MN 32: Ideon Technologies – Cosmic-Ray Muon Tomography and Mining Technology

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August 23, 2021

MN 32: Ideon Technologies – Cosmic-Ray Muon Tomography and Mining Technology

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In this episode of Mining Now, Co-Founder and CEO Gary Agnew talks about development of Ideon as a company, it’s technology, their customers and partners, and much more! He also discussed the mining industry’s pain points including low investment return on exploration, increased demand for rare earth minerals and metals demand, and more social pressure for clean sustainable mining. 

Ideon Technologies is a spin-off from TRIUMF (Canada’s National Particle Accelerator Laboratory) and a world pioneer in the application of cosmic-ray muon tomography. Ideon has developed a discovery platform that integrates proprietary detectors, imaging systems, inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence to provide x-ray-like visibility up to 1 km beneath the Earth’s surface. By detecting subsurface muons and transforming the data into reliable geophysical surveys and 3D density maps, Ideon helps geologists identify new mineral and metal deposits with precision and confidence. They drill less and discover more with Ideon – reducing cost and risk, saving time, and minimizing environmental impact. Muon tomography also has applications across other industry sectors, including critical infrastructure, oil and gas, and national security.

Muon tomography is a novel density measurement technique based on the absorption of cosmic-ray muons in the ground. Cosmic ray muons are charged elementary particles that arise naturally from cosmic radiation interacting with the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Particle showers of muons bombard Earth steadily and are attenuated by their interaction with matter along their trajectory. Due to their long half-life and high mass, muons can penetrate deep into the Earth’s crust, up to thousands of meters. By measuring the flux through muon detectors positioned beneath the surface, the average density in the overburden above the sensors can be determined, within a wide field of view. Density anomalies can be inferred from reduced or enhanced muon flux arriving at the sensors from the surface along any given direction. By combining data from multiple locations, a detailed 3D model of underground density can be constructed. Ideon Technologies has spent years developing an HQ-sized borehole muon detector with high muon tracking resolution (approximately 15 milliradians), low power consumption (approximately 10W) and operational robustness (high hydrostatic pressure, continuous data uplink). 

Ideon Projects & Products 

V1 detectors (large, original devices):

  1. Nyrstar (now Myra Falls Mine/Trafigura-owned)  Initial field trial to prove muon tomography science: https://ideon.ai/case-studies/#Nyrstar
  2. Teck: Blind trial to image MVT deposit at Pend d’Oreille, WA, USA: https://ideon.ai/case-studies
  3. Orano: Field trial to image compact high-grade uranium deposit, MacArthur River, SK: https://ideon.ai/case-studies
    d. BHP: Projects to image narrow-veined nickel at Nickel West operations in Western Australia who also recent story about BHP signing a deal with Tesla for nickel supply: https://ideon.ai/case-studies/#Cliffs

V3 borehole muon detectors:

  1. In June, 2021, we deployed multiple HQ-sized borehole muon detectors in a single chain within a drillhole down to depths of 240m at Orano’s McClean Lake mine site in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada. This field trial aims to image a known but poorly characterized, compact, unconformity-related uranium deposit at approximately 150m – 200m depth. Link to story
  2. In August 2021, Ideon Technologies will deploy more detectors in a 400m deep hole at Fireweed Zinc’s Macmillan Pass property, to explore a region around a known lead-zinc-silver deposit, both to map the extension of the deposit and to search for additional density anomalies nearby. Link to story

Connect With Ideon Technologies

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gary-agnew-2b297b43/ 

Website: https://ideon.ai/ 

Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ideon-technologies-inc/ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNXdFa2hYd-XnY5cLfoEyGw 

Mining NOW Streaming Web Series and Podcast

Mining Now is a joint mining podcast and web series hosted by Jerrod Downey in partnership with CIM/ICM and Crownsmen Partners. Join us to learn about the latest innovations in operating mines to increase energy efficiency and production. We look into modern mining and processing equipment including autonomous vehicles and IOT technology. Experts tackle everything from skilled labour shortages to team building to meeting evolving safety regulations. This is the mining of today that will shape the mines of tomorrow. 

Directed by Gaudy Molina

Executive Producer is Rory Bamford 

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