Tag Archives: IMDEX

IMDEX aims for directional drilling leadership with Devico acquisition

Global mining-tech company IMDEX has entered a binding agreement to acquire Norway-based Devico AS in a A$334 million ($230 million) deal that, it says, will reinforce its market-leading position in mining technology and deliver increased market penetration.

The proposed acquisition of Devico AS, a provider of advanced sensors and directional drilling technologies, is expected to be completed by late February.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said the proposed acquisition was a highly significant investment that extended IMDEX’s core business in both geographical reach and technology capability. It follows on from a recent heads of agreement to acquire a 40% interest in Krux Analytics, a developer of drilling analytics software focused on the collection and analysis of exploration and production drilling data in real time, for $6.42 million in cash.

The addition of Devico would strengthen IMDEX’s position as the leading provider of advanced rock knowledge sensors and establish the business as the number one directional drilling technology company globally, the company said, with Devico’s portfolio of rock knowledge sensors complementing IMDEX’s existing technology.

IMDEX said: “Through increased scale and market penetration, particularly in Europe and South America, IMDEX would further expand its presence on mine sites, opening further opportunities for its solutions to be delivered to established customers.

“Devico services mining and civil industries globally, has world-class facilities located in a key hub in the Scandinavian mining market, and strong research and development capabilities.”

Alongside this, it has a track record of commercialising innovative mining technologies and a commodity-agnostic product offering which complements IMDEX’s core business, it added.

House said IMDEX saw significant value in combining the complementary product portfolios, market-leading R&D capabilities and global presence.

“Devico’s flagship facility in Trondheim will become a key asset for IMDEX – providing us a new innovation and manufacturing hub for the European market,” he said. “Devico’s expertise, professionalism and their relentless customer focus matches our own and we are excited about what our teams can achieve together for the mining industry. We have commenced integration workstreams and are confident in a smooth transition.”

Devico has a workforce of 200 personnel across 15 locations around the world, with the existing management and technical team seen as a key asset for IMDEX.

Devico is expected to deliver 2022 revenue of about $61 million and EBITDA of $29 million and has demonstrated its ability to scale its business over the past three years with a revenue compound annual growth rate of 17% per year. About 46% of Devico’s revenue is generated from its sensors and 56% from its directional drilling technologies, according to IMDEX.

IMDEX’s Lawie on BLAST DOG’s continual orebody knowledge evolution

In a presentation to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Sydney, Australia, today, entitled ‘Get a Dog’, IMDEX Chief Geoscientist and Chief Technologist – Mining, Dave Lawie, charted the five-year development journey of the company’s BLAST DOG™ technology that, the company says, provides unrivalled pre-blast orebody knowledge and a 3D view into the bench.

BLAST DOG is a commodity-agnostic blast hole sensing and physical measurement technology that will provide near real-time blast hole physicals and orebody knowledge, according to IMDEX. The value of the technology is in the power of integrated data, enabling experts to make informed decisions that affect each stage of the mining value chain.

“Ten years ago, orebody knowledge was quite an abstract notion,” Dr Lawie said. “When we first discussed it, people wanted more information. Five years ago, they were becoming more interested, and today it’s a theme in the industry.

“IMDEX has led that discussion and been at the forefront of the development of technologies that deliver better orebody knowledge. Reliable orebody knowledge is central to good mine planning. It provides the data that allows for informed decision making that delivers savings throughout the mining life cycle.”

The BLAST DOG sensor is on a track-mounted robotic platform with semi-autonomous hole positioning and alignment capability working over variable terrain and bench conditions, IMDEX explained.

IMDEX Chief Geoscientist and Chief Technologist – Mining, Dave Lawie

Directly and rapidly measuring the orebody via blast holes reveals what the ore reserve looks like in the ground, at a high resolution, and immediately prior to its extraction, providing mining companies with “insurance” data that protects people, heritage, equipment and neighbouring communities, according to the company.

The data has the potential to be used to develop programs to, the company says, improve safety; mine planning; blast design; fragmentation; reduce fume, flyrock, vibration, air-blast and dust; and improve material assignment post blast.

Dr Lawie said an IMARC presentation in 2015 discussing spatial factors among the activity drivers in mining confirmed to IMDEX that its identification and focus on orebody knowledge was correct. But at the time there was no “Internet of Geosensing” system able to deliver the right information.

“The reference to spatial factors is really the Internet of Geosensing; IoG is an orebody knowledge system, and that’s what BLAST DOG delivers,” he said.

The reduction or management of variation alone creates value, with the characterisation of waste as important as the identification of the target metals or minerals, according to IMDEX.

It creates the opportunity for better segregation of ore from waste during mining and, therefore, grade optimisation as well as maximisation of ore recovery and minimisation of dilution.

With the delivery vehicle coming from Universal Field Robots and the downhole sensors designed and refined by IMDEX, the addition of MinePortal 3D visualisation software has accelerated IMDEX BLAST DOG for mining production, IMDEX says.

The company achieved its first commercial contract with BLAST DOG in August this year, at Iron Bridge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with the agreement providing for the staged use of up to three units together with associated products, software, data analysis, reporting and support.

Six commercial prototype trials are planned for the 2023 financial year under the first phase of BLAST DOG development.

IMDEX concluded: “The BLAST DOG technology will continue to evolve, with new answer products, novel and democratised modelling and visual outputs being developed along with expansion to other commodities and geographies and eventually to underground applications.”

IMDEX reveals record quarterly results as new tech developments await deployment

IMDEX has revealed record September-quarter revenue amid a strong start to its financial year, with CEO Paul House noting revenue growth was up in all key regions with an increasing demand for real-time orebody knowledge and robust industry fundamentals.

IMDEX says its technologies enable resource companies and drilling contractors, to find, define, and mine orebodies – with precision, confidence and at speed.

Record unaudited first-quarter FY2023 revenue of A$105.9 million ($69.2 million) was up 22% on the same period last year, IMDEX said.

Sensors on hire were up 13% on a year ago and 9% on the previous quarter, meanwhile.

House, speaking at the company’s AGM today, said supply chain pressures also continued to ease during its first quarter of the financial year.

Revenue growth was up 17% year-on-year in the Americas, 29% in Africa and Europe, and 27% in Australia and Asia.

He said exploration budgets remained strong in Australia, with clients reporting longer order books of nine to 10 months rather than three to four months.

Major and mid-cap mining clients were reporting ongoing or expanded exploration budgets, and deeper orebodies were resulting in larger and more complex drilling programs, he added.

The drive to expand existing projects or find additional orebodies to sustain current production levels, continuing strong demand for metals across a broad range of sectors, and an increased demand for critical metals all contributed to a strong outlook.

“It is worth noting that during this current cycle, unlike any cycle previously, the industry has not made any major discoveries,” House said. “We believe that this supports both the continued need for exploration drilling and the importance of precision mining technologies that may improve the economics of smaller deposits or increase the mine life of existing operations.”

IMDEX CEO Paul House

House said that early in the first quarter of FY23 IMDEX signed its first significant commercial contract with a tier-one resource company in South Africa for its BORE HOLE STABILISER™ (BHS), part of its suite of drilling optimisation products.

BHS is a multifunctional product formulated specifically for air drilling applications, particularly drill & blast applications.

Trials are underway with underground commercial prototypes in Africa, Asia, and Australia, and further opportunities exist for surface applications, according to the company.

House also provided an update on development of BLAST DOG™, a multi-sensor probe designed to measure a wide range of geophysical properties of an orebody and map its material rock properties.

The data collected by BLAST DOG has the potential to be used by mining companies to develop programs that could improve mine planning, blast design, fragmentation and material movement tracking, post-blast.

IMDEX achieved the first commercial contract with BLAST DOG in August 2022, at Iron Bridge in the Pilbara. The agreement provides for the staged use of up to three BLAST DOG sensors, together with associated products, software, and support, over the initial term. This will result in an estimated contract value of A$13 million.

House added: “Our MINEPORTAL™ 3D visualisation software, acquired from DataCloud in September 2021, has been instrumental in demonstrating the value of BLAST DOG to customers,” House said.

He said the initial focus for development of BLAST DOG was copper and bulk metals within Australia and the Americas.

A rigorous assessment defined by global mines with the capacity for more than three drill rigs identified a serviceable addressable market beyond five years of approximately 400 sites, IMDEX says.

With IMDEX focussing on the top 25% of those that were more likely to support the introduction of technologies that are disruptive to existing mining workflows, the assessment had determined that the obtainable market over the same period was about 100 mine sites to support this first phase of growth for the BLAST DOG.

Six commercial prototype trials are planned for the 2023 financial year under the first phase of BLAST DOG development, according to the company.

“The next generation BLAST DOG will incorporate additional sensors, software, and data answer products, and we will expand its application to other commodities and geographies and eventually to underground applications,” House said.

IMDEX’s BLAST DOG to receive first commercial runout at Iron Bridge

Mining support technology, BLAST DOG, which was developed in Australia by IMDEX Limited, is set to be used at the Iron Bridge Operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia under a new three-year agreement.

Iron Bridge is an unincorporated joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB, with the agreement being the first commercial application of IMDEX’s BLAST DOG.

The agreement provides for the staged utilisation of BLAST DOGs, which IMDEX estimates will generate revenue of A$13 million ($9.2 million) over the initial term.

The BLAST DOG is a commodity-agnostic blasthole sensing and physical measurement technology that is semi-autonomously deployed for logging material properties and blasthole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said this contract win was a defining moment for IMDEX.

“This is homegrown technology designed to provide meaningful, quantifiable benefits for the mining industry,” House said.

“We are not aware of any other technology that has the capacity to produce the same quantity and quality of pre-blast rock data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes.”

“The commercial success of BLAST DOG reflected in today’s announcement is a credit to IMDEX’s R&D team and their drive to make a difference in the mining industry.”

IMDEX Chief Geoscientist, Dave Lawie, said the company overcame many obstacles, including mine access issues caused by COVID-19, to deliver the BLAST DOG project in Australia and the Americas.

“Today’s announcement is exciting because we know what BLAST DOG can produce,” Lawie said.

“It is recognition for five years of intense effort spanning the USA, Queensland, Western Australia and Chile in conjunction with our METS Ignited project partners.

“In addition to the work for the Iron Bridge joint venture, we are involved in ongoing, pre-commercial trials across various operations in Australia, Canada and Chile.”

IMDEX’s BLAST DOG provides material physical property measurements prior to blasthole drilling to inform decisions regarding blasting, screening, blending and stockpiling, among others, before these materials are subject to processing. These properties form the inputs to a tactical approach to ore characterisation and processing, IMDEX says.

Possible benefits offered by IMDEX’s BLAST DOG include the ability of mining companies to develop programs which:

  • Optimise explosive selection and costs;
  • Improve fragmentation;
  • Improve material and grade control;
  • Reduce geotechnical risk;
  • Detect voids;
  • Define ore boundaries and prevent ore waste dilution; and
  • Reduce fume, flyrock, vibration, air-blast and dust.

The BLAST DOG contract capped off a year in which IMDEX delivered record revenue, record earnings and continued margin expansion.

It reported record revenue of $341.8 million, a 29.3% increase on the same time last year; alongside record EBITDA of A$104.9 million, an increase of 38.9% on last year; and net profit after tax of A$44.7 million, up 41% on last year.

IMDEX focuses on drilling fluids, AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER release to boost productivity

IMDEX is talking up the use of drilling fluids as part of its holistic focus on improving drilling performance when out in the field.

The company’s drilling optimisation solutions combine best-in-class technologies, sensors, and motors to deliver improved performances, but, for IMDEX Drilling Optimisation General Manager, Charles Macfadyen, drilling fluids are at the start of the value chain, maximising the data delivered from the company’s technology and tools.

“Costs are always increasing, so the emphasis is on precision drilling: drilling smart metres and drilling efficiently,” Macfadyen said.

“It all relies on fluids to be able to do that. Fluids are an essential part of the drilling process with the potential to unlock hidden productivity when used effectively.”

He says while the oil and gas industry has long understood the importance of fluids and the skills of mud engineers, the understanding within the mineral exploration community has not been as widespread.

“There is a big difference in the cost of exploration drilling between oil and gas, and mineral exploration, but the science and logic will come to mining; the understanding that it’s far more than just a fluid, there’s an understanding of what equates to precision and enhanced performance that makes it special.”

Additional costs caused by higher operational standards, environmental restrictions and increased hole depths will continue – and could be the catalyst for a greater understanding of the part played by fluids, according to IMDEX.

IMDEX has around 100 drilling fluid products to cater for specific regional and global requirements, with the most recent addition being AMC BORE HOLE STABILISER™ (BHS).

BHS is a multifunctional product formulated specifically for air drilling applications, particularly drill and blast applications.

It helps prevent a wide range of down-hole problems including poor collaring, hole decay or sidewall instability, provides a degree of lubrication to the hole and will improve the lifting capacity of the air stream for cuttings transportation, according to the company.

Use of BHS in an underground mine in Western Australia resulted in an increase of up to 40% more metres drilled per day, reduced drilling consumables by up to 50%, improved load times and explosives use for explosive crews, and reduced HSE risks through less manual handling to mobilise and install casing, IMDEX says.

“For drill and blast, the side wall imperative is for both function and efficiency,” Macfadyen said. “BHS delivers improved productivity while using less explosives and less redrills.

“IMDEX drilling fluids are much more than a fluid – you actually get the knowledge that comes not just from making premium fluids and understanding that over more than 30 years, but also the knowledge that comes from our understanding of the drilling market, and of rock knowledge.

“Others don’t have that rock knowledge. It’s the tangible knowledge that at any given moment in time you know what you’re drilling through, the geological understanding, the resource definition, the granular knowledge behind how to optimise your fluids program to cater for that.

“Whether it’s orientation, mineralogy or any geological understanding it’s the essential knowledge that you need to develop a fluid or optimise a drilling program.

“It puts us in a leading position. Unlike others, IMDEX is able to leverage intimate rock knowledge, lab capabilities and global mud engineers to unlock the potential of any drilling program.”

IMDEX’s presence in 70% of major mining operations globally has allowed the company to foster this knowledge, according to Macfayden.

IMDEX lines up three new product launches for PDAC 2022

IMDEX plans to arrive at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, Canada, next week with a suite of products targeting quality, accuracy, and precision.

The company will use the first in-person PDAC conference in more than two years to showcase new and improved tools and technologies that build on its reputation as market leaders in enabling clients to find, define and mine orebodies with precision and at speed, it said.

The in-person event will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) from June 13-15.

IMDEX General Manager – Rock Knowledge, Mark Gabbitus, said the re-engineering, design upgrades and product evolution inherent in each of the products reflected IMDEX’s approach of constantly reassessing its products to ensure they are the best in market.

REFLEX GYRO SPRINT-IQ™

Responding to customer requirements, IMDEX has re-engineered and improved its REFLEX GYRO SPRINT-IQ running gear, reducing the weight of the total kit by around half, from 90 kg to about 45 kg.

“These improvements really address user requirements,” Gabbitus said. “We have taken a tool that has been in the market for a long time and made improvements around the size and the workflow.

“We’ve made it lighter, shorter, easier to handle and therefore safer. The running gear for overshot applications made the tool around 3.3-m long that came in three cases weighing 90 kg and took two people to handle. Now it’s around 2.7 m and is light enough for one person to manage easily.

“We’ve done a lot of work to improve it, making it smaller and lighter, easier to carry and to operate. This is particularly important in the confines of an underground environment.”

REFLEX OMNI-IQ™

IMDEX will demo its new gyro tool, the REFLEX OMNI-IQ which, it says, maintains its position as the leader in survey accuracy.

“OMNI addresses quality and accuracy of delivered data,” Gabbitus said.

“Sprint has been the most accurate gyro on the market to date, but gyro technology has evolved and now OMNI is the most accurate; it’s the natural evolution of the technology that we have developed and pioneered.

“We’re testing commercial prototype tools in Australia and Canada and the workflow and data results have been excellent.”

REFLEX IQ-LOGGER™

IMDEX will also present the next generation of its IQ-LOGGER, the core logging solution that provides fast, accurate structural measurements.

Gabbitus said the improvements were, again, in response to customer feedback.

“We’ve taken what is a very popular product and revamped it, making the workflow more efficient, and the tool more robust, easier to handle, and better from an ergonomic perspective.

“We launched IQ-LOGGER at PDAC in 2015, so it’s fitting to be able to unveil the new-look, next generation of the tool this year.”

Exploration drill rig use on the up, IMDEX says

New mineral exploration rig use figures released today by IMDEX show continued strong activity in most major mining regions internationally.

The combined Australia/New Zealand region continued to be a standout, with rig use at 82% of capacity despite the number of rigs available increasing by 13% over the past year.

Reflecting that growth, IMDEX says March-quarter revenue for its Asia Pacific region including Australia is up 28% on the same time last year.

The rig use snapshot, contained in an IMDEX presentation to the Macquarie Australia Conference on May 4, examines the state of rig use in April this year and updates a similar assessment conducted by IMDEX at the same time last year.

IMDEX used the Macquarie presentation to reveal an overall March-quarter revenue increase of 29% compared with the same time last year.

A further regional breakdown showed revenue in the Americas was up 35%, and Africa and Europe was up 20%.

The rig count figures, of surface and underground coring and RC rigs, showed that rig use was at 62% of capacity in Canada, up from 46% at the same time last year, South America was at 50% (39%), Africa 73% (54%), Europe and the Middle East 48% (39%), and Asia 46% (37%).

Rig use was down in the US at 57%, compared with 72% last year, and Mexico and Central America 42% (44%).

Globally, the rig use figure stood at 56%, up from 46%.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said the size of the global rig fleet had decreased from April 2021, as older rigs were retired and new, safer rigs were being commissioned, but resource companies had committed to more exploration and higher standards of HSE, and drillers had committed to buying more rigs.

He said a skilled labour shortage, the replacement trend, rig transfers and a lag between purchase and delivery were responsible for a decrease in the overall size of the global fleet, but these were short-term constraints.

Drillers were buying more rigs as the industry continued to grow, he added.

“The pleasing aspect of our business activity to date is that even in this period of transition of the rig fleet, IMDEX has recorded a 29 per cent increase in third quarter revenue — a result which has outperformed the market,” House said.

The fundamentals driving the sector remain unchanged, he said.

Strong commodity prices were being driven by increasing demand and decreasing reserves, there was an increasing demand for battery metals, strong capital raising across all commodities, and an increasing demand for secure, real-time rock knowledge data and solutions to support remote and automated operations.

“The commitment to growth in exploration by all participants in the resource sector is high and reflects both the positive underlying fundamentals and the sense of urgency required,” House said.

“Execution, however, is likely to take place over a longer period of time than planned, leading to a longer growth cycle.”

New IMDEX rig count shows strong growth in major mining regions

New mineral exploration rig use figures released by IMDEX have revealed strong growth in major mining regions across the globe.

The rig use snapshot, which account for seasonal factors, were contained in an IMDEX presentation to the Macquarie WA Forum on December 2. They were taken in October and updated a similar assessment conducted by IMDEX earlier this year.

The figures, of surface and underground coring and RC rigs, show the fleet is close to capacity in Australia and New Zealand at 81%, up from 72% in April.

European rig use in October was 50%, up from 39%, South America 48% (39%), Africa 57% (54%), Canada 65% (46%), Mexico and Central America 48% (44%).

Globally, rig use increased from 46% in April to 55% in October.

The USA, at 64%, was down from 72% but North America was up from 49% to 59% utilisation.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said delivery times for new rigs had increased, and the sector was facing skilled labour shortages and mobility restrictions — but these were short-term constraints.

“We’re seeing recovery and growth in all key IMDEX regions,” he said. “This is flowing through to revenue, and is reflected in increasing demand for IMDEX HUB IQ™ connected sensors and software as companies continue to embrace innovation and new digital ways of working.”

House said there was continuing strong demand for gold, copper and other base metals, but that demand for critical minerals was expected to increase at a faster rate because of the push for decarbonisation.

The profile of exploration spending is shifting, through a combination of targeting, compliance, and drilling at depth, he added.

House said the company’s recent acquisition of Mineportal and investment in Datarock had added strength to IMDEX’s geoscience analytics, artificial intelligence, and computer visualisation capabilities as part of its integrated rock knowledge expertise.

“IMDEX technologies enable us to provide critical insights right through the mining value chain,” he said. “Our global presence is unrivalled and provides a compelling opportunity to embed real value for clients.”

RealWear assisted reality devices help IMDEX overcome travel restrictions

IMDEX personnel are using assisted reality devices from RealWear to, the company says, guide Australian and international clients isolated by COVID-19 as they install and use its latest products.

Using RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 devices delivered to its mining clients, IMDEX hardware and software engineers and product developers can assist on-site workers from thousands of kilometres away.

IMDEX turned to the solution to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions, which prevented support personnel being on site.

The RealWear technology is a rugged, head-mounted, voice-controlled, device that offers hands-free operation for frontline workers, according to IMDEX. The devices are equipped with a high-definition camera to take pictures and video from the wearer’s perspective, enabling IMDEX experts to guide the worker and provide advice.

Two-way audio with optional noise cancellation and a high-resolution micro-display that sits below line of sight, allowing for maximum peripheral vision, give workers and IMDEX experts the real-time data they need to operate, inspect and maintain equipment, according to the company.

Use of the assisted reality devices emerged after IMDEX grappled with how to support clients in South Africa when sending support teams was not possible because of border closures.

IMDEX Global Equipment Integration Engineer, Chris Havenga, said the hands-free aspect of the RealWear devices meant they had particular application for underground mining, where operators sometimes had to hold tools and tablets while working above eye level.

“COVID inspired innovation and change at IMDEX to ensure we continued to support our clients,” Havenga said. “There are endless possibilities with the RealWear device. It’s worth having a device supplied to clients along with our products and tools and, if there are any issues, operators can put it on and get the experts to assist for that particular site at the time they are having the problem.

“We can join them remotely while they are working, assess the issues and provide a solution.”

He said the devices could become a standard inclusion for IMDEX client support, along with manuals and tutorials. Offering the same functionality as a tablet, the devices enabled operators to consult manuals and other written material while dealing with on-site issues.

IMDEX is using the devices on sites in South Australia, New Zealand, the US and South America, it said.

Realwear Asia Pacific Vice President, John Higgs, said: “HMT-1 devices provide a reality-first, digital-second experience. Previously, industrial workers have not been able to use wearables, as they were overly immersive and not rugged enough.

“RealWear is unique in its ability to deliver hands-free connectivity without distracting the worker on a very rugged device capable of being deployed even in explosive environments.”

IMDEX sets BLASTDOG drill and blast tech on commercial course

IMDEX has announced what it says is a “major milestone” for its BLASTDOG™ drill and blast technology.

IMDEX BLASTDOG is a semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blasthole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine and is commodity agnostic, according to the company. It has been developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots and tested at mines in Queensland, Western Australia, Chile and Nevada (USA).

At an industry event today, IMDEX said BLASTDOG would move from engineering development to commercial prototype by the end of the year.

Progress was outlined to representatives from development partners from METS Ignited, as well as other mining sector executives.

IMDEX said there is already strong industry interest in BLASTDOG because of its capacity to deliver reliable, real-time data that will enable critical mine planning decisions to be made earlier, introducing greater efficiencies throughout the mining value chain.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said no other technology had the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes, including enhancing productivity.

“It has the capacity to improve productivity, efficiency, and safety and is part of IMDEX’s internet of geosensing initiative, and will significantly increase mine to mill efficiency,” House said. “Moving to a commercial prototype is a significant development. We will work with prospective clients to ensure that when it is released IMDEX BLASTDOG will deliver the results, efficiencies, and safety that will be its trademark.”

Among the benefits of IMDEX BLASTDOG outlined by the company are the ability to:

  • Improve fragmentation;
  • Improve material and grade control;
  • Reduce geotechnical risk;
  • Reduce adverse vibrations;
  • Define ore boundaries and prevent ore waste;
  • Indicate reactive ground; and
  • Reduce fume, fly rock and vibration