We are thrilled to be part of Québec Mining 2023 report!
Discover what Jean-Philippe Paiement, our Director of Global Consulting, shared with Global Business Reports during his interview in June 2023, which has been partially featured in the Québec Mining 2023 report.
Jean-Philippe shared key insights on Mira Geoscience’s contributions and commitment to the advancement of technology in the mining and mineral exploration industry, not only in Quebec but across the geoscience community worldwide.
Q: What has the market reaction been so far to Geoscience ANALYST ?
Jean-Philippe: Geoscience ANALYST is growing as we continue to facilitate access to this software solution among the geoscience community. Providing access to a wide range of inversion codes is a big advantage, as it enables geophysicists to test results from different sources and different technologies in one single 3D environment, empowering them to make better decisions.
There is ample research and development happening in academia, but oftentime these codes get lost as the person graduates. With our open-source data structure, GEOH5, and its connection to the Python ecosystem through GEOH5Py, we can integrate the latest inversion codes built through university research into our software. For example, all the SimPEG inversion codes that we have integrated over the past year have been performing well. So we continue to drive the usage of Geoscience ANALYST in universities, and being the only free data-science, AI-enabling geoscientific platform, with powerful visualization, open-source data structure and open-source Python API, it gives people no reason not to use the software. Ultimately, we want to enable the next generation of geoscientists to have access to the latest technology. Our solutions also enable geoscientists to do tasks more rapidly and efficiently, which is greatly beneficial at a time when we are experiencing labour shortages and high demand of natural resources.
Q: Can you explain what is Magnetic vector inversion (MVI) modelling?
Jean-Philippe: Magnetic vector amplitude inversion takes care of one of the big issues encountered with magnetic data, which is remanence. When ferromagnetic minerals are formed, they align with the magnetic field of the Earth before cooling down and capturing that orientation. This recorded remanent magnetization may or may not align with Earth’s magnetic field as geologic time passes. For a mineral formed when magnetic poles were reversed, its magnetic anomaly, as we observe it today, is distorted by its remanence. The associated anomaly may look like a magnetic low instead of a high or be shifted spatially thus affecting interpretation and modelling. Standard inversion codes assume magnetic remanence is non-existent, thus producing unrealistic models when the assumption is not true. To address this issue, we are inverting the magnetic intensity data for the magnetization vector distribution, representing both the amplitude and orientation of subsurface magnetic domains, rather than simply the subsurface magnetic susceptibility distribution. This can accommodate the remanence issues and allows for a better representation of the subsurface environment.
Q: What does demand look like for Mira Geoscience’s solutions in Québec?
Jean-Philippe: We are just concluding a two-phase project with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Québec to identify new lithium exploration targets in the James Bay area. We worked with publicly available data of the region to produce exploration features and a prospectivity map. We also had to do significant background research to determine how many features were optimal, what type of features we should feed into the algorithm, what was the best algorithm to use, and how to train it.
The market in Québec is healthy, and we are currently seeing growing interest for lithium and gold, as well as nickel and copper from exploration companies.
On the consulting side, we have seen a shift in companies from just looking for geophysical inversion to now looking for full integrated interpretation. Mira Geoscience provides multi-disciplinary data integration to produce 3D models that include all available data sources for interpretation, from drillhole, to geological mapping, geophysical, geochemical, and geotechnical data to provide the best outcomes for our customers’ needs. Our team of experts provides a wide range of services, such as geological interpretation and 3D modelling; advanced geophysical interpretation, modelling and inversion; mineral systems interpretation and targeting; geostatistics and machine learning; stratigraphic interpretation and modelling; and 4D geotechnical hazard assessment.
Q: How would you rate technological adoption in Québec?
Jean-Philippe: In Québec, technology adoption has been historically better than other jurisdictions in Canada and across the globe. There is also a great deal of education involved and there is often a generational factor involved. The younger generation now starting to move into C-suite roles are much more open to more advanced solutions, with a focus on increasing safety and productivity and reducing costs and environmental footprint.
Regarding the application of AI to the mineral exploration industry, we are working to ensure that it is used in the application that is meant for and not overselling it as a solution to all problems. Surely, implementing automation and technology advancements will benefit the mining industry, but there is still a great deal of intuition and creativity that goes with what we do as geoscientists. There still needs to be that artistic input in building a 3D model that we are not going to solve with automatic or generative AI methods for now.
Q: What are Mira Geoscience’s key priorities for 2023 and beyond?
Jean-Philippe: Mira Geoscience is working to expand our solutions for geologists within the Geoscience ANALYST environment. As mentioned earlier, we are also eager to continue enabling the free storage, sharing, and visualization of geological models and data through the GEOH5 open data structure.
Meet Jean-Philippe Paiement:
Jean-Philippe has more than 15 years of experience in mineral resource estimation for precious metals, base metals, and industrial minerals across diverse geological environments around the world, including expertise in geostatistics applied to structural, geological, and geochemical modelling and interpretation. He has developed multiple workflows and novel approaches to reduce risks in geological data interpretation. In 2016, Jean-Philippe won the Integra GoldRush challenge in the application of machine learning to mineral deposit targeting, pioneering the application of AI to the mineral exploration industry. Since then, he has pursued new applications of machine learning to overcome complex geological and geophysical challenges by combining geological knowledge with both supervised and deep learning.