from Canada Digital Technology Supercluster has announced the launch of the Earth X-ray for Low-Impact Mining project. This project will provide a new discovery platform that will help mineral exploration companies accurately target deposits below the Earth’s surface in a way that changes the economy of discovery and increases the sustainable production of mineral resources. essential to fuel the clean energy transition.
Led by muon tomography pioneer Ideon Technologies and in partnership with Simon Fraser University (SFU), Dias Geophysical, Microsoft, Fireweed Zinc and Mitacs, the Earth X-ray for Low-Impact Mining project will allow mining exploration companies to identify density and magnetic anomalies with greater resolution and certainty up to 1 km below the Earth’s surface, just as X-rays and MRI scans give us visibility inside the human body. The project also benefits from the direct involvement and support of BHP, the world’s largest mining company.
“As the world moves towards a low carbon economy, the global demand for essential minerals is increasing. Thanks to this innovative project, the Digital Technologies Supercluster is supporting the development of a unique, environmentally-friendly mining technology that will position Canada as a world leader in responsible mining, ”said the Honorable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
To fuel the global transition to electrification, wind, solar, nuclear and other clean energy technologies, production of many essential minerals and metals must increase by nearly 500% in the 20-30 coming years. With most of the near-surface deposits already discovered, the mining industry is forced to search deeper underground in more difficult to reach places. Traditional exploration methods involve extensive and invasive drilling for the environment, which often fails at significant cost.
The discovery platform will include cutting-edge hardware and software, new data inversion and integration techniques, advanced AI algorithms and geostatistical methods to build detailed 3D profiles of underground anomalies – such as mineral and metal deposits, air voids, caves, and other structures. This new underground intelligence can have a positive impact on the underlying economy of a very traditional industry, paving the way for low impact mineral exploration or, for some minerals, the possibility of mining without a mine.
“This project will generate new technologies and revolutionary approaches to help solve one of the oldest problems on Earth,” said Gary Agnew, CEO and co-founder of Ideon. “As co-innovators, we will provide a solution to the global mining industry that will directly reduce the cost, time, risk and environmental impact of discovering new mineral and metal deposits, while dramatically increasing certainty and discovery rates in an area that has historically characterized by uncertainty.
The industrial partners of the project will apply their in-depth exploration, geology and geophysical expertise to help inform product design and testing, economic value analysis and commercialization strategy. Innovative Canadian junior mining company Fireweed Zinc is part of the consortium as a co-development partner – testing, validating and leading deployments of technology platform components as they develop. “This project has the potential to accelerate the transformation of modern mineral and metal exploration, leading to the definition of new mineral resources and economic growth in Canada and internationally, ”said Brandon macdonald, CEO of Fireweed Zinc. “We are delighted not only to be able to access this revolutionary technology before our peers, but also to be directly involved in its realization. “
BHP, the world’s largest miner and one of the industry’s most innovative producers, is committed to collaborating on the discovery platform as it grows. Technical Director of BHP, Laura Tyler said, “Technology will help us unlock the next generation of resources the world needs to support economic growth and decarbonization. Through partnerships with technology innovators and other players in the resource industry, we can help commercialize new technologies that will improve the accuracy, depth and sustainability of exploration in Canada and globally. BHP has a long history and a growing presence in Canada, and we’re thrilled to join this collaboration to support the country’s resource sector.
The Earth X-ray for Low-Impact Mining project has a total investment of CA $ 13,503,225 with CA $ 7,923,711 invested by the industry and CA $ 5,579,514 co-invested in the Digital Twins program of the Supergrappe. Mitacs, a national research organization that manages industrial and social innovation research and training programs, adds CA $ 345,000 in net funding to support a team of postdoctoral researchers at SFU.
“The Digital Supercluster is proud to work with such an incredible group of Canadian companies who demonstrate a true commitment to environmental sustainability,” said the CEO of the Supercluster. Sue Paish. “We are pleased to provide the digital innovation ecosystem that has brought together Ideon, SFU, Dias Geophysical, Microsoft, Fireweed Zinc, BHP and Mitacs, enabling Canada to advance cutting-edge research and accelerate the transformation of the mining industry.