"There is a noticeable change taking place in Québec's mining sector, with an increased interest in exploring new technologies and fostering innovative thinking."
What areas currently drive the most interest for Abitibi Geophysics’ services?
In 2022 and 2023, we experienced significant activity and a notable shift toward work related to critical minerals exploration. Companies that traditionally focused on gold are now turning their attention to lithium, as well as other critical metals like copper and nickel. This change has influenced our geophysical methods. Electromagnetics, particularly for base metals like copper, nickel, and zinc deposits, has been in high demand, while induced polarization has been commonly used for disseminated deposits like gold. We have also witnessed an increased demand for microgravity surveys and airborne drone magnetics.
How does Abitibi Geophysics determine the best approach to tackle projects?
We transitioned to Aerovision around 2015. Nowadays, we primarily focus on OreVision 2D & 3D IP and DasVision, which is a technique utilizing the distributed array system for a real 3D acquisition. This method has gained increasing popularity, especially in gold properties. Another popular technique is InfiniTEM, a loop configuration used in Time domain Electromagnetics methods, which are effective depending on the survey's geometry and configuration. For each project, we carefully consider the orientation and deposit type to determine the best approach. There is a noticeable change taking place in Québec's mining sector, with an increased interest in exploring new technologies and fostering innovative thinking.
Why do so many innovative solutions burgeon in Québec?
The rich geological history and abundance of mineral resources have been driving factors for the prominence of mining in the region. The Abitibi region, with its century-old gold mines, has established a strong mining heritage. The availability of skilled personnel for exploration and mining has been a result of this historical foundation. Additionally, Québec has a favorable jurisdiction and has made efforts to attract foreign investors, leading to an active presence of mining claims. The government has also invested in surveys and mapping projects, with organizations like SOQUEM contributing valuable data. The accessibility of public information through government platforms further enhances Québec's appeal as a hub for technical expertise. Recognizing the importance of community engagement, we actively participate in initiatives to connect with local communities and schools, not only in Québec but also in Thunder Bay where we have an office. Ensuring community awareness and involvement has become increasingly vital, and we actively promote the mining sector while engaging with diverse local stakeholders.
Will Abitibi Geophysics prioritize a specific direction to maintain a balance among different commodities?
Maintaining diversification is crucial in the mining industry due to its cyclical nature. While lithium may currently be in high demand, we cannot predict what will happen in the next 5 to 10 years if a new alternative for batteries emerges, potentially causing a significant drop in lithium demand. Therefore, it is essential for us to adapt and stay updated with evolving technologies while not neglecting other methods. We prioritize diversifying our offerings to ensure that we can provide clients with the best available method. Similarly, the volatile nature of commodity prices emphasizes the importance of flexibility and being prepared for uncertain market conditions in the future.
What are the key milestones and objectives that you aim to achieve within the next 12 months?
In the near term, one of our significant upcoming developments is working on our borehole TDEM offering. Based on the development of the ground ARMIT probe, we have developed a Borehole ARMIT probe for Time-Domain EM (TDEM) that simultaneously measures the B-field and dB/dt, setting it apart from existing market offerings that typically employ separate sensors for each. This innovation allows for improved measurements where the conductivity is variable from very good conductor to poor conductor. Additionally, the sensor's noise level has proven to be significantly lower than what is currently available on the market. This sensor marks the culmination of a three-year research program and will soon be available to our clients.
Simultaneously, we are engaged in a research project focused on enhancing our Induced Polarization (IP) methods. This involves rethinking all aspects, including more efficient injection techniques, developing a greener battery-operated transmitter, and improving inversion processes to deliver more accurate results. Collaboration with educational institutions allows us to integrate artificial intelligence into our processing, further enhancing our capabilities. We continually strive to push the boundaries of research and innovation.