During this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference, GoldCorp (TSX:G, NYSE:GG) held its second annual #DistruptMining contest, which aims at accelerating mining innovation, and granted the award of up to US$1-million dollars to geophysics company Acoustic Zoom.
The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with Acoustic Zoom’s CEO and Chief Scientist Professor Jacques Yves Guigné, who addressed the current state of mining and how the company and its technology hopes to positively effect the drilling process in order to make mining more convenient and cost-effective.
“[I]n mining, you’re dealing with vertical features related to mineralization, veins and dikes and distributed kind of structures, bulks, micro-fissures, pockets that are discontinuous, or bodies that are not necessarily simple to resolve but chaotic and that’s what we can capture,” he stated.
“[O]ur physics is all related to picking up that defused energy that comes off such formation and features. And so, what we’ve evolved in the last 2 to 3 years is the methodology that actually enhances the value of drilling,” he added.
Read on for the full interview with Guigné.
INN: Can you tell me a little bit about Acoustic Zoom as a company as well as the technology you’ve developed?
Jacques Yves Guigné: Yes. Acoustic Zoom is actually an advanced geophysical company and it has a team of about 10 physicists, mathematicians, geophysicists, geologists and we have a long history of innovation starting from our original parent company called PanGeo Subsea. The company evolved into Acoustic Zoom because our work started to look into the earth and look at the way fractures that are really important to characterize geology could be actually imaged. So, in 2012 we became our own company, our IP was transferred to the company and we’re independent from our parent company.
But our mandate is really to do what seismic cannot do and that is that we’re not so much interested in looking at the layer in terms of the earth geology, but what actually comes to the geology and that’s where mining comes into play. Because in mining, you’re dealing with vertical features related to mineralization, veins and dikes and distributed kind of structures, bulks, micro-fissures, pockets that are discontinuous, or bodies that are not necessarily simple to resolve but chaotic and that’s what we can capture.
Our physics is all related to picking up that defused energy that comes off such formation and features. And so, what we’ve evolved in the last two to three years is the methodology that actually enhances the value of drilling. We look at what constitutes drilling such as getting us a real sample, and we recognize that that sample is a really good measure because in the sample you can get these physical properties and find a particular mineral, an indicator of value, but it’s only 7 centimeters in diameters so it doesn’t really represent the resource, it doesn’t say anything special and it’s a hidden net.
In trying to enhance the confidence in the resource, you go from inferring, to indicating to measuring, but your measurement is relying on a lot of drill holes and the drill holes are kind of hidden in, they form a pattern and they’re always trying to get a dense network, but you’re trying to understand from a 7 centimeter diameter samples what is the geology.
So, where we come in is that we provide a mean for a contact around that sample, directly to the sample of interest. We use the drill hole, we collocate in the drill hole very dense centers, a whole bunch of receivers and then our transmitter is at the surface and we move the transmitter gently around that hole or drill hole and we create a 200 meter diameter called a virtual, so you can imagine going from a 7 centimeter diameter to a 200 meter diameter.
Now, you’re putting the geology in context, you’re linking it directly to the sample and you can start to say something new about the resource, putting more confidence in the measurements of the resource, hopefully leading to better drilling so you can directly drill in a smart way and using smart drilling with acoustic imaging, you have better use of the drilling that is invested and that typically leads to a much better understanding of the reserve that could evolve from the resource that has been identified.
INN: With this technology and what you are doing, can you tell me a little bit about how you’re hoping to shape or change the mining industry?
JYG: Yes, it’s all to do with the investments. Typically, investment goes in into drilling because you want to get a better handle on potential for another body or a mineral body and that is linked to how profitable it could be, that’s what it’s all about and to develop the mine and to know that it could be profitable. But how do you do that? You have to go back and you have to measure, so how do you measure? What tools do you have? And the tools tend to fall heavily on drilling and using the extensive drilling. Our disruptive kind of steps in our technology, or you can look at it as being a revolution, is to be able to augment the value of the drilling.
So, we’re coming in not to displace drilling, but to make it smarter. And to make it smarter using imaging of very high resolution, unprecedented. And we’re looking at factoring the features that typically cannot be seen in the geology and bringing back in a correlated matter to the sample of interest, the mineral that has been identified in the drilling and by working in depth with the drilling program, we direct where drilling can be prick. So we’re maximizing the investment. It all comes back to confidence.
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From:: Investing News Network