New technology helps explorers see through the rock

LKAB, Minalyze AB and Sentian join forces in a consortium to develop the technology for scanning drill cores. With artificial intelligence, large amounts of data can be processed - and even help geologists draw conclusions about what is outside the boreholes.

In March 2020, LKAB started a test with the drill core scanner Minalyzer CS where the goal was to improve the workflow for core logging, ie how the results of exploration drilling are analyzed. The test led to a permanent installation in Kiruna and expansion to Malmberget where data from Minalyzer CS is used to help geological logging of the drill cores.

The consortium will take the use of data to the next level when boreholes in LKAB's deposits are to be investigated. The AI ​​application makes the analyzes much faster, the time to evaluate a drill core will be reduced from weeks to minutes, with increased accuracy. The technology development driven by the consortium will be the world's first of its kind and will change the entire industry.

- With the collaboration, the core logging takes a big step through machine learning and artificial intelligence. The geologist can at an early stage place greater focus on the parts of the core that show chemical or other changes. Opportunities are opened up to gain increased knowledge about ore formation processes and alterations in a completely different way than before.  One can also get indications that you are close to a mineralization and where it may be located and thereby streamline exploration, says Jan-Anders Perdahl, specialist at LKAB's exploration department.

The technological leap will give LKAB's staff increased competence, increased quality in and efficiency of the work as well as reduced need for other analysis methods.

- We are at an interesting time when the hardware to extract consistently high-resolution data from drill cores is available and we can now take the next step and generate value from data together with our customers. In this collaboration, we will develop algorithms that can map rock layers in so-called lithological logs with very high confidence. This can only be done by combining expertise from all three parties. The results from our collaboration will forever change how drill core logging takes place everywhere and will result in a more efficient, non-subjective and consistent process, says Annelie Lundström, CEO of Minalyze AB.

- We see great power in the application of modern AI to data from the mining industry and there is major potential in further combining our machine learning technology with Minalyze's unique capabilities in data collection and analysis, says Martin Rugfelt, Sentian CEO.

  • LKAB is a state-owned Swedish mining company and a global supplier of specialized iron ore products.
  • Minalyze AB develops innovative drill core scanners and software for access to unique generated data.
  • Sentian is a Swedish Malmö-based company specializing in industrial AI. Sentian applies AI to challenging problems in the mining, manufacturing, energy and process industries as well as staffing and route optimization.

Contact: Anders Lindberg, Group Media Relations Manager at LKAB, Tel: 46 (0)980 783 55. E-mail:anders.lindberg@lkab.com

LKAB is an international mining and minerals group that offers sustainable iron ore, minerals and special products. We are committed to developing carbon-free processes and products by 2045, leading the transformation of the iron and steel industry. Since 1890 we have developed through unique innovations and technological solutions and are driven forward by more than 4,500 employees in 12 countries. In 2020, the LKAB group had sales of about SEK 34 billion. 

www.lkab.com