"A mine in Africa is just as likely to demand autonomous trucks as one in Australia or Canada."
What role does Motion Metrics play in the mining industry?
Our vision at Motion Metrics is to inspire a new generation of safe, smart, and sustainable mining. Since 2004, we have leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision to design, develop and commercialize products that address tough problems in our industry and, today, these systems are used by more than 70 mines worldwide. Our products include missing tooth detection for shovels and loaders, payload monitoring for shovels, boulder detection for haul trucks, and fragmentation analysis for shovels, haul trucks, conveyor belts, and in a handheld format.
We are using our technology expertise to help mines meet their sustainability targets for energy consumption. It is well known that comminution consumes more than 50% of the total energy used in mine operations. Our mine-to-mill solution aims to reduce energy consumption during the size reduction process by at least 15%.
Another initiative that we are proud to support is the Rhino Gold Bar, which protects black rhinos. Canadian miner B2Gold is producing 1000 ounces of Namibian gold and donating the proceeds to finance community-led conservation efforts. At Motion Metrics, we are doing our small part in this initiative by purchasing 100 half-ounce gold bars – one for each of our employees.
Can you tell us more about the funding you were just awarded by the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) last month and how you plan to allocate it?
STDC is Canada’s largest funder of domestic clean-tech entrepreneurs and recently announced an investment of CAD $24.8 million in nine companies across Canada; Motion Metrics was the largest recipient in Canada, allocated CAD $5.6 million for a collaborative project that will be led by Motion Metrics and will last three and a half years. We will design, develop, and deploy a commercial mine-to-mill energy efficiency solution. Our goal is to target two main areas for improvement: eliminating waste and reducing energy consumption.
You just launched ‘TruckMetrics’. How does it help enhance particle size analysis?
TruckMetrics is a particle size analysis and boulder detection system for haul trucks. It uses distributed AI and a rugged stereo camera (designed in-house) mounted on a gantry above the mine road to monitor particle size and analyse the visible material in the truck bed. TruckMetrics detects visible boulders so that oversized material can be diverted from the crusher. We ran very successful trials of the product prototype with a large iron ore mining company in Western Australia.
Do you think Africa is ready to welcome the AI revolution in the mining industry?
I believe that technology is fairly independent of geography. The aim of technology is to improve efficiency and reduce operational costs. Infrastructure is needed to develop complex technologies, but not to implement them. For instance, some of the poorest countries in world have adopted some of the most sophisticated wireless technologies. A mine in Africa is just as likely to demand autonomous trucks as one in Australia or Canada. For example, one of our clients in South Africa (a large iron ore mine owned by Anglo American) is an early adopter of our most advanced technologies; in fact, the mine is working closely with us to deploy the first prototypes of our newest product on site in the coming month. We are thrilled to be working with the highly qualified people of this major mining company, and to create value for this site through the deployment of our products.