The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Spacetech & AI aid Aussie copper search

Metal Tech News - June 13, 2024

Inflection Resources leverages Fleet Space's ExoSphere to survey enormous land package.

To help discover large deposits of copper that will help meet growing demands of the global energy transition, Inflection Resources Ltd. is leveraging the space tech and AI mineral exploration solutions provided by Fleet Space Technologies to scan for potential targets hidden undercover across an enormous copper-prospective land package in New South Wales, Australia.

Under an up to $96 million (A$145 million) earn-in agreement with AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd., Inflection is exploring a roughly 180-mile-long (290 kilometers) package of properties that extends north from the Macquarie Arc.

This geological region of New South Wales is famed for its large copper deposits and mines, including Newmont's Cadia underground mine, which hosts 7.9 billion pounds of copper and 17 million ounces of gold in reserves.

Though Inflection's extensive land package covers fertile ground for finding copper, the world-class deposits the company is seeking would be hidden under thick layers of sediments.

The mining industry has developed several geophysical techniques to image and reveal the characteristics of buried rocks, which provide clues to where to drill for hidden mineral deposits.

Inflection attempted a variety of these geophysical survey techniques to identify buried rock formations prospective for copper at Duck Creek, a project that lies at the heart of the company's larger Macquarie Arc land package. The thickness and conductivity of the post-mineral sedimentary cover, however, masked the underlying rocks and failed to produce reliable results.

This led Inflection to deploy Fleet Space's ExoSphere, a powerful mineral exploration system that combines a constellation of low-earth-orbit nanosatellites with earthbound sensors called Geodes, edge computing, and AI to carry out ambient noise tomography (ANT) geophysical surveys to deliver high-resolution 3D imaging to depths of 2,500 meters (more than 1.5 miles).

Unlike other geophysical techniques, ANT is indifferent to the conductive elements in the cover sediment, including groundwater.

An ANT survey of Duck Creek revealed six high-priority copper targets. The geophysical indicators were compelling enough to compel AngloGold to elevate Duck Creek to a second phase of exploration – the first such project under the partnership – and drill eight deep holes to test the targets.

"The end-to-end capabilities of ExoSphere and the 3D subsurface insights it unlocked at our Duck Creek project, has helped Inflection rapidly identify several new high-priority drill targets and has demonstrated that the ExoSphere system can accelerate the data-driven exploration of our projects," said Inflection Resources President and CEO Alistair Waddell.

Fleet Space Technologies

A Fleet Space Geode planted in the ground at Inflection Resources' Duck Creek copper project.

World's largest ANT survey

Given the success at Duck Creek, Inflection and AngloGold have decided to carry out an ExoSphere survey across the entire 700-square-mile (1,800 square kilometers) land package they are exploring in an area of Australia famed for its copper deposits.

"We're excited to work with Fleet Space again and deploy ExoSphere on a large scale across Inflection's projects in the Macquarie Arc and leverage Fleet Space's AI-powered prospectivity insights to aid our exploration strategy across Australia's premier porphyry copper-gold province."

This enormous survey to discover buried copper lodes fits well with an idea on the minds of Fleet Space's founders – that the space tech company's satellite-enabled mineral exploration solution could help discover some of the estimated $13 trillion worth of minerals needed for the energy transition over the next two decade.

"Without a major acceleration in copper discoveries, humanity's transition to renewable energy and building the infrastructure necessary for the global AI industry are unachievable," said Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini. "We are proud to conduct the world's largest mineral exploration survey with ambient noise tomography in support of Inflection Resources' data-driven exploration of the Macquarie Arc with our end-to-end solution, ExoSphere, and deliver sustainable subsurface insights at scale with our next-generation AI capabilities."

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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