
In Situ Instrumentation Installation
  • Widely used for monitoring water pressures, ground improvement and dewatering schemes.
  • Standpipe piezometers are installed in situ in bores to monitor ground water levels and pressures.
  • Instrumentation tests included.
  • ‘In Situ’ refers to instrumentation being installed at point/subject of interest.
SPT’s (Standard Penetration Testing)
  • In situ penetration test designed to provide information on geotechnical engineering properties of soil
  • Samples tubes are driven into the ground via blows from a slide hammer
  • Simple, inexpensive yet highly effective in determining the density of sands and gravels
Shelby Push Tube Sampling
  • A Shelby Push Tube System is available for sampling in soils which are sensitive to ground disturbance.
  • Sampler consists of a thin walled.
  • Available in 50mm, 63mm and 76mm sizes.
Soil Permeability Testing
  • The permeability of the soil is the ability of water to move through it.
  • Depends on physical and chemical properties of the soil.
  • Also referred to as ‘hydraulic conductivity’ i.e ability of soil to conduct water.
  • The thin walled steel tube is pushed into the soil via continuous static thrust.
  • Low wall thickness to sample area ratio.
Shear Vane Testing
  • In situ geotechnical testing method.
  • Used to estimate the undrained shear strength of saturated clays without disturbance.
  • Simple, quick and cost effective way of estimating the soils’ shear strength.
Packer Testing
  • Wireline permeability testing is a method of calculating the permeability and hydraulic conductivity of rock formations surrounding a drilled borehole.
Vibrating Wire Piezometers
  • Vibrating Wire Piezometer accurately measures pore water pressures in fully or partially saturated soil.
Dilatometer Testing (DMT)
  • An in situ technique used in geotechnical investigations.
  • Used to determine the lateral stress and lateral stiffness of soils for engineering purposes.
  • Drilling a steel blade, then expanding a steel membrane into the hole wall using pressurised gas.

Usually performed as part of an investigation, exploration or construction Hagstrom uses geotechnical drilling as a tool to obtain core samples or to establish a safe foundation prior to construction for onshore or close to shore projects. 

Working under the supervision of an experienced Geotechnical Engineer who oversees the project, Geotechnical drilling is typically undertaken by our qualified team of drillers who are all Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 ADIA accredited. They have the knowledge and experience to safely operate specialised drilling equipment and undertake work to the highest standards.

What is geotechnical drilling used for?

Geotechnical drilling is primarily used for site analysis. This includes drilling to collect rock and soil samples, determining soil stability and the geology of the site.

The analysis is critical, as unsafe rock or soil conditions could undermine the integrity of the site and trigger the structural collapse of buildings during natural disasters such as tornado’s, floods or earthquakes.

Geotechnical drilling is also used to search for deposits of minerals, oil, gas, and other valuable resources. The core samples and site data is used to establish the viability of the project.  

Why is geotechnical drilling necessary?

In Australia, regulations require a site to be investigated for safety before a building permit can be granted. Drilling rigs and other drilling equipment are deployed to closely monitor for safety and to identify any changes or indications of developing problems that could pose a risk to the development. The data collected is used to determine whether or not a site is appropriate for the planned construction.

Our experience

With a track record of operating with precision in a range of challenging geological and ecological site conditions throughout Australia. Hagstrom has extensive Geotechnical Drilling experience. Our projects include:


Hagstrom Drilling successfully completed a geotechnical site investigation for the planned Barangaroo Ferry Hub in Sydney Harbour. A Sea Lift 6 was utilised in combination with a UDR 100 drilling rig and a skid mounted CPT unit. The scope of work completed comprised seven bore holes and five CPTs through the geology of surface sand and mud and then down through sandstone.  Mobilisation was completed out of a local yard and required careful attention to the high level of marine activity in and around the site and also tidal timetables which assured the safe towage of the barge under the Anzac bridge.  


Hagstrom Drilling were engaged to provide geotechnical and environmental drilling services for a proposed APLNG site on Curtis Island Queensland. This twelve month project involved five drill rigs and associated support equipment to provide the drilling for various tests including groundwater monitoring boreholes, acid sulphate soil boring, pressure meter testing, and test pits. Approximately 2000 metres near shore over 2500 metres onshore drilling were safely and efficiently completed.


Hagstrom Drilling provided PQ diamond drilling and SPT’s utilising a heliportable UDR-100 drill rig (DR005) mounted on a jack-up barge for Phase 1 of a near shore geotechnical investigation. This drilling project was part of the pre-feasibility study carried out for the company’s Ichthys Gas Field Development Project.

At Hagstrom Drilling we pride ourselves on the extent, diversity and range of our professional services. Talk to us about your Geotechnical Drilling needs.


Vale Nickel Mine – New Caledonia South Pacific Island
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Wellington Dam
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Transfield Services Beadon Creek
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Samsung C&T Roy Hill Project Onshore & Near Shore Drilling
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Pluton Resources Cockatoo Island
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Barangaroo Ferry Hub Geotechnical
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Iron Ore Holdings
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Yandi Mine Site Geotechnical
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Woogina Minesite
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Ord River Geotechnical
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Lucinda Bulk Sugar Loader Facility
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Hunt Point Tug Harbour BHP Biliton
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Gladstone Nearshore & Onshore Geotechnical Drilling
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Boondarie Stockyard Port Hedlands
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BHP Chichester Fill
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AMC Wharf Compaction Testing Henderson
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Woodside James Price Point Geotechnical
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Solomon Railway & Mine site
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Roy Hill Geotechnical
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North Queensland Bulk Ports Geotechnical
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Cape Lambert Intertidal (Marsh Buggy) Drilling
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Big McPhee Creek Geotechnical Coffey
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Wheatstone Phase III Onsore Project Chevron
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Perth Flying Squadron Nedlands
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Rio Tinto Iron Ore- Mirandoo Minesite
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Rail Bridge -Yandi Wye Bridge BHP Biliton
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Milyeanaup Wind Farms
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Maret Island Geotechnical Investigation
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Barrow Island Geo technical Diamond
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Inpex Darwin – Phase 1 & 2 Nearshore Geotechnical Investigation
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Elizabeth Quay
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Sydney Rapid Transport (SRT)
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Perth Rail Link
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Forrestfield Airport Link (FAL)
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