ASX-listed microcap Orexplore Technologies has secured a A$0.43 million site drill core scanning and analysis contract with Gold Fields in Chile that marks its entry into South America.
Swick Mining Services spin-off Orexplore said it would roll out its new Smart Sampler software at Gold Fields’ Salares Norte epithermal gold-silver project in northern Chile.
Orexplore GeoCore X10 mobile scanning units and the company’s proprietary software are expected to reduce the amount of drill core from Salares Norte that Gold Fields has to send to assay laboratories.
The gold major is drilling to extend and expand reserves at 100%-owned Salares Nortes, where it has built a US$860 million surface mine and plant to produce circa-3.7 million ounces gold-equivalent over an 11.5-year project life. In South America, Gold Fields also has its Cerro Corona mine in Peru.
It sees Orexplore as a mining tech and service company “committed to transforming the industry”.
“We can see the value creation on offer through this technology from sample optimisation through to orebody knowledge and ESG solutions, and we are excited by the opportunity that being a first-mover in the digital transformation of mining provides to our business,” Gold Fields vice president of exploration for the Americas region, Diego Huete, said.
Orexplore’s technology platform includes the GeoCore X10 units said to be able to scan drilled core in less than 15 minutes per metre, and Insight software that presents the scan data as a 3D digital model. The Perth-based company says this enables remote mining and geology personnel located anywhere in the world to analyse and interpret 3D core scans, and connect the information into their standard geological software packages to assess orebodies and rapidly study the optimal methods of extraction.
“This technology is unique through its ability to see through the entire inside of the core using medical grade CT scanners, and to combine this with dual XRF sensors to build three-dimensional elemental and geochemical models that drive powerful automated data-science solutions,” Orexplore says.
The company said it was establishing a Santiago office to meet expected demand in the region.
“We are very pleased to be working with Gold Field’s as our first step into the South American region, and to further demonstrate the broad application of our technology platform through our first deployment that targets full integration into an operating mine’s processes and workflows,” managing director Brett Giroud said.
“South America is a very large base metals and gold market, with a proven appetite for technology adoption that we believe is well suited to our transformational technology platform.”
Giroud said Orexplore was developing ore sorting and ESG products such as acid-rock drainage and site based environmental monitoring tools.
Swick spent millions on X-ray detector technology developed in Sweden that underpinned Orexplore’s spinout and separate ASX listing in 2022.
The company has a current market value of A$4.8 million.