Canadian subsurface intelligence company Ideon Technologies has partnered with the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) and the Bradshaw Research Institute for Mining and Minerals (BRIMM) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to advance a project focused on determining the full value of ore body knowledge in mineral exploration and mining. Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under its Alliance grant program, the project will assess historic value destruction due to a lack of orebody knowledge and provide a framework for industry to quantify the costs, benefits, and optimal approach to improving subsurface intelligence across the mining life cycle.
The practice of Ore Body Knowledge (OBK) integrates geological, mining, metallurgical, environmental, and economic information to create geologically based predictive models. With a multi-trillion-dollar supply chain gap in the critical minerals sector, OBK is key to identifying, mapping, and producing the 3 billion tons of natural resources required to deploy clean energy technologies such as wind, solar, nuclear, and electrification.
Ideon is a world pioneer in muon tomography, using the energy from supernova explosions in space to provide x-ray-like visibility down to 1 km (0.6 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface. The company is addressing the worldwide shortage in critical mineral supply by helping major mining companies achieve greater certainty in their ore body knowledge to precisely target high-recovery, low-waste deposits of the critical minerals required to fuel the clean energy transition.
“The quality of OBK modelling can make the difference between success and failure of a mining company, with many miners committing to billion-dollar operational decisions based on only fractional knowledge of what’s beneath the surface,” says Ideon CEO & Co-Founder Gary Agnew. “The mining industry has had to rely on intensive drilling programs to try and understand the subsurface, using a ‘guess-and-check’ approach targeting poorly constrained geological anomalies and interpolating what may lie between drillholes. The deeper the industry is forced to search as near-surface resources are depleted, the less information they have to inform decision-making. It’s a high-cost, high-risk, low-certainty approach – this project will generate new research to improve business decision-making and business performance.”
The research program runs through 2025, supporting three post-doctoral researchers and two graduate students, and involving close collaboration across the research team and industry – including Ideon Technologies and Australia-based mining tech company IMDEX.
“This international research collaboration addresses the underlying problem of geological uncertainty,” adds Ideon CTO & Co-Founder Doug Schouten. “Using new subsurface intelligence to provide confidence in ore body characteristics, industry can better inform mine planning, extend mine life, leverage deposits previously considered inadequate, and achieve greater efficiencies across the entire mining value chain.”
SOURCE : BusinessWire