Tag Archives: Gary Agnew


Ideon Technologies to join Stanford University’s Mineral-X program

Canadian subsurface intelligence company, Ideon Technologies, has been named an industrial affiliate of Stanford University’s Mineral-X program – an exclusive research community uniting the fields of geosciences, resource economics, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to inform optimal decision making along the critical minerals supply chain.

As an affiliate, Ideon will engage with faculty and scientists at Stanford University in collaborative research on technological innovations needed to create a resilient mineral supply chain for the clean energy transition, it says. More specifically, research will focus on optimising exploration targeting and resource characterisation using advanced data analysis and stochastic modelling to maximise orebody knowledge and dramatically reduce the timeline from discovery of critical mineral and metal assets to production.

Ideon calls itself a world pioneer in muon tomography, using the energy from supernova explosions in space to provide X-ray-like visibility down to 1 km beneath the Earth’s surface. The company says it is addressing the worldwide shortage in critical mineral supply by helping major mining companies achieve greater certainty in their orebody knowledge to precisely target high-recovery, low-waste deposits of the critical minerals required to fuel the clean energy transition. The Ideon subsurface intelligence platform integrates proprietary detector hardware for downhole and in-mine deployment, imaging systems, multi-physics fusion and inversion technologies and artificial intelligence to provide high-resolution 3D visibility underground and generate geologic value, Ideon says.

“We are tackling the underlying problem of geological uncertainty in the mining industry,” Ideon CEO & co-Founder, Gary Agnew, said. “Mining companies in the critical minerals space rely on intensive drilling to understand the subsurface, using a hit-and-miss approach targeting poorly constrained geological anomalies. They make high-risk, high-cost decisions based on only fractional knowledge of what’s beneath the surface. This research collaboration with one of the world’s leading universities will yield better knowledge of orebody characteristics, better informed mine planning, extension of mine life, more compelling economic outcomes and greater efficiencies across the entire mining value chain.”

Dr Jef Caers, PhD, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Stanford, will serve as liaison with the Ideon team, sharing his expertise on decision making under uncertainty in developing the critical mineral supply.

“Through Mineral-X, we aim to accelerate the transition to clean energy by increasing the volume and speed of critical mineral supply,” Caers said. “We are committed to achieving this by developing protocols that champion environmental stewardship and community representation.”

Dedicated post-doctoral scholars at Stanford will support the collaboration, developing advanced geophysical techniques to accelerate the exploration and discovery of energy transition minerals.

Ideon says it offers the only straight-line subsurface imaging technology available today, delivering the highest available resolution along with precise anomaly location information, at depths not supported by other subsurface geophysics methods.

Orano, Ideon deploy cosmic-ray muon detector at McLean Lake uranium site

Canada-based Earth ‘X-ray’ start-up, Ideon Technologies, and Orano Group, one of the world’s top uranium producers, have deployed the world’s first cosmic-ray muon detector for use in industry-standard boreholes.

The EUREKA-approved research and development project, which is receiving advisory services and funding support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, will run from now through the end of 2021 at McClean Lake, an Orano uranium site in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

Ideon says it is a pioneer in muon tomography, providing X-ray-like imaging up to 1 km beneath the Earth’s surface. The Ideon discovery platform integrates proprietary muon detectors, imaging systems, inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence to produce high-resolution 3D density maps of underground targets, it explained.

Orano’s imaging target is a high-grade, compact uranium deposit located at 300 m depth. Multiple borehole muon detectors are deployed down a single drill hole in a connected sequence, delivering progressive imaging results throughout the survey.

Orano and Ideon have been collaborating since 2016, when Ideon deployed its first-generation, large-format detectors at the McArthur River uranium mine in Saskatchewan, successfully imaging a high-grade uranium deposit under 600 m of sandstone. Since then, Ideon has completed a 50 times miniaturisation effort to create the first industry-standard borehole (<100 mm diameter), low-power (<10 W continuous power consumption), zero-maintenance muon tomography detector suitable for operation in the extreme environmental conditions of mineral exploration sites around the world, the company explained.

“We’re excited to move forward on this project with Ideon because we expect it to transform the very nature of how we explore,” Hervé Toubon, Research & Development and Innovation Director at Orano Mining, said. “Global uranium demand is projected to grow by up to 40% by 2025 and it is virtually impossible for us to detect high-grade deposits at depth using traditional geophysical exploration techniques. The subsurface intelligence we gain with muon tomography gives us the ability to accurately locate those anomalies while reducing the need for drilling and lowering our overall environmental impact. That value proposition is hard to beat.”

Gary Agnew, CEO at Ideon, said: “This deployment milestone is more than a decade in the making. We’ve spent seven years doing commercial trials in partnership with the mining industry and several years of system design and development, de-risking, and prototyping in the lab. Orano has been there right along with us for much of that journey, leading the way as a customer-driven innovator in the global energy transition. We are grateful for their enthusiasm, flexibility, trust, and willingness to break new ground with us.”

In addition to muon tomography models, Ideon will work with Orano to develop joint inversions with existing drill data and other geophysical datasets.

Ideon is currently implementing an exclusive early access program for borehole muon tomography. The company claims it is the only straight-line subsurface imaging technology available today, delivering the highest available resolution along with precise anomaly location information. Muon tomography uses a passive and free energy source (cosmic rays from space), offers the ability to image in noisy or conductive environments, and captures data continuously – improving imaging results over time, the company said.