Saudi Arabia’s Ma’aden and Ivanhoe Electric have formalised a partnership that will see the latter’s Typhoon geophysics survey system and machine learning software applied to try to improve geological understanding of a circa-48,500 square kilometre section of the Arabian Shield in a US$66 million exploration program.
Sauder miner Ma’aden is taking US$126.5 million of New York-listed Ivanhoe Electric’s stock at $12.38 per share, with more than half the proceeds directed to planned copper, nickel, gold and other mineral exploration via a 50-50 joint venture vehicle.
“Our joint venture will embark on the largest exploration program ever conducted using our highly powerful and disruptive Typhoon geophysical surveying system,” Ivanhoe executive chairman Robert Friedland said.
“With our Typhoon technology, our Computational Geosciences’ machine-based learning software, and the combined talents of our highly experienced team of women and men, we believe that we have all the tools necessary to conduct a transformational exploration program for electric and precious metals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The potential for future discoveries is extraordinary.”
Ivanhoe Electric said the technology, developed by I-Pulse in France, was designed to penetrate deep cover, pick up deeper sulphide targets and cover large areas.
The survey system uses high-powered electric discharges, with a current output of up to 200 amps and a voltage output of up to 10,000 volts, switches and capacitance systems to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio and generate a pure, stable transmitted signal.
“Typhoon is also capable of transmitting both induced polarisation and electromagnetic signals, meaning that the same transmitter can be used to search for a wide variety of mineral deposit types,” Ivanhoe Electric said.
The company has three Typhoon units, one of which will be deployed to Saudi Arabia in the near-term for use by the JV. The first of three new generation Typhoon units to be purchased by the JV is expected to be delivered in the first half of next year.
Ma’aden, a fertiliser and aluminium producer with US$10.7 billion sales last year, has been charged with helping significant expand Saudi Arabia’s domestic mining sector.