World’s top VCs back Brisbane-based AI start-up to revolutionise mining

Four of the world’s top artificial intelligence (AI) focussed venture capital (VC) funds: Baidu Ventures, DCVC, 8VC, and Grids Capital have all invested in a highly over subscribed angel round of funding for Australian-based Plotlogic .

Plotlogic Founder and CEO Andrew Job

Plotlogic’s vision is to enable autonomous mining operations using precise grade control with their new AI ore-characterisation technology. Plotlogic aims to revolutionise the mining industry with technology that can “see” and grade ore to optimise operations and maximise yield.

Plotlogic uses artificial intelligence, computer vision and spectral analysis in real time to optimise the recovery of ore from mine sites. Accurate ore intelligence enables precision mining that lowers operating costs, minimises energy consumption and reduces operational uncertainty.

Precision mining with the help of technologies like Plotlogic’s OreSense have the potential to increase world-wide industry value by US$370 billion per year while reducing carbon emissions and improving the sustainability of mines over their life cycle.

Founder and CEO, Mr Andrew Job, a mining engineer who, after running large scale mines for over 20 years, is completing a PhD in hyperspectral imaging and robotics, said he knows first-hand that the industry is clamouring for better operational intelligence before, during, and after ore extraction.

“The mining industry is years behind other industries in utilising big data and AI: as a result, there is a lack of fast and accurate ore body knowledge that ultimately restricts yield. With our technology we can grade every tonne of ore accurately, before it even leaves the ground – driving efficiency, sustainability, and profitability. Plotlogic can optimise the mining process from pit-to-port with pinpoint precision,” Mr Job said.

The team behind the technology in addition to Mr Job include Dr Richard Murphy, one of the world’s leading experts in hyperspectral geology and Dr Michael Edgar, a highly experienced physicist and expert in optical sensors with experience spanning NASA and CalTech. Plotlogic has more than doubled its workforce since the start of the year, plans to double again before the end of the year, and once again next year.

“Being backed by the world’s top AI VC funds provides us with an exceptional pool of resources to help us scale-up, while also providing a huge endorsement for our business plan, vision and technology,” Mr Job said.

Research collaborations with the University of Queensland’s Smart Machines Group and the Mineral Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA) aided Plotlogic’s quick establishment as a leader in real time high precision ore mapping and modelling.

Mr Job said successful field trials with BHP Iron Ore, BHP Coal, AngloGold Ashanti and Citic Pacific Mining over the past 3 years have provided valuable learnings that improved the technology and value proposition of OreSense across iron ore, gold and coal sectors.

“Our technology has been purpose-designed and built from the ground to best meet industry requirements,” he said.

Plotlogic’s first contract to embed the technology into a mine site was recently secured with BHP Iron Ore in Pilbara Western Australia. Mr Job said this contract was a significant leap forward for Plotlogic and precision mining.

“The opportunity to partner with the world’s biggest mining company is instrumental to our collaborative approach in the development and implementation of new technology for the mining industry,” he said.

Recently, Plotlogic was announced winner of the Pitch Black competition (start-up category) at QODE – Queensland’s largest innovation and technology gathering for entrepreneurs, investors, business executives, start-ups and government, providing a strong endorsement from the Brisbane Tech community.

Mr Job said the future was looking extremely exciting for Plotlogic’s OreSense technology due to investor confidence, the Australian talent pool, the speed the technology is progressing, the highly skilled global expertise on board, along with successful field work and the first contract now signed with BHP Iron Ore.