Earth ‘x-ray’ start-up Ideon Technologies is initiating the world’s first field trials of a muon detector that fits down industry-standard boreholes – together with French multi-national Orano Group, in a cooperative EUREKA-approved research and development project, and with funding support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).
Richmond’s Ideon is a world pioneer in cosmic-ray muon tomography, which provides x-ray-like imaging to those who explore beneath the Earth’s surface.
The Ideon discovery platform integrates proprietary muon detectors, imaging systems, inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence to produce 3D density maps of features up to 1 km underground. It improves geologists’ subsurface field-of-view, reducing the need for expensive drilling activity while increasing discovery certainty.
EUREKA is the world’s biggest platform for international cooperation in R&D and innovation. Funding is merit-based and highly competitive. As part of the collaboration, Ideon will receive advisory services and up to $435,000 in funding support from NRC IRAP for the EUREKA-approved project.
The objective of the project is to build and demonstrate the world’s first industry-standard borehole (<10 cm diameter, HQ-gauge), low-power (<10W continuous power consumption), zero-maintenance (10 years maintenance-free) muon tomography detector suitable for operation in the extreme environmental conditions of mineral exploration sites around the world.
Orano will host the field trial in Saskatchewan in 2021 near a known deposit representative of the depth, size, grade, and density contrasts of targeted deposits.
The outcome of this applied R&D project will be a new, field-proven method for mapping dense ore bodies at depth, along with a suite of new measurement instruments and an enhanced body of learning related to the application of muon tomography for mineral exploration applications.
Ideon’s new borehole detector is slated for commercial release in 2021.