Marc is the director of Diversified Industries for ATB Business Banking. He has experience from real estate to diversified industries, with a focus on Alberta's tech industry.
GeologicAI: revolutionizing the mining industry with cutting-edge technology
GeologicAI is a technology company that aims to revolutionize how geologists work and discover more about our planet than ever before.
By February 2024 edition of Business in Calgary, and Business in Edmonton 2 February 2024 5 min read
In today’s tech-driven world, the mining industry is not being left behind, thanks to the innovative visionaries right here in Alberta behind the rapidly growing company GeologicAI. This is a technology company that aims to revolutionize how geologists work and discover more about our planet than ever before. They have developed proprietary core sample scanning hardware and AI technology to eliminate guesswork, improve workflow and make data analysis more efficient and accessible.
GeologicAI’s innovative technology encompasses a variety of automated tools designed to streamline the process of analyzing data in the mining and exploration industry. Each tool plays a crucial role in providing instant, on-site results, eliminating tedious manual data entry and replacing it with learning software that continually enhances the user experience.
One of the standout features of GeologicAI’s technology is AI-assisted core logging. This system leverages AI to predict assays, identify minerals and sulphides, map alterations and evaluate rock quality. The technology allows for virtually instantaneous results, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with traditional methods.
But the innovation doesn’t stop there. GeologicAI is committed to continuously building and refining their technology to advance the core scanning landscape further. Their ultimate goal is not just to assist geologists in their daily workflow but to also enable the mining industry to be more effective, efficient and eco-friendly.
The results of GeologicAI’s technology speak volumes about its value. By combining geologist expertise with AI, they have been able to produce virtually instantaneous on-site results, cutting time and costs on any project.
Grant Sanden, president, co-founder and CEO of GeologicAI says, “We saw new algorithms contributing to gas mining and resource extraction and the new AI data types that were available. The idea that you can improve geoscientist understanding and apply that to global resources was behind the decision to launch the business.”
Sanden has a background in auditing oil and gas resources on a global scale, which empowers the vision of GeologicAI to vastly improve mining methods worldwide. This is not just a dream or far-off reality. The adoption of GeologicAI’s tech has already been extremely rapid.
The future is now. GeologicAI’s tech has already reached the 8th largest iron ore smelting operation in the world. Sanden describes why this is so important.
“The automated technology we applied to iron ore smelting can reduce carbon dioxide output by 5.3 per cent. That sounds small initially, but carbon dioxide output from iron ore smelting accounts for a larger scale of emissions than all the vehicles combined on Earth. So, being able to reduce emissions from iron ore smelting is a significant contribution to the globe. Our tech is easily extrapolated to be beneficial in this way to all metals, including the smelting of copper.
When you consider the reduction of emissions on that scale, that is a massive win for the world – all due to technology.”
“The adoption is about as fast as it can be by major customers,” Sanden continues. “Technology adoption for industries like this can be slow, but many realize that how things are done in the field needs to change. In the future, instead of looking at rocks manually, they will be scanned.”
To get a grasp on just how fast GeologicAI is growing, consider these numbers: two years ago, the company had 24 employees. As December 2023 closed, that number was 183. In the next two years, 2,000 employees will be added to the brand.
“It’s alarming,” smiles Sanden. “It can be hard to keep a tight focus when you are growing at this rate, but it is necessary. We onboarded over 100 people last year alone, more than doubling our company. It’s not just a local expansion; we are expanding geographically too. We currently have three offices in Canada and are expanding to Australia, Santiago and Europe.”
The pace has been further enabled by key persons and acquisitions.
“Our lead investor, Mike Kelly, really gave us the advantage to get things in motion,” says Sanden. “Creative Destruction Labs is a major pivotable group that helped us move forward drastically. We are also incredibly grateful to Resource Mining Solutions and Chen Fong, Chris Rivest and the team of Breakthrough Energy.”
ATB supported GeologicAI’s vision early on in the tech company’s journey.
“Their approach was very personalised and gave us the ability to not only plan, but the flexibility to adapt the plan and unlock resources as we grew,” says Sanden. “ATB has done a wonderful job of working with us and getting us to where we are now and where will we be in the future. They are very thoughtful about all the things a global business requires.”
Does he feel that ATB is different from other banking institutions?
“Of course!” he says without hesitation. “ATB is Albertan! This bank has the mentality of supporting Alberta businesses and they have always been there for businesses that don’t necessarily fit standard molds.”
Albertans, he says, are anything but standard.
“People in this province are visionaries. A great deal of our success is connecting with people
who wanted to invest in us early on, help us with their vision and capital and help us grow. Alberta has a unique convergence of high technology and big industry. We have culture, energy and people that work hard to do new things. We have people taking risks in the oil patch and people willing to apply those risk models to technology. Alberta affords everyone a wonderful lifestyle.”
GeologicAI is changing the face of mining through technology and their dedication to progress has always attracted an ASTech Award for outstanding technology and science startup (2018).
Where do they go from here?
“We are looking at full-scale technology implementation at a global level, from scanning rocks
to optimization of plants and mines,” confirms Sanden.
The importance of GeologicAI's work cannot be understated. By making the process of data analysis more efficient and accessible, they are paving the way for more significant discoveries about our planet. Their technology not only improves the workflow for mining but also has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the Earth and how to better manage its resources.