Highlights of 2022:
Over 30 000 line km flown for 20 customers
Improvements in Radai’s electromagnetic survey system
African operations and the strategic partnership with Zanifi
New team members
New EU projects
First underground drone flight in Pyhäsalmi mine
2022 was another favorable year for Radai. The company continued offering high-resolution magnetic survey services to mineral exploration companies. Radai’s drones flew 5 000 line km more than last year – a total of 30 000 line km and served 20 customers. Since the company started doing commercial surveys 8 years ago, a total of over 100 000 line km has been flown – which is more than 2 times Earth’s circumference.
While doing our bit to the steady supply of critical raw materials, the company’s product offering has also been improved. Vector magnetic data became a basic part of Radai’s standard package, and in 2022 most of Radai’s surveys included it. Special attention was paid to the quality of data collected during surveys: data quality was checked in semi-real-time, and at the end of every workday the customer received a brief report.
Radai’s in-house EM system was improved considerably in 2022. The new version of Radai’s 3-component Louhi EM receiver now includes three frequencies (instead of one) and better positioning and a better calibration scheme. Field data was measured in Germany near Bockau and near the old Pyhäsalmi Cu-Zn mine in North Finland. Building of the small transmitter loop for fully airborne operations started in 2022 and results are expected in 2023. The data processing software (Lempo1D) was merged with the existing Aeminv software that allows laterally constrained 1D joint/combined inversion of EM and static magnetic field data. Aeminv version 3 has been tested thoroughly using the airborne data of the Geological Survey of Finland.
In their attempt to explore new paths and expand the business into other parts of the world, Radai started a collaboration with Chitula Lukonde, a young and bright Zambian engineer with a keen interest in drone technology. He founded Zambia Flying Labs in 2018 and now Zanifi – a company that offers drone services in Zambia. Chitula’s high level of competence, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial spirit convinced Radai’s CEO, Ari Saartenoja to long-term collaboration with Zanifi. In January 2023, Zanifi will start to offer Radai’s advanced drone-based mineral exploration technologies to the thriving mining sector of Zambia.
Because new endeavors require more effort, Radai’s workforce was considerably upgraded in 2022.
Radai’s international operations will be supervised by Miia Mikkonen. Miia has extended experience in the mining sector and internationalization thanks to the experience accumulated from her previous jobs at Mining Finland and Palsatech.
Radai’s in-house electromagnetic survey system will become fully functional in 2023, thanks to the efforts of Pekka Korkeakangas and his recently hired colleague, Timo Matalalampi. Timo is a seasoned electrical engineer with hands-on experience in a wide variety of high-tech domains as welness technologies, smart building devices and printed electronics.
To get much needed geological expertise, Radai approached Mosharof Hossain, an experienced geologist with about 12 years of hands-on experience in various positions in the exploration and mining industry. He has earned double masters in Economic geology and in Geophysics from Finland and Bangladesh. Mosharof has worked in several tenements from igneous, metamorphic to sedimentary terrain and from onshore to offshore in different continents of the world. He has actively worked in gold, nickel-copper, iron ore, and heavy minerals projects as well as in the oil and gas industry in Bangladesh and abroad.
Last but not least, the flying crew got a new member – Emma Tuunala: a gifted carpenter and an experienced model airplane pilot with several trophies under her belt (e.g. 8th place in the Nordic championship in Finland and Denmark, the best female pilot in Scandinavia). At Radai Emma will learn how to fly drones and follow the strict procedures required for commercial flights. The aim is that Emma becomes a fully certified drone pilot towards the end of her training time in 2023.
2022 was a fruitful year also from the research and development point of view. By becoming a partner in two scientific projects – DroneSOM and Agemera – Radai will continue his path in the development of novel technologies that will significantly improve mineral exploration methods and will make the mining sector more precise, efficient, and eco-friendly.
DroneSOM project aims to bring two types of novel drone geophysical measurement systems and matching software packages for the integration of the collected geophysical data towards commercialization. Validation of the technologies will be carried out in real-life conditions – by doing test surveys for several mineral exploration companies. At the end of the project, the drone-based exploration systems together with the adjacent software solutions will be made available for commercialization.
The Agemera project will develop and deploy key non-invasive methods and technologies to support a better geological understanding of ore deposits hosting critical raw materials. The technologies to be developed in this project will allow the characterisation at subsurface depths down to 1000 m, with different coverage, volume, and timeframe. Some of the technological innovations will support active and agile data collection, while others will provide highly valuable data passively but often with lengthier time scales. During the project, the partners will conduct mineral exploration targeting, sampling, modelling, and geophysical field trialling in a total of six mining sites in Europe and one in Zambia. The consortium has selected these exploration sites to ensure a variety of locations and mineral systems hosting CRMs in Europe and third countries.
Because Radai’s long-term experience in drone flights and maintenance has to be used for good causes, the company recently joined the AiRRHow African Civil Aviation Centre of Excellence. The project will generate a model and a business concept for the African Civil Aviation Centre of Excellence which will become a Namibian-Finnish joint venture, providing logistical and other services, education, training, and digital exports for the rapidly growing needs of African aviation. It will also develop digital and physical infrastructure and digitalised content for aviation education and training.
Thanks to the GNSS simulator system developed by Galileo, Radai performed its first underground drone test flight. It took place at a depth of 400 m underground of the Pyhäsalmi mine in Callio Pyhäjärvi Lab facilities and was part of the Goldeneye project field trials. The test was a meaningful learning experience that proved the viability of the technology developed by Galileo and also the high level of competence of Radai’s crew (Tuomas Koivurouva and Lauri Maalismaa).
The path towards the augmentation of technologies and services offered to our customers will continue. In 2023 Radai plans to add some extra features to its data-acquiring services, by offering the option to buy highly processed data, and adding the dynamic measurement plan option – in which the customer will have the opportunity to adjust the survey areas according to the real-time findings from the field.
Radai plans to have a constant presence in the African market by providing drone services to other countries on the continent. Negotiations are underway to establish partnerships with other African drone companies and make Radai’s drone-based mineral exploration solutions the technologies of choice in modern mineral exploration.
Since the continent has a young and dynamic workforce, and over the years Radai has acquired a deep level of expertise in drone operations, Radai is willing to help young Africans to get professional-level skills in drone operations. Soon, Radai will train future African drone pilots and technicians by offering lectures and demos about drone flights and drone maintenance.
Dynamic measurement concept: Red square shows the initially planned area. Yellow dots square illustrates how the survey area can be adjusted according to the interesting anomalies discovered on the field.
Radai will be busy traveling next spring asit will be present at Mining Indaba (6.-9.2.2023, booth G02) in Cape Town and then to PDAC (5.-8.3.2023, booth 6310N) in Toronto. In both events, Radai will have a joint booth together with Mining Finland . Contact us for meeting requests, or pop in to our booth.
Mining Indaba is the leading mining industry and investment event in Africa, that brings together visionaries and innovators across the entire mining value chain. Radai is looking forward to network with mineral exploration and mining companies during the event and learn more about the opportunities to provide sustainable and cost-effective airborne geophysical surveys in Southern Africa.
PDAC is the world´s premier mineral exploration and mining convention that hosts more than 1100 exhibitors. It has grown to a great networking event for attendees from over 130 countries offering numerous possibilities to meet new faces and greet familiar ones. Along the exhibition, Radai will participate on the GoldenEye Horizon project event.