Finding revenues in waste rock
MineSense creates value for its clients while decreasing the footprint of mines
Jeff More jumped on board as president and CEO of a startup in October of 2015. Now, MineSense is in its commercialization phase with its first full-scale system in commissioning. The company has created a hardware and software system (ShovelSense and BeltSense) driven by a machine-learning level of algorithms. “We can tell the mine what’s in the rock as they are mining it,” said More. Essentially, the system finds revenue in rocks that would have been tossed away.
The benefits of this system are obvious: decreased waste, increased revenue, increased profit. A primary focus is working with run-of-mine material in the pit, where the maximum ore heterogeneity is located. Miners know the variation is there, but with traditional methods there is no way to identify the different pockets in the large blocks of rock. “MineSense creates that visibility bucket by bucket in real time,” More said. “Our system also provides thousands of data points in real time to improve mine planning and optimize downstream operations.”
Creating something from white space
More has helped businesses grow for many years. However, he is used to working with much larger organizations. “At this stage in my career, I’m as motivated as ever to create business value, but I also like the aspect of being able to do something that makes the world a better place,” he said. “I was intrigued by the combination of the MineSense proposition: create significant value for our customers, impact a very critical industry, decrease the global environmental footprint and generate attractive cash flow. It was very much this vision of a business that could be exciting from every perspective.”
The commonality throughout More’s career is the challenge to create growth. “Figuring out a new strategy that hasn’t existed before–dealing in the white space.” he said. “How do you do something completely different to get results that were not possible before?” As a startup, MineSense has a lot of white space to work with. More works to always create something new within the company. “To wake up and think about what’s going to be created today—that’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Finding success as a startup
More’s definition of success starts with providing value. “Can you create value for your customers?” he asked. “If you create value for your customers, they will be willing to pay you a fair amount for that value, which means the company will be profitable. If the company is profitable, by definition you will have a good return for your investors.” This defines a successful company.
Even in its early years, MineSense worked to provide value to everyone involved. More motivates his team to work with integrity to build trust with their shareholders and potential customers. “It’s important that we establish trust,” he said, “in any business, but particularly with us because we are asking them to try something that didn’t exist before.” Showcasing their integrity from the beginning helped build the trust necessary for clients and shareholders to believe in what MineSense could do.
Mentoring young entrepreneurs
More gives back in part by working with younger generations of miners. He mentors technology entrepreneurs in the University of British Columbia’s Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, which he likes this for a couple reasons. “We are able to provide some advice to help them get to the next stage. We are able to influence their development at an early stage in their career, and hopefully they will continue to be very successful and create some fascinating companies as they move through their career,” he said. “It grounds you. It gets you back to first principles—why you do what you do.”
His supportive nature stems from his own children. More said his proudest moments have been watching six different university graduations—one held in the Canterbury Cathedral—between his four children. “Seeing my kids graduate and move on to the next stage of life, those were very proud moments for me,” he said.
More motivates his team and his mentees, promoting integrity and building a successful cleantech company from the ground up. His standards are high in terms of performance when it comes to MineSense technology. Reaching for aggressive goals pushes MineSense to grow.