BHP enters into collaboration to advance new applications of I-Pulse technology
I-Pulse Inc. and I-ROX SAS announced a comprehensive collaboration arrangement with BHP to identify and develop applications of pulsed-power technology across multiple aspects of the mining industry.
Earlier this year, I-Pulse and Breakthrough Energy Ventures-Europe announced the establishment of I-ROX, which is focused on demonstrating that short, high-intensity bursts of energy delivered using pulsed-power technology can quickly and efficiently shatter rocks and mineral ores. This process, which targets tensile weakness in rocks, could substantially reduce the time, energy usage and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions currently generated by critical mining activities. The crushing and grinding of ores is the most energy- and capital-intensive aspect of the entire mining process - it is estimated to comprise approximately 4 percent of all electrical energy consumption globally and more than half a typical mine's power usage.
BHP has entered into a collaboration agreement with I-ROX under which the companies will work together to seek to accelerate the development of I-ROX's technology and business, and BHP will be offered direct access to this potentially disruptive technology. BHP has also made an equity investment in I-ROX, joining I-Pulse and BEV-E as shareholders.
BHP has also made an equity investment in, and entered into a collaboration agreement with, I-Pulse to identify new applications for pulsed-power technology in a mining context. Within the mining industry, pulsed-power technology is currently deployed by I-Pulse's former subsidiary, Ivanhoe Electric Inc., in mineral exploration via its proprietary Typhoon system. Further opportunities to develop and commercialize pulsed-power-based applications include drilling, tunnel boring, blasting and explosives replacement.
These collaboration arrangements will link the mining and processing expertise of BHP with the pulsed-power technology and expertise of I-Pulse and I-ROX, in an effort to transform multiple aspects of mining with the potential for economic and environmental upside. This includes materially reducing GHG emissions associated with rock crushing.
“The collaboration with I-Pulse and I-ROX will contribute to our growing portfolio of options with potential to both improve the competitiveness of and help decarbonize our current business, and also to unlock new growth opportunities beyond those available today,” said Mike Henry, BHP's Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited by the opportunity to work more closely with I-Pulse and I-ROX and bring our own expertise to the relationship to together develop these solutions.”
Robert Friedland, Chairman of I-Pulse said, “I-Pulse technologies offer transformational improvement potential in so many aspects of life. Pulsed power could enable significant energy savings in mining and manufacturing, as well as opportunities in relation to geothermal energy. The Typhoon system is being applied to precisely locate ore bodies and groundwater.
“BHP’s investment and our collaboration offer a meaningful step forward in the development and commercialization of I-Pulse technologies for the mining industry and particularly in relation to the prospect of the crushing and grinding of rocks for a fraction of today's energy consumption, environmental impact and costs.”