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Compact X-Ray Fluorescence borehole probe for uniquely flexible, efficient and complete underground material analysis

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IBERIA XRF (Compact X-Ray Fluorescence borehole probe for uniquely flexible, efficient and complete underground material analysis)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-05-31

In mining, environmental and geologic research, exploration investigations are frequently accompanied by large scale drilling and blasting to extract large samples of material. This material then needs to be transported to laboratory facilities in order to investigate the chemical composition. The entire process is expensive and time consuming, and involves a significant amount of environmental damage.
Exploration activities can take up to a full decade to complete, and cost on average over €15 million per site. Additionally, the information gathered does not necessarily lead to a discovery of valuable minerals, while often resulting in contamination, negative impact on landscape and ecosystem, as well as friction with the local population.
To minimize exploration impact and maximize efficiency and flexibility, we aim to commercialize a miniaturized probe that uses X-Ray Fluorescence analysis to determine with outstanding accuracy the ground’s composition along small, low-impact boreholes. The probe does not require radioactive sources, directly collecting precise and real-time information about the composition along the borehole.
This probe will greatly improve the exploration efficiency in geologic research, reducing the traditional cost and duration by over 80%.
Over the Phase 1, we shortlisted different probe components, and tested optimal probe specifications, both in our laboratory and over field tests. We focused our development on the essential configuration of core probe components, namely x-ray tube, window, detector and power supply. We also determined the optimal software development strategy, thus building a realistic and optimal development roadmap.

At a commercial level, we studied the market in detail, identifying the leading segments, competition and trends. We then performed a detailed SWOT analysis, which helped us determine our optimal sales and distribution strategy, as well as an ideal commercialization roadmap. We were also able to increase our local partner network with new and important players in the field of secondary mining, thus exploring new potential applications for our probe.

At the regulatory level, we performed an in-depth Freedom-to-Operate study that helped us design a complete and powerful IP strategy.

We used the information from the previous tasks to build our final Business Plan, featuring detailed 5-year projections for profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow. We determined the necessary investment and calculated the ROI over the next years. Finally, we identified all technical, commercial, financial and regulatory risks, and designed the most appropriate mitigation and prevention strategies.
The IBERIA XRF provides an outstanding exploration solution that is well beyond the current state of the art. By using X-Rays instead of neutrons, our probe does not require any radioactive sources. Our compact probe is also unparalleled for on-site elemental analysis, as it can be used directly in low-impact boreholes, thus greatly facilitating the exploration stage. Finally, due to its highly efficient design, it is also 10 times more affordable than direct alternatives.

Through the IBERIA probe, we will help the mining industry maximize exploration efficiency, reduce financial risk and achieve higher employee safety. Both mining companies and operators will thus considerably reduce investment risk, while also expanding exploration capacity and efficiency. Our probe will also result on a significantly lower impact on the environment, facilitating a sustainable exploration method that requires only the use of a small truck to load and operate the probe and the drilling equipment.

The probe will also help Europe’s industry reduce its current dependence on metal imports. As an environmentally friendlier and fully European exploration solution, it will pave the way to an easier and more efficient metal exploration. It will improve the EU’s position on the industry, and guarantee future supply for valuable metals in the EU.
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