Orexplore's award nomination interview
Orexplore's groundbreaking X-ray technology – that of the GeoCore X10 and Orexplore Insight® software – is helping transform the slow-to-change mining industry. And these innovations are now in the spotlight. As a finalist in this year's Swedish Mining Industry Award, we talked to Kevin Rebenius from Orexplore, to find out what is in store for the future and how fellow finalists might work together to expedite the process of transformation.
— Congratulations Kevin, Orexplore is a finalist in the Swedish Mining Innovation Award 2020! How does it feel?
Of course it's an honour, and I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved so far. It is a confirmation that we are on the right path and that our hard research and development work is beginning to have an impact on the market. And that what we are working to achieve is important.
— Tell us a little about your technology with X-ray technology of drill cores.
The innovation originates in Swedish medical X-ray research and consists of a combination of two well-proven X-ray measurement methods, namely transmission X-ray and X-ray fluorescence, in a new and unique way to get information from the stone's interior in 3D.
“What makes Orexplore unique is our ability to generate multi-disciplinary insights into the stone's interior in 3D in a few minutes…”
— What makes your solution so unique?
Today, there are myriad solutions and companies that analyse the outer shells of drill cores, which are based on traditional existing technology, which has been integrated and automated to analyse individual properties of samples in the field. What makes Orexplore unique is our ability to generate multi-disciplinary insights into the stone's interior in 3D in a few minutes – knowledge of structures, density, mineralogy and levels, all in one scan.
— Why is it an important innovation?
Only about 1 in 1000 projects leads to an actual mine. With more knowledge and information, it can be determined more quickly whether a project is worth moving forward with or whether it should close down. This helps to ensure that resources and time are invested in the right project.
The world is dependent on minerals for continued growth and for the green transition. We see our innovation as an important contribution to more efficient mining, less handling of waste rock and reduced impact on the environment.
— You are a finalist together with Minalyze who also has a solution for looking into the drill core. How do you look at it?
Minalyze's advantage lies in scanning a large number of samples and it is based on quickly analysing parts of the drill core's visible surface, ie you look at the shell of the drill sample, not its interior. However, I am convinced that there is room for both solutions in different parts of the market. It is only positive that there are several actors who together drive the trend of digitised mapping of deposits.
— What else is happening at Orexplore right now?
A big focus for us now is to break the next big challenge in the mining industry – to measure gold in 3D. About half of the world's exploration budget goes to finding new deposits containing this precious metal. We can already identify gold grains in drill cores today, but are now developing technology to also be able to detect atomically finely divided gold from the interior of the stone. Gold occurs in such small concentrations and we see that this ability will be absolutely crucial in the future to find and correctly value gold deposits.
— And finally, how do you see the future?
The trend to increasingly digitise and automate mapping of deposits is clear. As we see it, there are currently two critical issues that need to be resolved in the future; firstly, we are overwhelmed by data that we risk drowning in. It is important to turn this data into useful information that becomes a basis for decision-making that really leads to efficiency. The second is that the mining industry today works too much in silos. Information needs to flow freely throughout the value chain for this "big data" to have a proper impact and effect.
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