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This week, Australian deep-tech mining startup Plotlogic announced the successful raise of a $18 million Series A venture capital round. The round was led by Innovation Endeavors, the Palo Alto-based VC fund started by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Other participants included BHP Ventures, the internal venture capital division of mining giant BHP; Touchdown Ventures, the venture arm of mining software company Bentley; along with existing investors DCVC, Baidu Ventures and GRIDS Capital.

Plotlogic says it plans to put the fresh capital toward additional research and development, commercialization, and support of its flagship technology, OreSense.

“The mining sector is hungry for solutions that improve safety, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and improve profitability. And that’s exactly what Plotlogic delivers with our innovative technology,” Plotlogic CEO and co-founder Dr. Andrew Job said in a comment on the round. “Mining is a critical industry, so we’re passionate about helping make mining processes the best they can be, and we’re thrilled to be supported by so many stakeholders who share our vision to make mining more sustainable.”

Founded in 2018 in Brisbane, Plotlogic helps mine operators increase output and reduce waste by identifying the location and material properties of every rock in their mine. OreSense, the company’s first commercial product, combines LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging technology with advanced machine learning algorithms to deliver highly accurate ore characterization in real time. By making the mining process more precise, this technology also has the potential to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with resource extraction. Plotlogic says its technology is already being deployed by many of the world’s leading miners, including BHP, Anglo American and Glencore.

The company has pioneered research in collaboration with the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) using scanned visible and infrared light readings filtered through AI algorithms to classify mining material as either ore or waste rock. While mapping ore grades in real-time allows the mining process to be planned out before digging has an immediate use case in terms of greater mining efficiency and sustainability, the technology could eventually be used as a foundation for autonomous mine systems. 

“We’re thrilled to partner with a team that both knows mining inside and out and is ready to revolutionize the industry with technology,” said Innovation Endeavors Partner Sam Smith-Eppsteiner. “By bringing a new data modality to bear, Plotlogic generates precise, real-time, and predictive ore body knowledge. Early customer relationships underscore the value of such improved understanding: optimized operations, reduced carbon emissions and waste, and increased access to minerals critical to the energy transition like nickel, copper and manganese. We’re keen to see Andrew and the team scale their impact with this round of financing.”

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