Group 6 Metals interested in Plotlogic’s ‘innovative’ OreSense technology as Western tungsten production reignites

Group 6 Metals (ASX:G6M) has labelled Plotlogic’s “innovative” OreSense technology as a ‘game-changer’ for the mining industry, and will begin investigating using the technology within the next 12-18 months. 

Plotlogic is looking to fuel reigniting Western tungsten production. The global technology firm is well on its way of advancing the mining industry to feed the energy transition and its ever increasing appetite for critical minerals commodities.

As a mining technology company, it has taken the mining industry by storm by signing 4 of the world’s top 5 mining companies over the past 12 months. It has also worked with mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) to raise $25 million in a capital raise to ‘turbocharge’ its international expansion.  

The OreSense technology produced by Plotlogic utilises a combination of advanced imaging and artificial intelligence (AI) to characterise ore in real time.

It provides much more accurate information than traditional mining methods and also enables mines to operate more efficiently with less wastage and environmental impact. 

The tech also has potential to extend life of existing mines and revive industries like the tungsten industry, which has lain dormant in Australia for over 30 years. Australian tungsten producer EQ Resources (ASX:EQR) is already utilising the technology to scan mountain tailings to aid in the recovery of tungsten, and clean-up its project site.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week (16-20 January 2023), BHP’s chief executive was reported as saying over the medium to long-term, the mining industry needs to get better at innovating and taking a bit more risk in deploying innovative technologies. He reportedly told the forum that such a move is the sort of breakthrough that will allow the sector to unlock more of existing resources more efficiently.

The importance of technology and innovation, including the rollout of Plotlogic’s technology, has also piqued the interest of another CEO.   

Group 6 Metals CEO Keith McKnight says he concurs with comments made by BHP’s chief regarding the future of mining, as the world continues its push for decarbonisation leading to the increase in demand for green energy commodities. 

Speaking to Mining.com.au, McKnight says the once dormant Western tungsten production industry is showing new signs of life, including its own Dolphin Tungsten Project in Tasmania. 

He says Plotlogic’s technology has potential to be a ‘game-changer’ for the mining industry, and that the company is interested in deploying this technology at some stage.

“I believe it could be a game-changer for the industry…it’s all about the turnaround of information and decision making”

“I believe it could be a game-changer for the industry…it’s all about the turnaround of information and decision making. If you are waiting 7 days for assay results, in that 7 days you have to operate without the knowledge needed to make decisions, but if you can get a turn-around of 24 hours, whether its exploration or in the mine plan, as long as it’s real-time data you can rely on, then you can make better informed decisions within a quicker time frame.

In the next 12-18 months I would like to have a look at this grade control technology as it could add a lot of benefit to the project. I really do see a benefit of receiving that real-time data in the pit and allowing the guys to get that information so they can make decisions. Also we can control the ore to optimise recovery through the concentrate plant as well, so this is something we want to look at over the next 12 months.” 

Group 6 Metals

Plotlogic is a global technology company that allows mine operators to precisely understand the location and material properties of every rock in a mine, in real-time. It has helped some of the world’s top mining companies utilise this precision ore-body knowledge to make better decisions, improve ore recovery, reduce dilution and enhance environmental and social governance performance.

OreSense is Plotlogic’s first commercial product, combining LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging technology with advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver highly accurate ore characterisation.

McKnight says the technology produced by Plotlogic delivers an opportunity for Group 6 Metals to seek material at or below the breakeven level of the project pits, and increase the overall recovery of ore at the project. 

“It has been dormant and we have seen a reigniting of Western tungsten production at the moment, with a few projects being slated for restart, including our own project which is one of the highest grade western deposits in the world.

I think the opportunity for us really is if you can get that in-pit real time grade control then you can get more accuracy in the grade of material you are recovering.

“another big opportunity for us is to potentially go after material at the breakeven level or below, which would increase your overall recovery of ore”

But also I think another big opportunity for us is to potentially go after material at the breakeven level or below, which would increase your overall recovery of ore. There could be material that is just sitting at cut-off or just under and with some additional knowledge of the pit you could make a real time decision to take that material, which you have already incurred mining costs for.

So, rather than leave it behind you could bring it to the mill and process it and make it profitable material. This would lower your overall cut-off and increase the amount of material that is currently in the mine plan. We can deploy this technology very quickly and start to get some real-time data once we begin mining.”  

Group 6 Metals notes it is currently undertaking a regional exploration program comprising 4-5 core holes, with completion expected in the next 5-6 weeks. 

McKnight reports the company is tracking ‘very positively’ against its timetable for concentrate production aimed for the end of March or beginning of April, and is primarily focused advancing the Dolphin project into operation before engaging in discussions with Plotlogic.   

“Our primary focus at the moment is getting the project into operation for the next 6 months and in parallel to that we can start the early stage engagement with the guys at Plotlogic.”   

Group 6 Metals is an ASX-listed resources exploration and development company focused on the redevelopment of its wholly owned Dolphin Tungsten Mine located on King Island in Tasmania, in order to value-add the concentrate for supply into the upstream tungsten industry. The project represents a ‘very high-grade’ deposit, and is described as one of the highest grade western deposits in the world.

Images: Group 6 Metals Ltd & iStock
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.