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March 4, 2024

Power Nickel CEO: Spacetech Brings Mineral Exploration’s Future into Focus

Have you ever lived through a paradigm shift? In our lifetime, there are countless examples of small, imperceptible changes over time eventually leading to a fundamental transformation in how we live and work. One day, a computer can barely fit in a 74 square meter room - then, the transistor and microprocessor were invented - and now we have supercomputers in our pockets. Decades of innovation in advanced space technologies, geoscience, and 3D data visualisation have intersected, sparking a long-awaited paradigm shift in mineral exploration.

Power Nickel, one of Canada’s leading exploration companies focusing on Nickel-Copper sulphide for EV batteries, is seeing the sustainable transformation of the exploration industry firsthand. By using Fleet Space’s groundbreaking satellite-enabled solution ExoSphere to accelerate their exploration efforts and deploy more sustainable, data-driven exploration strategies on their NISK territory in Quebec, Power Nickel is pioneering a path to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral Nickel mining operation.

Historically, the search for high-grade deposits has involved high volumes of exploratory drilling, which can be expensive, environmentally impactful, and often don’t produce economically viable results. “Before deploying a rig, we make every possible effort to validate the data we collect on a survey area,” said CEO of Power Nickel, Terry Lynch. “A key challenge is that there is such a wide variety of data inputs used by the industry - some of which can take a while to procure and don’t always integrate seamlessly with each other, causing friction in on-site decision making.”

CEO of Power Nickel, Terry Lynch

ExoSphere, Fleet Space’s end-to-end mineral exploration solution, leverages the company’s low Earth orbit satellite constellation and patented passive seismic array technology to deliver 3D subsurface models in days - radically reducing the time and resources it takes to find a potential deposit. As a result, ExoSphere is rapidly becoming an indispensable part of the exploration industry’s toolkit, with over 35+ companies - including Power Nickel, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, and Core Lithium - using the technology to complete hundreds of surveys across five continents. ExoSphere is also being deployed to support Power Nickel’s copper exploration projects in Chile.

A major challenge in the exploration industry is the operational delay caused by the time it takes to process survey data. The acquisition and processing of data from geophysical surveys can take months or years before they can be leveraged as part of an exploration campaign. This prolonged timeline inhibits field teams from making agile, data-driven targeting decisions on-site to rapidly hone in on new discoveries. As the global shortage of minerals - such as copper - needed to achieve net-zero widens and demand intensifies, tools that accelerate the exploration industry’s access to actionable data from their survey areas will become increasingly vital to humanity’s clean energy future.

“I view ExoSphere as a kind of operating system - where you collect the data from the Ambient Noise Tomography surveys, then correlate with a wide variety of other data inputs like, gravity, airborne EMP, drilling data, and other lithographic insight to enhance the accuracy of your drill targeting,” added Lynch. “And you can refine and update the model with new survey data across time as you continue to explore - this has greatly enhanced our ability to make faster, data-driven assessments on where to target our exploration programs.”

Access to low-carbon hydropower, a shallow mineral depth, established infrastructure around NISK, and commitment to ESG and sustainability give Power Nickel several advantages on the road to becoming a carbon-neutral Nickel mining operation. Combining these factors with the rapid 3D subsurface survey results and near-zero environmental impact of ExoSphere, Power Nickel is charting an inspiring course to deliver on their mission.

“Staying on the forefront of mining innovation is core to our work at Power Nickel. Becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral Nickel mining operation is an incredibly high-bar, but technologies like ExoSphere can help make it a reality,” added Lynch. “It’s an essential tool for us and I think it’s well on its way to becoming a universal tool across the industry.”

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