68 Years of GEOSOL

April 17, 2022

by Geosol Team

With benchmark drilling services in Latin America, Geosol seeks excellence in mineral exploration in Brazil and overseas. 

Geosol drill site

Rich history 

In 1953, foreign capital was once again allowed in Brazil, and a new constitutional order of the national mineral sector would also make it the year GEOSOL was founded by Civil and Mining Engineer Victor Dequech in Criciúma, southern Brazil, a region rich in mineral coal. Initially, the company was named Geologia e Sondagens Ltda (Geology and Drillings Ltd.). 

In the years following, the company began its expansion and worked in phosphorite research in the northeast regions of the country; in geotechnical drilling for the construction of the current federal capital, Brasília; in zinc research in Minas Gerais; and in shale reserves in southern Brazil. 

In the early 1960s, with the national push towards the development of Brazilian mining, already under the name of GEOSOL – Geologia e Sondagens, the company signed several contracts with the National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM) and saw the ideal opportunity to expand its fleet. The company acquired new rigs and began excelling in projects involving both drilling and geology and geological interpretation of alkaline rocks and iron ore. These projects were very important for Brazil, as they led to the discovery of phosphate reserves, uranium deposits and immense niobium reserves. It also increased the knowledge of iron ore reserves in the Iron Quadrangle of Minas Gerais. 

The work for the DNPM generated many samples that needed to be analyzed, which motivated GEOSOL to create the first laboratory in Brazil specialized in geochemical analysis, the Geolab. 

The following decade was one of expansion in the field of drilling, prompting the company to purchase several imported rigs. In 1971, GEOSOL took a new important step, making the decision to transfer its headquarters to the city of Belo Horizonte, the mineral capital of Brazil. From then on, GEOSOL would practically become a ‘mineira’ company (from Minas Gerais), although operating throughout Brazil. 

Since the late 1960s, GEOSOL was conducting exploration and drilling work on the recently discovered high-grade deposit in the Carajás mineral reserve, which would later become the largest iron ore mine in the world. 

In the late 1970s and the early 1980s, the drilling activities gained new impetus. GEOSOL made its first international foray, drilling in Paraguay and Uruguay. Several years later, the company began operating in Africa, in countries such as Zaire, Guinea, Liberia and Angola. 

By the early 1980s, GEOSOL had already established itself as the standard in well drilling and borehole services and was investing heavily to improve its technical capabilities, mainly in terms of technology and equipment. In the period from 1988 to 1992, the company took another big step, moving to a new facility of 40 000 m2 (430 560 ft2), in the district of Olhos D’Água, Belo Horizonte (MG), where it is headquartered until now. Workshops, the lab, administrative buildings and a warehouse were all built there. This period, however, coincided with a downturn in the Brazilian market, which led Geosol to run to artesian well drilling mainly in the Northeast region of the country, and to expand its range of services. In the 1990s, the company intensified its operation in Carajás, and decided to establish a branch in Parauapebas (PA), which to this day remains one of the most active fronts, thanks to a proud and motivated local team. 

In 1998, motivated mainly by foreign investors, GEOSOL’s Geolab joined Canadian Lakefield Research, offering, in addition to analytical services for the mineral sector, analysis for the environmental control area as well. Later, with the acquisition of Lakefield by SGS, the lab company was renamed SGS Geosol and the scope of its activities became even more complete. 

In April 2000, in another bold move, GEOSOL decided to acquire Geosedna Perfurações Especiais. The company was specializing in roto-percussion drilling in reverse circulation, as the process offered progression, expansion of drilling activities, drilling speed and reduced cost compared to diamond drilling. 

Still in the early 2000s, the decision was made to embark on the process of certification by Total Quality ISO 9001, and 17025 (specific for labs). At this time, the company resumed its operations in Africa, serving large customers such as Arcelor Mittal, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale. 

Geosol slim drilling for oil & gas
Slim drilling for oil & gas

In 2013, maintaining the purpose of permanently seeking technological evolution, GEOSOL renewed its fleet of rigs with state-of-the-art hydraulic equipment, which offered higher technical quality for its services and more productivity. At the same time, the company developed a qualification and training program for drillers, so that they could operate the new equipment safely and effectively. 

Being visionary, the company invested in cutting-edge technology aiming at the development of fully Brazilian-made rigs to replace imported hydraulic drills. Due to the shortage of rig manufacturers in the country, GEOSOL decided to start its own manufacturing. Nowadays, the company produces automated rigs that can be operated remotely, which have been implemented with great success, placing itself at the forefront of the sector and becoming even more competitive. 

The GEOSOL SDS – Smart Drill is a powerful rig with a 100% digital operation panel, which simplifies operations and keeps humans away from the rig. This digital panel is capable of generating, transmitting and keeping a record of all drilling parameters, and is controlled from a safe distance. It allows for a compact drilling rig, free of cables and hydraulic hoses that is quieter and very safe. 

The SGS GEOSOL Lab has established itself as one of the leading geochemical laboratories in Brazil, with a multidisciplinary portfolio. Nowadays, in addition to geochemistry – which gave rise to the former Geolab – it operates in the analysis of water, soils and effluents (environmental services), mineralogy, outsourcing (installations and services at customer sites) and mineral processing. 

In 2017, GEOSOL purchased the company REDE – Tecnologia em Sondagens – allowing the group to offer geological-geotechnical research, with a focus on special field tests, such as fracking tests and acoustic and optical logging for hole imaging. 

In the same year, GEOSOL group was restructured, with the creation of the holding GEOPAR (Geosol Participações SA), which controls the companies GEOSOL, REDE, Geosedna, SLIM Drilling (Drilling for Oil and Gas), Localog (Real State Ventures), Geobit (Tools for Drilling and Borehole) and Inove (Machines and Equipment Lease). 

Today, 68 years later, GEOSOL is the international standard in drilling services. It has over 13 million drilled meters (42 651 000 ft) and holds about 65% of the national drilling market for mineral research, and directly employs 2500 people. 

Modern fleet 

GEOSOL, throughout its history, has shown itself to be an efficient company and, therefore, customizes its equipment and develops specific processes to meet the real needs of the Mineral Sector. All this is performed in accordance to its Integrated Management System. With a modern fleet of rigs and complementary equipment, GEOSOL is capable of carrying out drilling campaigns in all geological conditions, even in remote areas, which are difficult to access. In all contracts, the emphasis is always on safety and quality sampling, with a high recovery rate and preserving the integrity of the samples obtained. 

GEOSOL has exclusive software for drilling management, which provides drilling reports in real-time, indicating, among other information, the daily rate of production, consumption, maintenance plans, etc.

Tatiana: ‘I have just completed the first driller formation course for women, on Geosol’s Belo Horizonte training center.’
Tatiana: ‘I have just completed the first driller formation course for women, on Geosol’s Belo Horizonte training center.’


Safety culture and innovations 

GEOSOL’s safety culture is disseminated throughout the operation, focusing on the maturity of its teams. This culture, linked to its main core value of respect for life, has reduced risks during operations, seeking a zero-accident rate, and is effectively retaining the company’s talent. 

In order to be safe and act as an industry leader in a scenario where natural resources are increasingly scarce, GEOSOL pays attention to, and rigorously meets, the standards, legislation and environmental policies in force. Concerned with obtaining results responsibly, GEOSOL acts in the present, thinking about the future, offering innovative techniques for managing and optimizing resources and is always committed to sustainability. 

If previously, the focus was on structuring and consolidating the company, today the biggest challenge is to keep GEOSOL holding on the path of growth, innovation and perpetuation in the face of the globalized market. Thus, reliability and credibility are also celebrated by everyone part of this production chain. 

Today, investing in technology, training and development means to reflect our actions in a simplified, digital, safe and quality operation. 

Drilling operation with remote control
Drilling operation with remote control


Main services provided by the holding GEOSOL Participações 

  • Diamond drilling; 
  • Reverse circulation drilling; 
  • Sampling for grade control; 
  • Slim drill holes with core samples for oil and gas exploration; 
  • Development and manufacture of high-tech drill rigs; 
  • Development and manufacture of down-hole drilling gear; 
  • Leasing of support mobile equipment; 
  • Geotechnical drilling with field assays; 
  • State-of-the-art laboratory services. 

Main services provided by GEOSOL – Geologia e Sondagens SA

  • Wireline exploration diamond drilling; 
  • Deep borehole diamond drills; 
  • Core sampling in large diameters for metallurgical tests; 
  • Man-portable drill rigs for remote areas or sites with environmental restrictions; 
  • Air core and hollow auger drillings with intact core samples for bauxite exploration; 
  • Heli-drilling; heliportable modular drill rigs; 
  • Underground drilling with electrical rigs. 

Water wells 

  • Rotary drill rigs for water wells; 
  • DHT hammer drill rigs. 

Geophysical profiles 

  • Surveys with gamma optical, acoustic, caliper probes for geophysical profiles. 

For more information visit: www.geosol.com.br 

Read Issue 19 here: 

Issue 19/ 2022