Prospect Mining Studio

Prospect Mining Studio, a partnership between Vimson Group and Newlab is a platform for applied innovation and investment across the metals and minerals mining value chain. We convene key global stakeholders across mining and adjacent industries to build, pilot, and scale transformational technologies against critical challenges for the production, supply and use of bulk and critical ores and metals, while advancing global energy and carbon reduction goals.

Studio Updates

Prospect Mining Studio recently launched an application, with a call to join our network of technology companies applying themselves to the mining industry. Our Studio is actively looking for startups innovating across the following three opportunity spaces:

  • Material Supply: Enabling the production and supply of ores and metals from primary and secondary resources

  • Material Sustainability: Reducing lifecycle emissions, energy and water consumption, and remediating the environmental impacts of mining

  • Material Co-development: Co-creating novel and diverse market applications for metals beyond traditional use-cases

Vivek Salgaocar, Director of Vimson Group and Co-founder of Prospect Mining Studio, was recently featured by the World Economic Forum, where he shared his views on the importance of innovation in bridging critical gaps across the mining industry. Read the article to learn more about how the need for innovation has motivated Prospect Mining Studio's mission.

We are open to working with technologies at any stage and encourage companies from adjacent industries to apply. Our team will work closely to help selected companies enter and scale in the mining industry by designing tailored support plans focused on technology development and commercialization, strategic connectivity within the industry, and investment.

BHP Partnership Updates

Prospect Mining Studio is collaborating with BHP on de-risking transformational technologies that precondition and fragment rock more efficiently and sustainably. We launched an Open Call in Q4 2022 and received a number of applications from startups working on novel ways of breaking rocks through mechanisms such as electro-pulse stimulation, thermal spalling, dielectric heating and electro-hydraulic fragmentation. In the first half of 2023, our focus is shifting to design experiments and pilot projects with a subset of startups to further understand their technical feasibility in the context of mining scenarios.

Ecosystem Announcements

AI-Based Autonomy: Exyn Technologies Closes $35 Million in Series B Funding

Exyn Technologies, a startup developing AL4-powered, fully-integrated autonomous aerial drone mapping platform, closed $35 million in its latest Series B round led by Reliance Industries Ltd.

RIL’s Subsidiary Acquires 23.3%  Stake in Exyn for $25M

Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Ltd (RSBVL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, acquired 23.3% stake in Exyn for $25 million. RSBVL and Exyn have also entered into a strategic partnership agreement for technology collaboration and commercialization of Exyn’s multi-platform robotic and autonomous system for complex, GPS-denied environments. Read more here.

Exyn and Trimble Collaborate on a Proof of Concept for a Fully Autonomous Surveying Solution for Construction

Trimble and Exyn announced a strategic collaboration to explore the use of autonomous construction surveying technology. The solution will integrate Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, the ExynPak powered by ExynAI and the Trimble X7 total station. It will enable fully autonomous missions inside complex and dynamic construction environments, which can result in consistent and precise reality capture for production and quality control workflows. Read more here.

Exyn Ranks No. 177 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 Annual List

Congratulations to Exyn for being ranked 177 on the 2022 Inc. 5000 Annual List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies!

SafeAI Raises $38 Million Series B Funding to Accelerate the Deployment of Autonomous Heavy Equipment

SafeAI, which retrofits construction and mining vehicles with aftermarket hardware and proprietary autonomy software, raised a $38 million Series B round with key investors including Builders VC, McKinley Management, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Energy Innovation Capital and Moog.

SafeAI and Obayashi Operate Autonomous Vehicle on a Construction Site in Japan

SafeAI, in partnership with Obayashi, hosted nearly 150 visitors to view its retrofitted autonomous Caterpillar 725, operating on a construction site in Japan for the first time ever. The demos, which took place over a two week period, brought together delegates from nearly 50 organizations across the construction industry ecosystem. In addition to winning buy-in from key stakeholders, the demos mark a critical first step toward securing approval from the government and industry organizations to bring autonomous construction to Japan. Read more here.

SafeAI, Siemens and Obayashi Collaborate to Bring Retrofitted Autonomous, Zero Emission Heavy Vehicles to Off-road Industries

SafeAI announced an agreement with Siemens to create an autonomous, electric fleet for Japan-based construction company Obayashi. SafeAI and Siemens will take a retrofit approach to enable Obayashi to scale faster with its existing fleet. This partnership is yet another sign of automated driving spreading into ever more nooks and crannies where vehicles operate. Read more here.

Cemvita’s Successful Field Test Demonstrates Gold Hydrogen Production in Situ

Cemvita Factory announced multiple developments with its Gold Hydrogen business. Cemvita defines Gold Hydrogen as the biological production of hydrogen in the subsurface through the consumption of trapped or abandoned resources. After achieving a key milestone in microbe performance required to produce hydrogen at $1/kg in the lab,  Cemvita successfully completed a field pilot program with positive results. Following successful field trial results, Cemvita has created a wholly owned subsidiary for the Gold Hydrogen business, Gold H2, and subsequently raised and closed funding into the entity, led by founding investors Chart Industries and 8090 IndustriesRead more here.

Cemvita Signs Strategic Partnership with Arizona Lithium for Lithium Extraction

Cemvita and Arizona Lithium, an Australian lithium mining company focused on the sustainable development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project, announced the signing of a broad letter of intent encompassing Cemvita installing a bio-lixiviant production facility at Arizona Lithium’s Lithium Research Center in Tempe, AZ. With this facility, Cemvita will perform pilot testing on both tank and heap bioleaching for lithium extraction from clay or sedimentary materials. Read more here.

Carbon Upcycling Awarded £2.3 Million to Manufacture Climate-Resilient Cement Alternative from Waste Glass and CO2

Carbon Upcycling, a carbon utilization company that produces CO2-enhanced cement and concrete additives, was awarded £2.3 Million from UK Research and Innovation to commence a commercial pilot that will sequester up to five tonnes of CO2 emissions per day produced from a post-consumer glass recycling facility while simultaneously utilizing 50 tonnes of colored glass waste.

Carbon Upcycling Participates in First-of-a-Kind Department of Transportation Low-Carbon Concrete Demonstration Project

Carbon Upcycling completed its installation in a demonstration project led by the National Road Research Alliance (NRRA). The project has selected an active section of highway road to trial 14 unique concrete mixtures, including Carbon Upcycling's CO2-embedded materials. The section of highway is located at the Minnesota Road Research Facility (MnRoad) in Albertville, MN. The NRRA and Mnroad have committed to a 3-year rigorous testing and data collection program to assess the different mixture designs, and the data will become publicly available to help inform future infrastructure procurement and material selection. Read more here.

Phoenix Tailings Receives US DoE Funding for ‘Carbon-Negative’ Tech Development

Phoenix Tailings was selected to receive $1.2 million from DOE's ARPA-E MINER program to extract nickel and magnesium from mining tailings using carbonization and recycled carbon dioxide.

Phoenix Tailings Receives the Startup Manufacturing Impact Award at Massachusetts Celebration of Manufacturing Event

Congratulations to Phoenix Tailings for receiving the Startup Manufacturing Impact Award at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub's 2022 inaugural Celebration of Manufacturing event!

Quidnet Energy to Receive $10M in Federal Funding to Commercialize Clean Energy Technology

Quidnet Energy was selected to receive $10 million from DOE's ARPA-E SCALEUP program to support its pumped hydro storage project for CPS Energy, the public power utility serving San Antonio, Texas.

Tomahawk Robotics Awarded $6.5M Contract with United States Marine Corps

Tomahawk Robotics announced the award of the Autonomy and Robotics Enhanced Multi-Domain Infantry Squad (ARTEMIS) program through the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL). The $6.5M award spans activities and deliveries scheduled from 2022 through 2024. The ARTEMIS program builds on capabilities delivered under Tomahawk Robotics' existing Radio Agile Integrated Device (RAID) contract with MCWL. With the ARTEMIS contract, Tomahawk Robotics will integrate six additional unmanned systems and several ground radios used by the US Marine Corps into the Kinesis Ecosystem. Read more here.

Muon Vision Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Muon Vision was awarded a NSF SBIR grant of $978,286 to continue R&D on its X-ray technology to measure bulk densities and monitor density changes over vast scales for mining operations.

Novamera Wins 2022 Canadian Innovative Initiative of the Year

Congratulations to Novamera, whose technology integrates downhole sensors into conventional drilling tools and enables them to precisely extract ore, for being named the sole recipient of the 2022 Canadian Innovative Initiative of the Year by the Tunnelling Association of Canada!

Industry News

BHP offered to buy Australian copper producer OZ Minerals for $6.4 billion right after Rio Tinto completed its long-drawn takeover of Canadian miner Turquoise Hill for $3.1 billion in December. In addition, BHP made an equity investment in, and entered into a collaboration agreement withI-Pulse to identify new applications for pulsed-power technology in a mining context.
Anglo American signed a binding agreement with First Mode to combine their efforts for the continued development of the nuGen hydrogen-powered, zero-emission haul truck. Anglo American is making an additional $200 million investment in the combined business.
Biden announced $2.8 billion in grants for 20 companies to domestically produce electric vehicle batteries and the minerals used to build them as part of a bid to wean the U.S. off supplies from China.
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