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Novamera and OZ Minerals to take surgical mining concept forward with new MoU

Novamera Inc and OZ Minerals have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that, they say, provides a basis of common understanding to support the creation of a “collaborative innovation relationship” between the parties.

The two companies share a desire to unlock value in stranded mineral assets, transform the mining project lifecycle and enable the world’s raw material needs to be met responsibly, equitably and sustainably, they said. To that end, the partnership plans to engage in certain activities including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Participation by OZ Minerals in the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) Consortium of Mining Companies to trial Novamera’s near borehole imaging tool (NBIT) at various project sites later in 2022;
  • Assess the potential of deploying Novamera’s technology within OZ Minerals’ project portfolio;
  • Collaboratively evaluate potential project opportunities; and
  • Co-develop collateral to articulate the operational experience and value proposition associated with Novamera’s technology.

The agreement follows Novamera being named as one of seven companies in OZ Minerals’ ‘Scalable and Adaptable’ mining cohort to work together to explore flexible mine design, in September. The challenge was run as a partnership between OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently Incubator, Canada-based Inspire Resources and Unearthed.

Dustin Angelo, President and CEO of Novamera, said: “Since last September, we have been working with the Think & Act Differently team on the Scalable & Adaptable Mining Challenge. Over that period of time, we realised we share common goals and ideas on the direction of the mining industry and where to unlock value. The MoU will allow us to focus our efforts collectively and begin to leverage our individual core competencies to create a tremendous amount of value for each of our companies.”

Katie Hulmes, General Manager Transformation at OZ Minerals, added: “The Novamera technology can enable surgical mining. This approach has the potential to operate with less waste, water, energy and a smaller footprint. We look forward to working with Novamera as part of the CMIC Consortium and various internal projects.”

Novamera, through surgical mining, has set out to adapt a combination of drilling and imaging techniques already proven in the oil & gas industry for the narrow-vein mining sector, providing the technical and economical means to mine steeply dipping narrow-vein orebodies with the reduced footprint disturbance modern mining operations require.

Last year it carried out a proof of concept trial of the technology at the Signal Gold-owned Romeo and Juliet deposit in Newfoundland, Canada, which was designed to test the entire surgical mining system and process, which is made up of three steps. This includes drilling a pilot hole with a standard NQ-sized diamond core rig and sending imaging tools down through the core barrel on wireline; bringing in a large-diameter drill to drill to depth following the trajectory provided by the imaging tool and extracting the cuttings; and backfilling the holes thereafter.

Angelo told IM recently that the company had assembled a consortium of companies looking to co-fund a field trial of the company’s minimum viable product version of the NBIT (the version used at Romeo and Juliet, pictured), which is the key enabling technology within surgical mining, through CMIC.