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Exploring Reko Diq with Fleet Space tech

Metal Tech News - July 10, 2024

Barrick Gold leverages satellite-enabled AI mineral exploration technology to explore the larger copper potential at Pakistani project.

Barrick Gold Corp. is the latest in a growing number of mining companies to use space tech and AI mineral exploration solutions developed by Australia-based Fleet Space Technologies to discover hidden deposits of minerals needed for the clean energy transition.

While Barrick is best known for being one of the world's largest producers of gold, the company plans to double its output of copper by the end of the decade. The Reko Diq project in Pakistan is key to the major gold miner's strategic shift toward producing more of this energy metal.

While Reko Diq is already a world-class asset that is considered to host one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold projects on the planet, the deposits already outlined there represent only a small portion of the potential that lies hidden below the sand at the expansive project.

To gain a better understanding of the geology and copper potential at Reko Diq, Barrick has deployed Fleet Space's satellite-enabled ExoSphere geophysics technology to generate 3D subsurface maps of local groundwater systems and copper porphyry complexes over a roughly 445-square-mile (1,150 square kilometers) area of the Pakistani project.

"Barrick Gold and Fleet Space are united in our use of cutting-edge technologies to enhance mineral discovery and unlock sustainability benefits across the exploration journey," said Fleet Space Technologies CEO Flavia Tata Nardini. "By applying the latest innovations in space, AI, and 3D multiphysics to copper exploration, we demonstrate a more sustainable, scalable path to achieve the copper supply needed for our clean energy future, in alignment with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals."

Fleet Space Technologies.

ExoSphere leverages low-Earth-orbit satellites and smart seismic sensors to deliver real-time 3D mapping of mineral systems and AI-powered drill targeting.

Leveraging ExoSphere's advantages

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 capable of delivering high-resolution 3D imaging to depths of 2,500 meters (more than 1.5 miles) below the surface.

This system offers several advantages when it comes to quickly and sustainably delivering high-quality 3D images of subsurface geology and then using that data to define targets for mineral exploration and deposit definition drilling.

Fleet Space's Geodes are hand-transportable, wireless, and battery-powered seismic sensors that are easy to deploy. Once sufficient ANT data is gathered by a grid of Geodes, these sensors use a technology known as edge computing to partially process the raw information before transmitting the data to Fleet Space's low-earth-orbit satellites. This streamlined data is then relayed to a ground station that is able to deliver nearly real-time 3D mapping of mineral systems and AI-powered drill targeting with near-zero environmental impact.

When compared to traditional geophysical survey methods, which require stringing a network of cables to connect the sensors and physically transporting the data to a location to be downloaded, ExoSphere offers a much faster and more efficient end-to-end data journey, making exploration activities more dynamic and precise. This speedy delivery and data processing provides geological teams at remote mineral exploration projects access to real-time actionable insights.

Barrick is leveraging these advantages to quickly and sustainably gain a clear picture of the geology and mineral endowment at Reko Diq, a project that is poised to be a major supplier of the copper in high demand as the world increasingly depends on zero-carbon electricity for its energy needs.

"We are proud to deploy ExoSphere to advance Barrick Gold's ESG objectives and support the development of a world-class operation at Reko Diq," said Nardini.

Barrick is on track to complete an updated feasibility study for a mine at Reko Diq later this year and plans to begin producing copper at the Pakistani project in 2028.

Barrick owns 50% of Reko Diq and will operate the mine. The balance of the project is owned by the Balochistan province (25%) and the federal government through state-owned entities (25%).

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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