Nfld. & Labrador

Paradise mining tech company's focused approach breaks new ground — and wins big prize

Acoustic Zoom's portable technology for seismic imaging that helps mining companies decide where to drill won an industry prize in Toronto.

Acoustic Zoom won the Disrupt Mining 2018 competition earlier this month

A screenshot of animation explanation the seismic imaging technology that won Acoustic Zoom the top prize at Disrupt Mining 2018 in Toronto. (Acoustic Zoom/YouTube)

A local mining company's recent win at an international competition could open it up to new national and international markets. 

Acoustic Zoom, a mining technology company based in Paradise, won top honours at the Disrupt Mining 2018 competition in Toronto on March 4. 

They won thanks to a new approach to high-frequency, 3D seismic imaging that improved on last year's competition entry, which got them to the semifinals.

From left: Jacques Guigné, Acoustic Zoom's CEO; David Garofalo, CEO of Goldcorp; and Gary Dinn, Acoustic Zoom's vice-president of marketing. (CNW Group/Goldcorp Inc.)

"We really, no pun intended, broke some new ground here," Gary Dinn, vice-president of marketing for Acoustic Zoom, told On the Go on Friday about the tech firm's unique approach to mining exploration.

A cheaper and more environmentally sound way to explore

Acoustic Zoom says their approach to seismic imaging is a less expensive and more environmentally friendly way for mining companies to explore underground mineral deposits. 

The approach was refined ahead of Disrupt Mining 2018 to focus on existing drill hole sites, which means the core sample from drilling can be compared to the seismic imaging that results from using their portable geophones technology at the drill site.

"By moving the source around and recording signals on those geophones that are down in the drill hole, we can put together a full data set that's then taken offsite and processed with our computer cluster, which is located in Paradise," Dinn said.

Companies can use that information to compare to their own geologically modelling of the site and to image the deposits in the area, which helps them decide where drilling will ultimately be successful.

"Because we have the physical assay result from the core they recover from the drill, anything we find can be directly correlated from the real mineral content from any given location down in the earth," Dinn said. 

"That will open us up to both national and international markets"

Sharing that approach with the judges and attendees at Disrupt Mining, which is hosted by gold mining company Goldcorp, was a great opportunity to present their work, which has led to 10 patents awarded to Acoustic Zoom since its founding in 2010, Dinn said.

Once Acoustic Zoom was named as one of four finalists for this year's competition, a crew from Ontario came to the province to shoot a video about the company and its technology. Representatives from Acoustic Zoom then travelled to Toronto to present their idea in front of five judges and a few hundred mining executives, the night before the beginning of the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference.

If things work out as Dinn expects they should, the win also means a possible $1-million equity investment via Goldcorp, which will allow Acoustic Zoom to demonstrate their technology on the corporation's properties around the world.

"That will open us up to both national and international markets for the technology," Dinn said.

But attending Disrupt Mining, and ultimately coming out victorious, has already paid off for the Newfoundland company. 

"This is really media exposure that no small company could ever hope to achieve on its own," Dinn said of the competition. "It's an exposure of our ideas to the industry that we would never achieve any other way."