Work will quantify value of subsurface intelligence for mining industry.

Vancouver, CANADA (October 25, 2023) – Canadian subsurface intelligence company Ideon Technologies has partnered with the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) and the Bradshaw Research Institute for Mining and Minerals (BRIMM) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to advance a project focused on determining the full value of ore body knowledge in mineral exploration and mining. Supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under its Alliance grant program, the project will assess historic value destruction due to a lack of orebody knowledge and provide a framework for industry to quantify the costs, benefits, and optimal approach to improving subsurface intelligence across the mining life cycle. 

The practice of Ore Body Knowledge (OBK) integrates geological, mining, metallurgical, environmental, and economic information to create geologically based predictive models. With a multi-trillion-dollar supply chain gap in the critical minerals sector, OBK is key to identifying, mapping, and producing the 3 billion tons of natural resources required to deploy clean energy technologies such as wind, solar, nuclear, and electrification. 

Ideon is a world pioneer in muon tomography, using the energy from supernova explosions in space to provide x-ray-like visibility down to 1 km (0.6 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface. The company is addressing the worldwide shortage in critical mineral supply by helping major mining companies achieve greater certainty in their ore body knowledge to precisely target high-recovery, low-waste deposits of the critical minerals required to fuel the clean energy transition. 

“The quality of OBK modelling can make the difference between success and failure of a mining company, with many miners committing to billion-dollar operational decisions based on only fractional knowledge of what’s beneath the surface,” says Ideon CEO & Co-Founder Gary Agnew. “The mining industry has had to rely on intensive drilling programs to try and understand the subsurface, using a ‘guess-and-check’ approach targeting poorly constrained geological anomalies and interpolating what may lie between drillholes. The deeper the industry is forced to search as near-surface resources are depleted, the less information they have to inform decision-making. It’s a high-cost, high-risk, low-certainty approach – this project will generate new research to improve business decision-making and business performance.” 

The research program runs through 2025, supporting three post-doctoral researchers and two graduate students, and involving close collaboration across the research team and industry – including Ideon Technologies and Australia-based mining tech company IMDEX. 

“This international research collaboration addresses the underlying problem of geological uncertainty,” adds Ideon CTO & Co-Founder Doug Schouten. “Using new subsurface intelligence to provide confidence in ore body characteristics, industry can better inform mine planning, extend mine life, leverage deposits previously considered inadequate, and achieve greater efficiencies across the entire mining value chain.” 

Ideon offers the only straight-line subsurface imaging technology available today, delivering the highest available resolution along with precise anomaly location information, at depths not supported by other subsurface geophysics methods. Muon tomography uses a passive and free energy source (cosmic rays from space), offers the ability to image in noisy or conductive environments, and captures data continuously – improving imaging results over time. The Ideon subsurface intelligence platform integrates proprietary detector hardware for downhole and in-mine deployment, imaging systems, multi-physics fusion and inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence to provide high-resolution 3D visibility underground and generate greater value through a holistic view of subsurface anomalies. 


About Ideon Technologies ( 

Ideon Technologies uses the energy from supernova explosions to image down to 1 km (0.6 miles) beneath the Earth’s surface. A spin-off from TRIUMF (Canada’s particle physics lab), Ideon is a world pioneer in cosmic-ray muon tomography. By transforming muon data into reliable 3D density maps, Ideon helps geologists identify, characterize, and monitor mineral deposits with confidence. This reduces risk and cost of traditional methods, while saving time, optimizing return, and minimizing environmental impact across the mining value chain. In turn, this is helping accelerate the world’s transition to low- impact mining and transform how companies find the critical minerals required to power the global shift to clean energy. 

About the partners

The Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) is a collaborative research venture with the minerals industry and UBC. The Bradshaw Research Institute for Minerals and Mining (BRIMM) connects scientists and engineers across UBC to promote cross-disciplinary research spanning the entire life cycle of mining, from early exploration to mine closure and rehabilitation. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance grants encourage university researchers to collaborate with partner organizations to generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada. IMDEX is a mining technology company that enables drilling contractors and resource companies to safely find, define and mine ore bodies with precision and at speed.