The Asia Miner

JAN-MAR 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 1 9 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS Emesent, a drone autonomy spin-out fromCSIRO's Data61, the technology arm of Australia's naঞonal science agency, has raised AU$3.5 million in venture capital to commercialise its first product, Hovermap. Main Sequence Ventures, which manages the CSIRO Innovaঞon Fund, led the funding round, along with long-ঞme Bechtel mining execuঞve Andy Greig. Developed by former researchers from Data61, Emesent's world-leading Hovermap technology automates the collecঞon of valuable data in underground areas too dangerous or difficult for people to survey or navigate, such as stopes or ore passes in mines. Drones installed with Hovermap can be deployed in GPS-denied environments without a human controller to create 3D maps, and record gas readings, videos and images. Hovermap draws on a decade of research by CSIRO's Roboঞcs and Autonomous Systems group into drone autonomy and 3D LiDAR-based simultaneous localisaঞon and mapping (3D SLAM) techniques. "Hovermap enables the mining industry to safely inspect inaccessible areas of underground mines while improving the type and quality of data collected to unlock new insights," Dr Stefan Hrabar, co-founder and CEO of Emesent said. "This includes comparing the stope design to the actual post-blast shape to detect over-break and under-break, idenঞficaঞon of geotechnical structures and accurate post- blast volume reconciliaঞons. "The data we gather improves a mine's producঞvity and provides a beer understanding of condiঞons underground, all without sending surveyors and miners into potenঞally hazardous areas." Before spinning out of CSIRO, Emesent established its leadership in this new category of automaঞng industrial operaঞons in the underground world. Last year, Hovermap enabled the world's first fully autonomous beyond line-of- sight drone flight in an underground mine, 600 metres below the surface of Western Australia. Emesent's Hovermap system is already being used commercially for a variety of applicaঞons by early adopters in Australia, the US, Canada, China and Japan. A new program targeঞng the underground mining sector has now been rolled out, providing early access to Emesent's mining-specific autonomy funcঞons to selected parঞcipants. "The investment will give us the opportunity to build out our team from seven to 25, and make Emesent a global leader in drone autonomy and automated underground data collecঞon and analysis," Dr Hrabar said. Queensland-based Emesent has also received support from CSIRO's ON Accelerator program. Both Main Sequence Ventures – CSIRO Innovaঞon Fund and ON are supported by the Federal Government's Naঞonal Innovaঞon and Science Agenda (NISA). Larry Marshall, CSIRO Chief Execuঞve, sees businesses like Emesent as a necessary step towards Australia realising its global digital innovaঞon potenঞal. "Emesent is an example of a company who has hit the innovaঞon sweet spot combining their deep domain experience in mining with digital experঞse," Dr Marshall said. "This has been harnessed by the environment we have created at CSIRO where deep science combines with innovaঞve ideas and agile minds to create game-changing technologies." Mike Zimmerman, Partner at Main Sequence Ventures, said Emesent is in a posiঞon to take on the global mining industry. "With a world-class technical team and unparalleled real- world flight experience, Emesent is poised to revoluঞonise the way data is gathered and used for the underground world. Although there are a number of compelling use cases today, there are many more to be realised, and we fully expect to see this technology become a mainstay in mines around the world," Mr Zimmerman said. The real-world applicaঞons of this technology extend beyond mining and can be integrated into industries such as underground rail and road transport, telecommunicaঞons, and disaster response. Emesent raises AU$3.5 million to unlock safer, more productive future for underground mines Emesent co-founders Stefan Hrabar and Farid Kendoul

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