Novamera concludes in-field demonstration of surgical mining, backed by Vale and OZ Minerals

Novamera says it has completed an in-field demonstration of its surgical mining technologies, sponsored by Vale, OZ Minerals and a leading global gold producer, with the results set to be presented shortly.

The in-field demonstration, completed in late 2022, took place in Baie Verte, Newfoundland, and highlighted the technical capabilities of the proprietary guidance tool, the operational impact of real-time data in a production setting and the economic potential of surgical mining, according to Novamera.

Surgical mining, powered by Novamera’s proprietary technology, could unlock trillions in currently uneconomic narrow-vein mineral deposits to meet the increasing demand for metals, while also supporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets, the company says.

The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) has been steering a industry consortium of mining companies to trial Novamera’s near borehole imaging tool at various project sites, including this latest trial.

Novamera’s proprietary hardware and software seamlessly combine with conventional drilling equipment, allowing mining companies to surgically extract deposits while minimising dilution, Novamera explains. Real-time data, machine learning and production analytics drive the ‘surgical mining cycle’ to make extraction of complex, narrow-vein deposits not only viable but highly profitable. A low capital expenditure solution requiring minimal mine development, miners have a flexible, scalable mining method that can help get into ore quickly with small-scale deposits.

Working together with conventional drilling equipment and operations, the solution generates circa-95% less waste and less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of selective mining methods, according to the company. In addition, a closed loop system was created to minimise water discharge and real-time backfilling reduces environmental impact and tailings storage needs.

CMIC CEO, Carl Weatherell, said: “Novamera’s surgical mining solution supports our vision of transforming mining into a zero-waste industry. We are thrilled to be part of this new era of mining innovation that increases safety, efficiency, social licence and environmental stewardship, while providing greater financial returns for the industry.”

Dustin Angelo, CEO of Novamera, said: “The industry needs innovative new solutions. Consortiums and the participation of industry leaders like Vale and OZ Minerals are critical to enabling new technologies to enter the market. Using technology, we can now unlock thousands of smaller-scale deposits and zones within existing mines that were previously uneconomic, allowing the industry to quickly add to production – meeting the rapidly growing global demand for metals.”