"Once this analysis is complete, users get back what Thor Kallestad, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, calls “real-time orebody imaging and knowledge.”
DataCloud, a developer of sensors and software to help guide mine operators’ decision-making around drilling and blasting, has raised $4 million in new financing to support the Seattle-based startup’s continued growth.
The company’s platform combines cloud-based software with connected sensors that are attached to drills and collect data as blast holes are drilled into the subsurface.
DataCloud’s software analyzes information gathered by the sensors, which can measure and detect things like density, faults, and fractures. Once this analysis is complete, users get back what Thor Kallestad, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, calls “real-time orebody imaging and knowledge.”
DataCloud’s customers include companies that mine iron, copper, cobalt, and other valuable metals, Kallestad says. One approach to this work involves blasting a long, narrow strip of rock—sometimes known as a rock bench—to extract valuable metals and minerals from it. With this approach, the goal is to blast ore—the fragments containing the desired metals—into small pieces to make it easier to extract metal from them. There’s no need to do so with so-called waste rock, which does not contain minerals in high enough concentrations to merit extracting them; miners blast that into large fragments.
The digital tools DataCloud sells are designed to help miners better estimate the amount and ideal placement of explosive material needed to separate ore from waste rock. A more effective blast can lower the cost of processing the fragments, Kallestad says.
DataCloud’s software can, for example, help users create and analyze maps and high-resolution images of rock formations. This information can help blast engineers and other users refine their blast plans for a given area, Kallestad says.