Tag Archives: Paul House

IMDEX looks for 3D rock knowledge data with MinePortal acquisition

IMDEX says it will acquire DataCloud’s MinePortal software in a circa-A$20 million ($14.8 million) cash and shares deal that will significantly enhance the company’s data visualisation and analysis capabilities and build on its real-time orebody knowledge technology.

MinePortal is a next generation cloud-connected orebody knowledge technology which interprets and models geological data to enable real-time 3D visualisation, according to IMDEX.

It processes high volumes of data in real time, while applying geostatistical and machine learning algorithms to identify orebody trends. MinePortal contains three integrated solutions: Data Lab, Blast Intelligence and Blend Intelligence, with IMDEX intending to integrate the technology with IMDEXHUB-IQ™ and enhance the real-time orebody knowledge ecosystem.

The transaction will accelerate the development of the IMDEX BLASTDOG™ geosensing tool and enhance its value for clients by linking data obtained from both IMDEX and third-party products to deliver real-time 3D visualisation models, the company said.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said the acquisition continued the evolution of IMDEX with its focus on technology to deliver real benefits for clients throughout the mining value chain.

“The purchase of MinePortal is in line with IMDEX’s strategy to move into the production end of the mining value chain and will complement our other initiatives,” House said.

“The ability for IMDEX and DataCloud to bring together IMDEXHUB-IQ, IMDEX BLASTDOG, and MinePortal is genuinely exciting. The partnership will accelerate our product development roadmap and will benefit IMDEX, our clients and the global minerals industry.”

House said the integrated rock knowledge technology will allow visualisation of rock knowledge data in 3D, supporting enhanced decision making in real time.

“To build and view these high spatial density models in the cloud, in real time, and access them from anywhere in the world, is world class tech,” he said.

“MinePortal will enrich the value that current and future rock knowledge sensors provide clients; it has an existing presence within mining production that is readily scalable; and it increases our Software as a Service offering and will generate additional quality revenue.”

The acquisition is subject to conditions including a final vote of DataCloud shareholders to approve the transaction, which is expected to be finalised by the end of this month.

The cash and performance-based share deal involves an initial cash payment to DataCloud of A$8 million, which will secure the assets and intellectual property relating to MinePortal.

The share-based component of the deal will occur from 2022 to 2024, with a pre-agreed number of shares being issued in 2022 and 2023, and with a third tranche of shares paid in 2024, if revenue targets are achieved. On the current share price, the combined value of the share component of the deal is about A$12 million.

Key DataCloud personnel will join IMDEX, complementing the company’s existing presence on the west coast of California, and bring additional artificial intelligence and geoscience expertise.

Drill rig utilisation nears capacity in key mining hubs, IMDEX survey reveals

A snapshot of mineral exploration drill rig use in major mining regions globally has revealed Australia, USA and parts of South America are nearing capacity, as the surge in exploration continues unabated, IMDEX reports.

In a market update ahead of a presentation to the Macquarie Emerging Leaders Conference, IMDEX said rig utilisation in Australia was “nearing capacity” at 79%, and 72% in North America.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer Paul House said the company was able to produce the snapshot because of its global presence in major mining regions, adding that global rig utilisation had only just returned to or exceeded pre-COVID 19 levels.

The March snapshot showed rig utilisation was at 37% in Europe, 38% in South America, 30% in Africa, and 55% in Canada.

Activity in Canada would be significantly higher in the northern summer drilling season, House explained, while certain parts of South America were at high capacity percentages.

In regions nearing capacity, delivery times for new rigs had increased and labour shortages were adding to the pressure, according to the survey.

“We believe the industry is willing to invest and spend but may not be able to move as fast as it would like,” House said. “The industry drivers of depleted reserves, strong commodity pricing and the trend towards decarbonisation, are driving substantially increased industry exploration budgets.

“However, delivery against these targets will require time and investment in labour, drilling rigs, and other supply chain pressures that are a current constraint.”

He added: “When S+P says exploration will grow by 15-20% in a year and we see that the areas that are most active are running at maximum rig utilisation, and we know the lead time for new rig orders has blown out to nine or 10 months, we believe that increase won’t happen in that timeframe.

“A lack of rigs places even more importance on using the best technology to drill more metres with the rigs that are available.”

House said the long-term outlook for mining technology was strong.

IMDEX was positioned to benefit from increasing demand for digital operations and real-time orebody knowledge, with a strong core business and strategy to outperform industry growth, he said.

IMDEX on the importance of cyber security in the digital age

As the resources sector is adopting innovation, in particular digital technologies, at an increasingly rapid rate, mining companies should consider the cyber-security risks inherent with leveraging this innovation, according to mining technology company IMDEX.

Paul House, CEO for IMDEX, says the take-up of new technologies is happening on a scale that has not been seen in the past – a confluence of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to replace depleted existing mineral reserves.

“This is partly by necessity, to enable remote working, and partly by opportunity, as these technologies will enable faster drilling, more efficient drilling, and better decision making,” he said.

But every tool and technology that is added to a mining company’s arsenal – from exploration to production – increases the attack surface for hackers, according to the company.

IMDEX says it has countered this by achieving the “gold standard” in data security – certification against the exacting standards of ISO27001, an international information security standard recognised in 161 countries. The company received recognition for this information security standard in early 2020.

House said increasingly clients were asking for such security protocols to be in place.

The threat of cyber attacks intensifies as competitors, organised crime, and “state-based actors” seek to gain advantage by malicious means – searching for vulnerabilities in business systems that will allow them access a company’s most important secrets, according to the company.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has warned that the likelihood and severity of cyber attacks is increasing because of the growing dependence on new information technology platforms and interconnected devices and systems.

“Cyber crime is one of the most pervasive threats facing Australia, and the most significant threat in terms of overall volume and impact to individuals and businesses,” the ACSC said in its annual report last year.

Global communications company Inmarsat, in a 2020 report examining the rise of IoT in mining, said the majority of mining organisations were struggling to meet the security challenges presented by the IoT.

The report found that while respondents in their research were aware of the damage a cyber attack could trigger, the response so far to the threats had been minimal.

IMDEX Information Security Manager, Sameera Bandara, said cyber threats come from various sources, including hackers doing it for fun, criminal enterprises, competitors, and nation states.

“They use proxies and zombies to mask who and where they are and, even if we found them, prosecution would be a problem,” Bandara said.

IMDEX’s approach was that its systems needed to be secure to protect its data and that of its clients.

“IMDEX spends A$20 million ($15 million) a year on research and development,” Bandara said. “If competitors could get access to technology or tools in development by hacking our systems, the financial and reputational costs to IMDEX would be significant.

“But we also needed to protect our clients’ information by making our systems as secure as possible. We can then say if we have your data, then it is secure to a point where an attacker would have to spend considerably more resources to exploit than the value of the data.”

IMDEX supplies a range of technologies and tools that deliver data from exploration through to production, with the data uploaded to cloud-connected management tools and analytic software.

The company addressed the security issue by maintaining an Information Security Management System certified against ISO27001 security certification that covers:

  • Software development processes;
  • The product development lifecycle for its real-time subsurface intelligent solutions;
  • Manufacturing and deployment of products and technologies;
  • Client support processes; and
  • Information technology systems for supporting these activities and digital functions.

Bandara refers to it as the “gold standard” of data security – achieved after an assessment of its information security management system and processes.

“Many companies say they are aligned with the ISO27001 requirements without actually being certified and that’s because a lot more rigour needs to go into getting certified,” he said.

IMDEX excited by structural changes in mining industry

IMDEX has heralded what it says is long-term structural change in the mining industry, as it reported a strong start to the first half of its financial year.

Delivering the company’s half-year results, IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, revealed a robust balance sheet with a net cash position of A$47 million ($36 million) in the six months ending December 31, 2020, up 84% on the same time last year.

The company reported EBITDA of A$33.1 million, up 6% on the same time last year and 43% on the second half of 2020, on revenue of A$124.3 million, down 3% on the same time last year, but up 13% on the second half of 2020.
House said the balance sheet strength enabled the company to accelerate targeted research and development in line with demand, and leverage opportunities for growth through acquisitions.

He said IMDEX continued to navigate the impact of COVID-19 on its global operations and had responded to increasing demand for remote working technologies and software, upgrading IMDEXHUB™ and releasing new ioGAS 7.3™ geochemistry data analysis software.

The company has a record number of gyro-related technologies on rent and reached a milestone with a record number of instruments on rent for December and January, it said.

“While the opportunity ahead of us is exciting, we remain watchful and ready,” House said. “We are watchful of the current risks posed by COVID and ready to meet the increasing demand for mining technologies.

“This confluence of risk and opportunities is accelerating long-term structural change in the mining industry.”

House said activity increased in most regions, most notably Canada, the US and West Africa, boosted by strong industry fundamentals.

“Our global reach and unrivalled product offering mean we can grow in all market conditions,” House added.

IMDEX said the positive outlook for mining technology was being driven by investment in metals tied to decarbonisation such as aluminium, cobalt, copper, nickel and lithium; mining’s essential role in the global economic recovery; and the minerals industry embracing new technologies.

The overall industry drivers are being reflected in increased exploration budgets, the company added.

IMDEX also reported in these results that it had signed a joint development agreement with a Tier 1 mining company to accelerate one of its key “rock knowledge sensor” technologies for commercial use. It also has a joint development agreement to accelerate its drilling optimisation tool IMDEX MAGHAMMER™ for commercial use, with ground trials under that agreement having started.

IMDEX signs agreement with Tier 1 miner to fast-track development of MAGHAMMER

IMDEX has signed a joint development agreement with a Tier One mining company to fast-track development of the IMDEX MAGHAMMER™ for commercial use, according to Chief Executive Paul House (pictured).

The MAGHAMMER uses a hybrid drilling technique combining rotary diamond drilling with fluid driven percussive drilling to achieve higher penetration rates compared with conventional coring. The technology enables an entire drill hole to be completed with a coring rig where RC and diamond drilling is required, according to the company.

IMDEX only exercised its option to acquire Flexidrill and its patent-protected drilling productivity technologies, COREVIBE and MAGHAMMER, in December, but it had carried out test work on the MAGHAMMER technology far in advance of the transaction.

Speaking at the company’s AGM this week, House reported a new rental fleet record and month-on-month increases in revenue since May as IMDEX recovered from a COVID-19-related downturn earlier in the year.

With the strength of the gold price and other key commodities, and exploration activity surging, IMDEX’s tool rental fleet is 19% up on the same time last year and exceeds the previous record set in 2012, the company said.

House told the AGM that the recommencement of activity globally since May had continued in most regions, albeit at different speeds.

“We achieved revenue of A$61.4 million ($43.5 million) in Q1 2021 (September quarter of 2020), which was up 26% on Q4 2020 (June quarter of 2020),” House said. “This result is only slightly behind the previous corresponding year at A$67.6 million, or 4.9% on a constant currency basis.”

House said the company is seeing multi-commodity demand, with clients “well-funded” and focused on resuming sustained activity as soon as possible.

The pressures of COVID-19, which forced various governments to impose border and travel restrictions, created strong demand for IMDEX technologies linked to its cloud-based IMDEX HUBIQ™, the company said.

“We have made great progress both because of and in spite of COVID-19,” House said. “The global pandemic has increased demand for our connected technologies that support remote operations. Conversely, it has hindered client trials due to limited access to site for non-essential personnel.

“On balance, the momentum for disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and the industrial internet of things is gaining cadence.

“The outlook for mining tech is brighter than it has ever been.”

On top of the MAGHAMMER reveal, House said client trials of the award-winning IMDEX BLAST DOG™ had resumed.

IMDEX BLAST DOG 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.

Just last month, the technology, being developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots and tested at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine in Queensland, won the Greyhound Innovation (METS) Award at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards.

IMDEX, UFR win plaudits for Blast DOG deployment at Anglo’s Dawson mine

IMDEX’s Blast DOG™ technology is gaining recognition, with the drill and blast innovation winning a Queensland mining award last week.

IMDEX Blast DOG, being developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots (UFR) and tested at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine in Queensland, won the Greyhound Innovation (METS) Award at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards.

A semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blast hole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine, IMDEX Blast DOG™ is commodity agnostic. It is a semi-autonomous system that helps optimise blasting based on high-resolution three-dimensional material models built from sensor data. It is aimed at helping miners get predictable fragmentation and determine ore and waste boundaries, and control vibration, dust, fumes and heave, the company says.

“No other technology has the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes including enhancing productivity,” IMDEX said.

The judges said UFR and IMDEX conquered the challenge of logging blast holes, while removing operators from harm’s way.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said: “To be the winner among such esteemed competition is a testament to the team and our collaboration partners, Universal Field Robots, Anglo American, Teck Resources Ltd and Orica, supported by METS Ignited.

“IMDEX has a passion to provide the mining industry with purpose-built solutions. IMDEX Blast DOG is no exception and we are investing heavily in solutions that provide significant benefit to our customers.”

The IMDEX Blast DOG solution moved from concept to prototype in just four months which provided the platform and justification to develop a commercial version, IMDEX says.

The innovation category was hotly debated, with judges looking at all five finalists as addressing the industry’s big issues. This included Emesent’s Hovermap drone payload for “mapping the inaccessible”, Polymathian – “Transforming Mining Value Chains with Industrial Mathematics”, Redeye Apps – “Optimising O&M Inspections – The Redeye Digital Twin” and Sedgman – “SMART Condition Monitoring”.

IMDEX accelerates cloud-connected solutions on COVID-19-related demand

IMDEX says interest in its cloud-connected technologies has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive effect of which will flow through for the next 10 years.

There has been strong interest in IMDEX’s software technologies including IMDEX HUB-IQ™, IMDEX MUD AID™ and IMDEX IoGas™, it said, with registrations for webinars on digital workflow and training for data-related products having jumped.

Adoption of IMDEX EZ-TRAC™, a digital downhole survey instrument that uploads data to IMDEX HUB-IQ, has also doubled in the past 12 months, according to the company.

IMDEX Chief Executive, Paul House, said the new ways of working had accelerated the adoption of some of its products and training services by as much as 12 months.

“Things like our online training platform, IMDEX Academy; we had this training platform available to our employees but not our clients at the beginning of COVID-19,” House said. “It was an important project to us, but it wasn’t urgent. When COVID-19 came along, it went from being important to being urgent, and it accelerated both that product’s development and the time to market almost overnight.”

IMDEX is at least 12 months ahead on the rollout of its online training platform because of the adoption rate during the pandemic, it said.

Registrations for webinars and training related to digital products have increased significantly, with the most recent webinar on digital workflow attracting about 500 registrations, compared with previous webinars with no more than 100, IMDEX said.

House says IMDEX can move the knowledge base of the industry quickly.

“It’s a conversation in the marketplace, it validates our leadership position and our domain knowledge ownership, it’s transformational for us and that will pay off for us for the next 10 years,” he said.

“Where would usually have to ask customers to consider a change in behaviour, to take a leap of faith, all of those things are being pulled into the market rather than pushed. The processes that are being disrupted have a solution, which is some of our IMDEX solutions.”

House concluded: “We always say once you have started working with our solutions, you won’t go back. So, the adoption rate is faster, and the conversation rate is locked in.”

IMDEX adds rock knowledge component to ‘answer products’ with AusSpec buy

IMDEX has acquired AusSpec, an industry leader in automated mineralogy to the mining sector, in an A$8.5 million ($5.9 million) cash and shares deal.

The deal closes a technology gap for IMDEX around rock knowledge, complements its existing tools that add value across the entire mining chain from exploration to production, and has the potential to expand its offering with major mining companies, according to IMDEX.

AusSpec Co-founder and Director, Dr Sasha Pontual, and the AusSpec team will join IMDEX, the Australia-based company said.

The deal for New Zealand-based company unlocks access to AusSpec’s unique, cloud-based Artificial Intelligence Spectral InfraRed Interpretation System (aiSIRIS) technology, IMDEX says.

aiSIRIS is proven technology that has processed more than two million spectra from more than 1,000 mining projects across the globe and has enabled AusSpec to build up an extensive spectral library, according to the company. It involves the acquisition of spectra from hand-held spectrometers, the QA/QC of spectra to ensure quality for processing in real-time and uploading the data for the cloud-based aiSIRIS AI compute engine to analyse the spectra, according to AusSpec.

“aiSIRIS complements IMDEX’s existing in-field GeoAnalysis solution and integrates with IMDEX ioGAS™ software to provide further interpretation and analysis,” IMDEX said.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said the acquisition reflects the company’s continued drive to provide more complete rock knowledge to clients through real-time technology.

“The aiSIRIS technology fundamentally changes the approach to mineralogy,” he said. “There is nothing else like this in the industry.

“Without it, the alternative workflows are costly and time consuming. This makes mineralogy routine and establishes the industry standard.”

House said the AusSpec team was a strong strategic fit for IMDEX, providing a “compelling opportunity to accelerate our rock knowledge offering for clients”.

He added: “Every mine in the world makes decisions on the four components of rock knowledge – location, texture, grade, and mineralogy. Our technology stack currently addresses three of these components and aiSIRIS satisfies the fourth – mineralogy.

“Creating answer products, such as mineralogy, from field data in near real-time, is a big part of our vision and this is just another step in our goal to be the global leaders in creating rock knowledge for resource companies.”

The acquisition price comprises A$3 million in cash, and A$5.5 million in IMDEX shares over two years.

IMDEX ready for mining uptick as global COVID-19 restrictions start to lift

IMDEX is seeing light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, with some restrictions affecting its international operations to be eased during May and June, prompting mining operations to resume and drilling contractors to return to work.

With 20 offices internationally, sales in 102 countries, and a presence in 70% of mineral drilling projects globally, the company and its clients have been dealing with restrictions and government declarations in multiple jurisdictions, IMDEX said.

The restrictions have not affected IMDEX’s supply chain and it has been able to service clients, it says.

Mexico has recently emerged from a 30-day, COVID-related shutdown after mining was deemed an essential service, joining South Africa, Argentina, Peru and parts of Quebec and Brazil as countries where operations have recently started ramping back up.

In Australia, IMDEX and its clients have been able to continue operations while working within state restrictions, it said.

In a presentation hosted by Goldman Sachs released to the ASX, IMDEX said business disruption appeared to have stabilised and there had been an increase in demand in late April for remote working technologies.

The company had followed a strong first half-year result (six months to December 31, 2019) with its strongest March quarter revenue on record, up 11% on the same period of 2019, before the effects of the COVID-19 crisis hit during April.

Chief Operating Officer, Paul House, said the company was fielding enquiries from clients looking to resume operations. At the same time, the company was alert to the risk of renewed government and company responses to secondary COVID-19 infections.

“As we see restrictions being lifted, we are receiving enquiries from our clients asking for confirmation of supply to remobilise on drilling projects around the world and we expect this to continue through May and June,” House said. “We are establishing new ways of working internally and with our clients, which will continue and be beneficial when the pandemic eases.

“IMDEX invests heavily in research and development. We have always worked with industry to solve problems and this period is no different. It just means that we have to think creatively – and we have some of the best in the business at doing that.”

He added: “We have a positive growth outlook with solid underlying mining industry fundamentals. Major and intermediate resource companies have strong balance sheets and are focused on replacing reserves.”

IMDEX is also set to benefit from the strong gold mining sector, with House noting that Bank of America recently forecast “gold would hit $3,000/oz in 18 months”. The price currently sits just above $1,730/oz.

About 50% of IMDEX’s commodity exposure is within gold, with copper and iron ore exposure representing 25% and other metals the remainder.

IMDEX data security processes receive ISO/IEC recognition

IMDEX has received recognition for its information security management system and processes, being certified against the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard recognised in 161 countries.

The certification demonstrates the company operates an information security management system that is compliant with its mandatory requirements, has systematic processes for managing information security risks, and has implemented controls mandated by the standard, IMDEX said.

The news is of particular importance considering the rising popularity of IMDEX’s cloud connectivity platform, IMDEXHUB-IQ™ – which provides secure access to validated data, seamlessly transmitted from a range of sub-surface instrumentation, analytical instruments and mobile form data inputs.

“With cyber threats recognised by consultancy experts EY as one of the top 10 business risks of 2020, IMDEX’s certification means its clients’ data will be safe from security threats,” the company said.

“IMDEX’s certification through SGS – a globally renowned inspection, verification, testing and certification company – comprises a comprehensive range of activities including:

  • “Software development processes;
  • “The product development lifecycle for its real-time subsurface intelligent solutions;
  • “Manufacturing and deployment of products and technologies;
  • “Client support processes; and
  • “Information technology systems for supporting these activities and digital functions.”

Commenting on the achievement of ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, IMDEX Chief Operating Officer, Paul House, said: “We know cyber safety is a growing problem globally and IMDEX has worked hard to ensure our information system is secure to provide a solution for our customers.

“It is a significant milestone for our company and provides additional assurance to clients regarding the end-to-end security of their information – for example, ordering and dispatch using our global digital rentals platform, critical data collection and secure transfer with our award-winning cloud solution IMDEXHUB-IQ and ongoing support via our 24/7 Customer Care portal.”

He concluded: “All our stakeholders can be confident we have robust systems and processes in place – which meet the highest industry standards – to protect their data and sensitive information.”

IMDEX’s Chief Information and Transformation Officer, Mathew Regan, added: “The certification demonstrates our company’s commitment to maturing and enhancing our information security posture in line with IMDEX’s growth as a leading global mining-tech company.”