Calgary-based mining tech startup GeologicAI has secured $30 million USD in Series A funding from Bill Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to help meet the rising demand for critical minerals.
Using proprietary core sample scanning hardware, advanced machine vision, and artificial intelligence (AI), GeologicAI aims to help mining and exploration firms search beneath the ground and gather data more efficiently than traditional core logging methods.
“We believe that improved geological understanding is the point of maximum benefit for a more efficient, environmental, and economical mining industry.”
– Yannai Segal, GeologicAI
GeologicAI plans to use this Series A funding to develop and scale its fleet of AI-powered robot geologists and establish a global footprint.
“GeologicAI has spent the last few years proving out its technology across a variety of mineral types and geologic environments, with both junior and major mining companies, and throughout the exploration, development, and operating segments of the mining ecosystem,” GeologicAI chief strategy officer Yannai Segal told BetaKit. “We’ve now demonstrated success with many customers and are ready to bring this much-needed technology to mining companies across the world.”
Founded in 2013, GeologicAI provides “rock analytics for modern mining.” The startup aims to streamline the often tedious, manual data-entry-heavy core logging process with its hardware and software solutions, enabling geologists to focus more on analysis.
“We believe that improved geological understanding is the point of maximum benefit for a more efficient, environmental, and economical mining industry, and that multi-sensor machine vision is the best way to better understand rocks,” Segal said.
Leveraging AI, robotics, and advanced sensor tech, GeologicAI uses high-resolution imaging, XRF, and hyperspectral data to analyze rock samples and identify resources below the Earth’s surface, with the goal of helping clients make better decisions about where to explore and how to design and operate mines The startup claims its tech is already being used by “some of the world’s leading mining and exploration companies.”
GeologicAI’s all-equity Series A round initially closed in May, with $20 million USD from BEV. The startup later extended this round with another $10 million from EDC. Segal declined to disclose the company’s valuation. The latest financing brings GeologicAI’s total funding to approximately $43 million.
The firm’s Series A funding comes as the world faces a looming critical mineral supply shortage. The World Bank Group has estimated that the production of critical minerals must increase by nearly 500 percent—or three billion tons—by 2050 in order to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies.
“Without sufficient quantities of key minerals like copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium, the transition to a clean energy economy simply cannot happen,” Carmichael Roberts, co-lead of BEV’s investment committee, said in a statement. For his part, Roberts believes GeologicAI’s tech has the potential to “significantly accelerate key mineral discovery and recovery.”
Segal argued that BEV’s investment “confirms GeologicAI’s cleantech bona fides,” and the role the startup could play “to help supply the world with the mined battery and base metals and minerals desperately needed to enable the clean energy transition.”
The chief strategy officer expects BEV to provide “enormous expertise and support” to GeologicAI as it pursues international expansion, as well as “valuable connections” through its more than 100 portfolio companies and global relationships.
GeologicAI currently operates in mining centres in Canada, the United States, and South America. According to Segal, many of the startup’s clients have a global footprint and plan to deploy GeologicAI’s tech in Australia, Northern Europe, and the Middle East “in the coming year.”
UPDATES: This story was updated on July 5 to include responses from GeologicAI chief strategy officer Yannai Segal and Sept. 27 to note that Geologic AI had secured an additional $10 million USD in Series A funding from EDC.
Feature image courtesy GeologicAI.