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Arizona copper miner enlists AI power

Metal Tech News - March 6, 2024

Prismo Metals brings ExploreTech xFlare technology to world-class copper project

Heating up its exploration endeavors at the company's Hot Breccia project in the heart of the great Arizona Copper Belt, Prismo Metals Inc. has enlisted the support of Exploration Technologies Inc.'s xFlare artificial intelligence technology to assess the potential of this world-class copper target.

"The Hot Breccia project should be an ideal place to apply xFlare," said Prismo Metals President and CEO Craig Gibson. "It lies in the world-famous Arizona copper belt, between several very well understood world-class copper mines including the Morenci, Ray and Resolution. Hot Breccia shows many features in common with these neighboring systems ..."

Based out of San Diego, California, Exploration Technologies (ExploreTech) is an AI-powered mineral exploration company that has spent the last 10 years building a reservoir of data backed by its founding geoscientists pouring their knowledge and experience into a system to streamline the process of manual discovery and push it into the digital age.

Utilizing a three-tiered approach that covers all the aspects necessary to kickstart its algorithmic search, ExploreTech's xFlare is designed to fit a deposit's style to corresponding data and then generate an optimized drill campaign.

Because the process is automated, the company says assessing potential exploration targets is 100 times faster than the standard approach. Even better, xFlare does not need training data to better acclimate to the potential deposit, only needing the expertise of a trained geoscientist to do what they do best and let the program take care of the rest.

xFlare process

While it sounds rather simple, the results are further broken down into three parts that warrant the highest probability for exploration prioritization.

First is geophysical inversion. Using its cloud-based probabilistic inversion software, xFlare automatically creates geological models that match already developed science – the geological hypothesis and the geophysical data.

Once that data is input and a model is rendered, the inversion results are used to design an optimized drilling program that adheres to possible drilling limitations, like drill pad accessibility and cost constraints, as well as other factors.

The final step is just repeating the first step, continuously updating the data to refine the search until it reaches probable pay dirt.

Because xFlare's speed unlocks the ability to iterate and decide at scale, this enables mineral exploration companies to assess tens or hundreds of exploration targets to determine which to prioritize.

Reyna Silver case study

Not necessarily used to search using all available data and making an educated estimate, xFlare is more of a supplementary tool that streamlines the drilling phase of exploration.

Used to assess drill targets in greenfield or brownfield exploration, ExploreTech's AI is more of an assurance and possible insurance for the risks that come with seeking hidden caches of minerals beneath the earth.

Typically, geophysical surveys slowly map out the underlying structure of the earth. These range from advanced X-ray-type scans to magnetism, topology, and even lidar, which experienced geologists can use as clues to narrow the search.

With continual years of drilling that slowly reveal the bigger picture of what's going on beneath the ground, geoscientists decipher and translate that data into a hypothesis of how the earth is shaped, how the mineralization was formed, and other such calculations to eventually determine where next to drill.

With xFlare, all this data is input, and the probabilities are spat out practically before a geoscientist can sit down with their coffee.

Located in the Santa Eulalia Mining District, which hosts one of the world's largest carbonate replacement deposits, Reyna Silver Corp.'s Guigui project in Chihuahua, Mexico, has already produced over 500 million ounces of silver.

In all its time producing, however, the source of this mineralization has not yet been found.

This is where xFlare comes in: optimizing drilling based on the years of already assembled geophysical data.

Partnering with ExploreTech in 2021 to investigate a magnetic anomaly near the drilling done that same year, its algorithm showed a magnetic body roughly 400 to 800 meters southeast of the drilling, which was a further 1,000 to 1,200 meters deep.

Reyna Silver Corp.

Two maps showing the drilling done by Reyna Silver in 2021 (left) and the identified magnetic body and its AI-optimized drill hole determined by ExploreTech's xFlare technology (right).

"We are so pleased with ExploreTech's work on the Guigui geophysics, that we are now working with them on our Nevada assets," said Reyna Silver CEO Jorge Ramiro Monroy.

Hot Breccia

Running a ZTEM survey last year – a Z-axis tipper electromagnetic survey is yet another specialized kind of geophysical test that mineral exploration companies can employ to garner a better understanding of its prospect – Prismo Metals identified a large conductive body below the area where it received its namesake, breccia, which is just a type of rock that often alludes to certain minerals.

Prismo Metals Inc.

View of the subsurface looking northeasterly showing the conductive body from the ZTEM survey and cross sections of the Christmas deposit and the Hot Breccia area.

"Prismo ran a ZTEM survey last year that identified a very large conductive anomaly directly beneath the breccia outcrops and expects xFlare's AI approach to zero in on where and at what depth to drill," added Gibson.

Prismo reported that throughout all the work that has been done at Hot Breccia, none have been able to target this conductive body from the survey.

Given the success of its analysis at Guigui, in the coming weeks, an optimized program made by ExploreTech's xFlare may enable Prismo to have its most fruitful exploration year to date.

 

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