May 25, 2022

The mining industry is one of the oldest industries, but as demand grows, more and more high-tech methods are being introduced into it. Plotlogic uses hyperspectral imaging, a technique commonly used in labs and satellites, to add a new layer of data and automation to these critical but often obsolete operations.

Hyperspectral imaging is essentially photography that captures light beyond the visible range, allowing the distinction of substances that appear similar to the human eye. As with everything else, nature comes first: birds and insects can see wavelengths that we cannot, in the first place, and this changes their view of the world.

We have taken advantage of this idea under other circumstances: it is ultimately a form of spectral analysis where you reflect radiation from an object and see what is reflected or absorbed. From leather to cement to rare earth minerals, each substance has its own spectral signature. The last category is clearly the goal of Plotlogic.

Founded in 2018 in Brisbane, Australia, Plotlogic is building a multi-spectral lidar imaging facility that looks at a pile of rubble recovered from a mine and says, “Some lithium, some silver, some sulfur.” (Though I seriously doubt all three of them will be found in the same heap.)

Of course, the mines are already doing this kind of analysis. How else would they know what to refine, drive, etc.? But usually it depends on getting the samples to the lab and sending them, you guessed it, to spectral analysis. PlotLogic allows you to perform this important step in place, potentially increasing the efficiency of your operations.

An oresens stationary machine that scans ore samples and an example of how these samples can be analyzed.

“This is the real innovation here: embedding it into mining operations and providing real-time information to mining personnel,” said CEO and founder Andrew Job.

The company first deployed its Orens machines in 2019 and has since replicated the product based on feedback from major mining companies. It can be stationary or mobile, scanning the ore as it moves along the conveyor belt or at the collection point. The tracked variant allows you to move to places where people cannot pass safely.

The system is designed with existing mining processes in mind, so there’s no need to redesign the way the ore is extracted from underground or anything like that, and when changes need to be made, they’re justified by the increased efficiency, Job said.

Andrew Job, founder and CEO of Plotlogic. Photo / Photo Pitch by Sarah Keyes

“We see three types of benefits: financial, environmental sustainability and security,” he explains. “The company can process more ore and less waste, which makes it more profitable. They can be more accurate and leave more stones. In the same place And do not use fuels and greenhouse gases to transport waste. And finally, it reduces the risk to people in the mine.”

The days of black lungs may have passed, but mining is still a difficult and dangerous job. The less time workers spend in heavy machinery, enclosed spaces, and air filled with stone powder, the better. Job suggested that having reliable and rich images could help offline mining as early as possible.

The $18 million round was led by the Innovation Endeavor, with participation from BHP Ventures and Touchdown Ventures, as well as DCVC’s venture arm Baidu Ventures and Grid Ventures, two major mining groups. He plans to use it to expand commercial deployments and go international.

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