A person launching a fixed-wing drone in winter.
 Radai has provided a lift-off for mineral deposit exploration. Image: Radai
Mining industry

Finland’s Radai gets mineral deposit exploration off the ground

Oulu-based Radai has taken a bird’s eye view to mineral deposit exploration, utilising unmanned aerial vehicles and static ground stations to put an end to labour- and time-intensive field exploration missions.


The approach relies on data analysis, aerial magnetic field surveys and electrically powered fixed-wing drones that are capable of surveying the exploration area for up to three hours, at speeds of 15–20 metres per second in ideal conditions.

“People used to laugh at us in the early days,” Ari Saartenoja, the CEO of Radai, told Tekniikka & Talous. “We got our first credible deal in the area of the Pahtavaara mine [in Sodankylä, Finnish Lapland] in 2017.”

“In the past three years, we’ve surveyed over 35 000 line kilometres of the Earth’s magnetic field in Finland and Sweden. That’s almost the same as a trip around the world,” he added.

The startup has until recently operated primarily in the Nordics, namely in Finland and Sweden. A growing share of its revenue – currently about 50 per cent – is nonetheless derived from Australian and Canadian companies.

It is also developing a new electromagnetic survey system based on a three-component electromagnetic receiver carried by a multirotor. The system is expected to provide data on the resistivity, permeability and other electrical properties of the planet’s surface that, when combined with magnetic field data, provides critical information for the production of geological maps and mineral exploration.

Funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020, the development project has a total budget of roughly 800 000 euros for 2018–2021.

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