Local ore upgrading technology startup gets funding

By Nelson Bennett
Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:54am PST

A local startup that has developed mining technology that sorts rock to eliminate lower quality metal ores has received series A funding from Vancouver’s Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital.

MineSense Technologies Ltd. has developed a sensor-based sorting system that helps eliminate lower-grade metal ores processed by mineral mines.

Chrysalix did not reveal how much the investment is worth.

Given that many mines have exhausted much of their higher quality ores, Chrysalix believes there could be a big demand for the MineSense technology, since it will eliminate a lot of the waste associated with processing rock with little or no metal ore in it.

The investment marks the first time Chrysalix has invested in a startup in the mining technology sector.

“Mining has always been a highly energy-intensive industry,” said Charlie Haythornthwaite, a partner at Chrysalix. “However, it faces mounting challenges with declining ore grades and less favourable ore bodies, further exacerbating energy use and squeezing margins.

“Now is a great time for Chrysalix EVC to identify step-change mining innovations and to help build some great companies. We hope MineSense will be the first of many mining technology investments.”

The MineSense system uses sensors that eliminate the need for barren rock to be processed.

“It’s about making every single rock count,” Haythornthwaite said.

Haythornthwaite said the technology could reduce costs for mining companies by 25% and increase revenue by 50%.