How mining billionaires leverage AI to find the next big copper play

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world across many sectors, but one less obvious application is just starting to make headlines – mineral exploration.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world across many sectors, but one less obvious application is just starting to make headlines – mineral exploration. 

Some of Australia’s best known billionaire resource investors are already embracing the potential edge to be gained from using AI, and Reach has secured a wholesale pre-IPO investment opportunity to invest alongside them.

The ability of AI to help geologists process large data sets is rapidly becoming an important element to resources investing. An example is the recent investment of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma in KoBold Metals, an AI-enabled resources company which raised US$200 million at a valuation of over US$1 billion.

Australia’s Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd (MDF) is at the forefront of this trend. Featuring a board credited with leading teams on discoveries worth more than $100bn in planned and actual production, the MDF is a private investment vehicle which leverages the proven experience of their world-leading geologists through the power of AI with the goal of identifying high priority exploration targets.

The MDF team used AI in their hunt for the next big play in copper, the commodity they identified is the #1 metal facing a supply shortfall under the energy transition. Among over 200 global targets analysed by their proprietary AI system, they selected Wiseman Metals in Alaska for its potential for multiple copper porphyry centres. 

Copper prospect Wiseman Metals is backed by some of the biggest names in Australian investing, including three well-known mining billionaire families. Reach has secured a wholesale pre-IPO investment opportunity in Wiseman to invest alongside them

Click here to request the wholesale investment offer docs or click here to attend a webcast we are running with Joseph Webb, the Managing Director of MDF at 1pm (AEST) next Thursday 27th of July.

Mine Discovery Fund

For decades, the key ingredient to successful exploration has been the skill and experience of the exploration teams involved. While this is unlikely to change anytime soon, the logical next step in the evolution of the exploration profession is to enhance the productivity of those teams with the help of AI technology. This is what MDF is about.

MDF’s advisory board represents over 200 years of combined geologist experience. Its members have led teams responsible for some of the biggest discoveries in the world, with subsequent planned and actual production exceeding $100 billion. Discoveries include the Century Deposit in Queensland – which produced over US$15 billion of commodities during its 16 year mine life – and the Resolution Deposit in Arizona, USA, the US$64 billion joint venture between Rio Tinto and BHP.

One of MDF’s board members is world renowned Professor Ross Large who was recently awarded the Society of Economic Geologists 2022 R.A.F. Penrose Gold Medal in recognition of his lifetime of economic geology research – an international prize only awarded once every three years.

Using its proprietary AI system, MineralEyes, the MDF team expects to gain an edge in defining exploration targets for particular styles of ore deposits. The system delivers computational analysis of big geoscience-datasets such as government surveys, geochemistry data and drill results to deliver ranked targets for various styles of ore deposits.


Source: Mine Discovery Fund


Not surprisingly, MDF is backed by some of the biggest and best-known resources investors in Australia. The focus is on finding and incubating early stage exploration targets, then assisting them on their growth journey including capital markets.


Taking a macro view across commodities, the MDF team went looking for the next big thing in copper, their #1 pack among commodities facing a supply shortfall under the energy transition. After ranking over 200 global prospects, they selected Wiseman Metals.


Commenting on the project, MDF’s Professor Ross stated: 

“The Wiseman East Minerals Camp has some of the best target opportunities I have seen in my 40 years of exploration and research.”


Click here to request the offer docs or click here to attend a webcast with Joseph Webb, Managing Director of MDF at 1pm (AEST) Thursday 27th of July.

Wiseman Metals

Consisting of three projects, Wiseman Metals represents the largest continuous minerals land claim in Alaska, the US state frequently ranked among the world’s top mining jurisdictions.

Their flagship project, Wiseman East, is highly prospective for multiple copper porphyry centres, with associated high grade copper-gold-silver skarn systems. Multiple exploration holes have all intersected extensive mineralisation near surface, with insignificant patches of overburden and open in all directions.

A standout assay achieved showed 12.2m @ 0.7% Cu, 7.6 g/t Ag, and 0.37 ppm Au. Across two holes, one of which extends up to 45m in width, there were 3 instances of 1.5m intercepts above 1% Cu. The team has also collected a litany of rock chip samples across the project with results up to 25.3% Cu, 0.33 g/t Au, and 44.7g/t Ag. Based on initial findings, the company sees the potential for multiple porphyry centres in the tenement area that are currently in focus and thinks that the drill holes to date have clipped parts of them. The team is excited to drill to a depth required to understand the orebody better and deliver first assays.

An interesting peer for Wiseman is just around the corner, giving the team confidence that it has chosen the right area. Trilogy Metals Inc (ticker TSX:TMQ) is more advanced than Wiseman with two large JORC resources, a feasibility study and diverse institutional shareholder base that includes Aussie miner South 32 but also Seth Klarman’s Baupost Group and Paulson & Co, the hedge fund led by John Paulson who got his fame and wealth by forecasting the GFC. Trilogy’s market cap was over US$300 in 2021, but has since declined on the back of extensive delays of the approval of a +300km access road that was supposed to link the project to the region’s vital Dalton Highway on which Wiseman Metals is handily located.


Source: Wiseman Metals


Wiseman Metals’ recently also added a rare earths project called Kaazene which features niobium, a very rare commodity predominantly used in steel production. Niobium recently made Australian headlines when WA1 Resources Ltd (ASX: WA1) was up from a market cap of $7million to $309 million after making a major niobium discovery.

Click here to request the offer docs or click here to attend a webcast with Joseph Webb, Managing Director of MDF at 1pm (AEST) Thursday 27th of July.

Why are some of the biggest names in mining looking at copper and niobium?

According to many market observers, the race to net-zero and the related need for clean energy commodities has the potential to upend commodity markets, with copper especially vulnerable. Ageing mines, decreasing copper discovery rates, insufficient recycling technologies and inept substitutes paint a picture of a brutal journey for the world to meet its sustainability targets built around electric vehicles, power infrastructure, and renewable electricity generation.

Global refined copper consumption which has been growing steadily from 2kg per capita in 1994 to over 3kg in 2022 is now expected to rapidly rise to almost 5kg per capita by 2030. The related copper supply shortfall that is forecast to begin in 2025 is expected to worsen every year for 10 years straight. Any surpluses that may arise in the 2040’s are expected to be from improved recycling processes and capacities. If these were to stay the same as the average of the last decade, the shortfalls would persist.


Source: Wiseman Metals


Mining billionaire Robert Friedland, founder and chairman of copper giant Ivanhoe Electric, recently made headlines by providing a shocking warning of a looming ‘copper trainwreck’ on the back of these developments. He highlighted the risk of a market squeeze that could see an up-to-tenfold increase in the copper price from current levels. Taking a slightly less extreme but still very bullish view, Goldman Sachs sees the need for a US$13,000/ton copper price (currently around US$ 8,500) in order the stimulate the US$150 billion needed to meet copper demand by 2030.

The focus of the Wiseman’s rare earths project, Kaazene, is niobium. The microalloy has predominantly been used in steel production where the addition of just 0.03-0.05% of niobium can increase the strength of steel by over 30% yielding significant savings in weight and costs. Almost 90% of the global supply of niobium comes from just two mines in Brazil, implying an urgent strategic need to deconcentrate this market. Going forward, niobium is also expected to have an uptake in the high-end battery market, such as energy storage, heavy trucks, industrial equipment and rail operation with the potential to replace cobalt and graphite in certain battery applications. This puts it into the green metals category alongside copper.

MDF think that Wiseman Metals is one way to capitalise on these market trends by finding a large copper and battery metals deposit in a world-leading jurisdiction.

The path ahead for Wiseman Metals

Wiseman Metals are currently raising capital in a pre-IPO round to advance its drilling campaign. Chairman Joseph Webb sees the assay results coming out of this campaign as a catalyst for his plan A – a listing on the ASX within the next 12 months. However, he acknowledges that in early stage exploration and with lots of large mining companies hunting for discoveries, anything can happen.

Mr Webb stated: “We are well aware of the need for new copper discoveries – this is why we went for Wiseman. If we can follow up our promising initial findings with strong assay results, we expect to have multiple options on the table to advance the project towards the scale we think it can be.”

The current pre-IPO raise is supported by MDF investors including some of the biggest names in Australian resource investing. Reach have secured an exclusive allocation of $2 million to invest alongside these high profile names.  

Click here to request the offer docs or click here to attend a webcast with Joseph Webb, Managing Director of MDF at 1pm (AEST) Thursday 27th of July.

Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd is a private investment vehicle that has interests in Felix Gold Ltd and Wiseman Metals Pty Ltd.

Reach Markets have been engaged by Wiseman Metals Pty Ltd and may receive fees for its services.

Reach Corporate provides Corporate Advisory Services, including managing investor communications on behalf of Felix Gold Ltd and may receive fees for its services.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.



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