Fleet Space Technologies has partnered with Canadian metal exploration company, Power Nickel, which specializes in exploration of high-potential nickel, copper, gold and other battery metal prospects in Canada and Chile — the company will use Fleet Space’s ExoSphere technology to seek additional, high-grade nickel ore deposits at its NISK site in Quebec, Canada.
ExoSphere consists of highly portable sensors called Geodes, which uses ambient noise tomography (ANT) to collect subsurface data. This data is beamed to the ExoSphere constellation of LEO satellites, then relayed to computers that use machine learning to generate detailed 3D subsurface maps.
The combination of Geodes and satellite connectivity allows small teams to map vast amounts of land accurately and with little to no environmental disturbance. Plus, unlike traditional prospecting methods, which can take years to complete, the whole process takes as little as four days.
Power Nickel plans to deploy ExoSphere at its flagship NISK project to find additional high-grade nickel deposits, which generally take the form of ‘pods.’ By improving the accuracy of both deposit location and subsequent drilling, ExoSphere can help decrease land disturbance in the exploration stage.
Power Nickel believes NISK’s shallow mineral depth, established infrastructure and proximity to a hydropower source could make it one of the world’s most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly sources of high-grade nickel. Indonesia’s recent ban on nickel exports underlines Canada’s urgent need to become more self-sufficient to support the growing demand for nickel batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) and other clean energy applications.
Terry Lynch, CEO of Power Nickel, said, “Fleet Space Technologies has already successfully used this technology in Australia and now in Minnesota. By using this advanced seismic tomography approach in combination with our in-house methods, we hope to increase our chances of finding more nickel ore pods at a faster rate. The two main advantages this technology offers is that we can now explore our 45-square kilometer land package in a fraction of the time we need using traditional ground-based methods. The second advantage is that with this data we can drill less meters, but with increased impact. Use of this technology aligns well with our goal of making nickel mining cleaner, faster and more environment friendly right from the exploration phase.”
Fleet Space founder, Flavia Tata Nardini, said, “We’re delighted to see ExoSphere deployed in Canada for the first time, building on our success in the US and elsewhere around the world. As well as great technology and commercial partnership, this is a real meeting of minds. We both understand the urgent need to accelerate the discovery process for these vital minerals; but we’re also equally committed to minimising its environmental impact. Power Nickel is precisely the kind of forward-thinking, responsible enterprise ExoSphere was designed for: it’s great to be working with them on this project.”