Talon Metals Corp partners with Fleet to pilot satellite-enabled mineral exploration technology
Talon Metals Corp. and Fleet Space Technologies have agreed to pilot Fleet’s ExoSphere rapid mineral exploration solution at Talon’s exploration projects in Minnesota and Michigan. Talon is exploring for high-grade nickel deposits in the United States to supply the domestic battery supply chain with nickel and other battery materials required in the energy transition.
“We are excited to work with Fleet to pilot their impressive advanced seismic tomography approach to mineral discovery and pair it with our in-house exploration teams’ unique approach to finding more high-grade nickel in the United States,” said Henri von Rooyen, CEO of Talon. “Fleet’s technology has the potential to deliver two tantalizing results for geologists like our team of proven “nickel hunters”: speed and accuracy. Increased accuracy means less disturbance of the earth as compared to conventional exploration practices. Speed means a faster path to discovering the metallic minerals like nickel that society needs for the energy transition.”
Fleet’s ExoSphere technology scans the ground using an advanced seismic tomography technique, called Ambient Noise Tomography (ANT), where highly transportable ‘Geode’ devices listen to faint background vibrations from natural and man-made sources. The data is then processed rapidly and transmitted from anywhere in the world through Fleet’s constellation of low earth orbit satellites, recently launched by SpaceX.
“Our satellite enabled earth sub-scanning technology will play a vital role in securing the U.S. mineral supply chain quickly, sustainably and less expensively. Fleet is excited to be working with Talon to pilot our ground-breaking exploration technology in North America,” said Matt Pearson, Chief Exploration Officer & Co-Founder, Fleet Space Technologies. “With Fleet’s ExoSphere technology, we are able to easily scan the earth in 3D, faster and with less environmental impact than ever before possible. This cleaner, faster and more flexible approach to exploration answers the urgent global need to find the minerals and metals required in the energy transition. ExoSphere is supporting the world’s transition to more sustainable practices by speeding up vital mineral discoveries more than one hundred-fold.”
Fleet’s rapid exploration solution (ExoSphere) enhances drill program accuracy by scanning a target area with advanced, low-impact ground sensors (Geodes) connected through Fleet’s low-power satellite network. Fleet’s Geodes are up to 10-times more sensitive than existing nodal geophones, which increases accuracy and depth of results. The geodes are hand transportable by small teams at surface, are battery powered and can be moved as data is received and new targets are identified. Each wireless, battery-operated Geode contains a sophisticated processing unit, satellite transmitter and seismic sensor. The Geodes use the principles of seismology to map the properties of the Earth’s subsurface from faint background seismic waves - a process known as Ambient Noise Tomography (ANT). Once sufficient ANT data is gathered, Geodes partially process the raw information on site, reducing the data requirement for transmission. The data from each Geode is rapidly processed and can deliver a full 3D visualisation of the subsurface down to 2 km depth. A clear, rich image of what resources may be below ground can be generated in as little as four days.Using a bespoke Fleet-developed system, these visualisations are accessible to view and export anywhere on earth in near real-time. The speed of this imaging now means that thousands of square kilometres of area can be imaged in a fraction of the time of traditional ground-based methods that would currently require drilling rigs to be moved into place.
The data collected from the in-field Geodes is securely pushed to Fleet’s network of low-power small satellites. The satellites then send the data to ground stations to process data using Fleet’s proprietary processing systems delivering a 3D visualisation of the area to support critical exploration decisions. This in turn allows teams of geologists like Talon’s team of in-house “nickel hunters” to make informed decisions on areas of interest much faster than traditional methods.