Tech Notes

2020-12-18

Harnessing new tech for the Enhanced Exploration Project

It's only through the collaborative process that new advances in technology and industry can come to fruition in the most timely manner. For the last four years, Orexplore has been taking part in cutting-edge research and the implementation of new tech in the mining industry. The partners in this endeavour – called the Enhanced Exploration Project – have published the latest results.

The European transition to a sustainable society is in full swing and this process depends on the high-tech industry being able to support the need for sustainable energy production and energy storage, where rare-earth elements like Neodymium are critical for high power wind turbines and efficient electrical motors, and Lithium plays a key role in batteries.

With this ambition in mind, various specialists began to collaborate several years ago under the moniker the Enhanced Exploration Project. Central to the process, Orexplore worked together with leading research institutes, universities and potential clients, such as mine and exploration companies in Europe to support the future needs of the mining industry. Orexplore's multi-sensor technology, GeoCore X10, served as a baseline, already well suited for rare-earth elements and base metal identification. But a whole range of sensors were evaluated, including microwave and hyperspectral, to find a complementary candidate.

Another factor in the collaboration came from the the need of geologists to better understand mineralogy: what geological events took place; if and where there might be valuable metals and minerals. A lot of that story is told by the lighter elements, with O, Si, Al, Ca, Na, K and Mg making up 94% of the Earth's crust.

The project went forward with laser-based techniques, based on their excellent performance for lighter elements, necessary not only for mineralogy, but also for detecting Lithium, and a first prototype was successfully tested in the GeoCoreX10.

On December 1, 2020, the Enhanced Exploration Project results were presented at the EIT Raw Materials North Stakeholder's Day. Watch the whole conference here

The Enhanced Exploration Project partners:

Boliden Mineral AB (Sweden), Chalmers Industriteknik (Sweden), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft ILT (Germany), Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), LTU Business AB (Sweden), Orexplore AB (Sweden) and Pluto Investment AG (Switzerland).

Stay tuned for more updates.

Mikael Bergqvist, CTO, Orexplore

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