To meet rising demand spurred by the transition to net zero, the mining industry is under tremendous pressure to produce more metal. However, the industry is struggling to overcome obstacles including less frequent discoveries of large-scale deposits, rising environmental requirements, longer permitting times and difficulty raising capital.
However, there is roughly $6 trillion of in-situ value in smaller-scale deposits globally that because of their size and shape are left unmined. If we could economically mine these deposits, it would open a new source of metal that the world desperately needs. The key to unlocking these deposits is to have a capital efficient mining methodology that leverages data and real-time orebody visibility to precisely target ore while minimizing waste.
Novamera’s game-changing Surgical Mining Technologies provide increased orebody knowledge and precise methods of ore extraction to overcome the barriers that have kept small deposits from being mined in the past. Using hardware and software that integrates into conventional drilling equipment, Novamera’s solutions provide a low-CAPEX, agile and fast mining alternative, with minimal footprint and no blasting.
Dustin Angelo and Allan Cramm were at Anaconda Mining, a Junior mining company in Newfoundland that had a high-grade deposit that sat on the periphery of their open-pit operation. Always looking to increase production, the two set out to find a solution to economically extract the small-scale gold deposit. In 2020, the two spun-off the technology and co-founded Novamera.
Since its successful proof of concept in 2021, Novamera has grown rapidly, secured early customers/projects, and built a powerful team to further develop their technologies. They are getting ready for Series A funding in early 2024 to support their next phase of growth to commercialization in 2025.
It was a delightful experience conversing with Dustin Angelo, Co-Founder and CEO, and Allan Cramm, who is the Co-Founder and VP of Innovation. Following is the Q and A.
Novamera’s Surgical Mining provides an economic and fast solution for small-scale deposits that are uneconomic using conventional methods.
Could you provide a brief explanation of the smart mining solutions that Novamera offers?
Novamera has three core solutions that provide action-able real-time data, greater orebody visibility, and higher efficiency in mining. When they are combined, they enable the unique Surgical Mining Cycle.
• Guidance Service- Includes our proprietary Guidance Tool, and orebody visualization software. The tool integrates into a conventional NQ Diamond Drill Rig and maps the orebody in 3D. This level of visibility is incredibly valuable allowing us to see the detailed orebody geometry with extreme accuracy. This data is then used to plot the optimal trajectory for the Smart Drilling equipment. This solution can also be used to define the orebody with a higher level of accuracy with less drilling.
• Smart Drilling System- Includes two innovative pieces of hardware including a Positioning Control System and Course Correction Device to keep the drill on target to reduce waste. Combined with predictive steering and analytics, the solution reduces dilution and provides real-time data or faster decision-making using the Surgical Mining Software.
• Surgical Mining Software- Provides a holistic view of the entire project from mine planning to production, allowing mining companies to visualize and continuously optimize their project, using an intuitive dashboard.
What is the main area of focus for Novamera? How does the company address major challenges associated with current mining methods?
There are currently trillions of dollars’ worth of deposits that are left unmined because of their shape and geometry. This is because traditional mining methods focus on large-scale deposits and economies of scale due to the extensive capital required. For every large deposit, there are hundreds of small deposits worldwide that cannot be mined economically and are simply left behind. If we could unlock them, we could meet the looming supply gap and get the metal we need for NetZero.
Novamera’s technology allows us to surgically extract these smaller-scale deposits and leave the waste in the ground- turning stranded deposits into highly profitable reserves.
Our suite of technologies solves a lot of the big challenges with current mining methods-including waste, environmental footprint and social disruption. Novamera’s Guidance Tool can quickly and accurately define the orebody and its smart drilling technologies use that high-definition data to target ore- and leave the waste in the ground. This means we produce 95% less waste, half the GHG emissions with minimal environmental disruption.
Overall, the solution requires a smaller physical footprint, particularly compared to open pit mining. Our technologies enable mining companies to use conventional drilling equipment to extract ore, which eliminates the need for blasting and greatly reduces noise and dust pollution making it a more attractive mining method near communities.
In addition, since Surgical Mining can unlock smaller-scale deposits, it opens the opportunity to create mines in places where it was not possible before. This can add economic activity to an area and provide jobs, which in turn will have a positive impact on social and health-related outcomes. In more remote areas, this could have a greater influence on indigenous communities who are typically the ones living in these areas.
“Our innovative Surgical Mining Technologies combine proprietary hardware and software to leverage, real-time data, machine learning, and analytics to identify, navigate and quickly extract smaller-scale deposits.”
What makes your company unique compared to others in your industry? How do you ensure that you stay ahead of the competition?
Novamera’s Surgical Mining provides an economic and fast solution for small-scale deposits that are uneconomic using conventional methods. The low CAPEX and small footprint solution provides a more attractive alternative, particularly for Junior Miners who can generate cash flow quickly without having to rely on the capital markets. The solution eliminates blasting, making it more attractive to local communities, to potentially shorten permitting timelines. Lastly, there is minimal water discharged into the environment reducing the long-term and costly liability that is often associated with conventional mining methods.
Novamera is the market leader in this transformative new mining method. Our suite of hardware, software and processes are protected by numerous patents, alongside proprietary algorithms.
What is your perspective on the future of the industry? How does Novamera fit in that future?
The world needs more metal- and fast. We believe the future needs an alternative to traditional open-pit and underground mining that is data-driven, faster to production and less environmentally damaging. With Novamera’s technologies, it is now possible to unlock smaller-scale deposits that are uneconomic because of their size and shape. Using the suite of Surgical Mining Technologies these could be extracted using standard drilling equipment, with a smaller footprint and 95% less waste. Moreover, the CAPEX required is significantly lower, allowing mining companies to raise capital and move into production faster.
Smaller, flexible, and faster solutions are going to be the key to unlocking new opportunities in the mining sector.
About Dustin Angelo
Dustin brings decades of experience in mining, capital markets and business strategy. Prior to co-founding Novamera, Dustin was President, CEO and Director of Anaconda Mining and was responsible for expanding operations and building a profitable, sustainable company while also building a culture of innovation and environmental stewardship. He graduated from Georgetown University and received his MBA from Columbia Business School.
About Allan Cramm
Allan Cramm is a Co-Founder and VP Innovation, he has over 35 years of managerial and operating experience in the mining industry. He is known for his innovative approach to tasks and was previously the Vice President of Innovation and Development at Anaconda Mining. Allan has also held positions as General Manager at Nugget Pond and Hammerdown mines in Newfoundland. Recognized as innovation leader-inducted into the International Mining Hall of Fame in 2018