SBQuantum and Silicon Microgravity use quantum sensing for mineral exploration

SBQuantum, the first company developing diamond quantum magnetometers to accelerate…

SBQuantum, the first company developing diamond quantum magnetometers to accelerate critical minerals exploration, has created a new partnership with Silicon Microgravity, a disruptive technology company developing innovative inertial and gravity sensors.

Together they will develop a drone-based system of sensors combining magnetics and gravimetry to accelerate the location and analysis of underground mineral deposits. This joint approach will significantly reduce the time and capital required for locating and analysing deposits in the field, while also improving 3D geological readouts.

“It is of paramount importance for SBQuantum to both develop international partnerships as well as diversify our sensing stack to improve hit rates for mineral drilling. This project with Silicon Microgravity accomplishes both … and we’re eagerly looking forward to deploying this hardware in the field,” said David Roy-Guay, CEO and cofounder of SBQuantum.

This technology can detect strategic minerals such as cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, platinum, rare earths, and others. Whereas conventional magnetic field maps provide limited data regarding 3D depth information, this new, combined approach overcomes this issue, allowing users to see the geology in 3D after a single survey and with at least 30% greater resolution than the current industry standard. In turn, this may reduce the need to move heavy equipment and personnel around remote areas, fast-track drilling operations, and provide a higher hit rate, all of which drives down costs.

“We’ll be combining two key geophysical surveying methods, gravimetry and magnetics, to quickly identify promising mineral deposits. Based on these complementary techniques, we anticipate accelerating the discovery of many of the 300 to 500 new strategic mineral deposits required to move the global energy transition forward,” added Francis Neill, CEO and Director of Silicon Microgravity.

The Quantum Accelerated Mining Exploration project, or QUAMINEX, is being partially financed by the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom, which have contributed $500,000 and £414,000, respectively. SBQuantum’s funding comes from Canada’s IRAP program, as part of the National Research Council’s grants for Canada-U.K. collaborations using quantum technologies. Silicon Microgravity’s funding was courtesy of U.K. Research and Innovation, which is funding the British part of these transatlantic collaborations.

The project, which will take 18 months to complete, also represents the first deployment of a diamond-based quantum magnetometer on a drone. Both partners are currently optimizing the positioning of their sensors on the drone for maximum efficiency. Once the equipment is ready, testing will begin in a remote area of Canada.

This project is one of several Canada-U.K. partnerships, for which the U.K. government has invested over £4 million, along with Canada’s $5.1 million to strengthen collaborative research and development, as well as develop quantum technologies ready for real-world commercial use.

SBQuantum is based in Sherbrooke, Que. Visit the company’s website for more information.

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