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How AI is Improving the Future of Mining with VerAI Discoveries

Toronto Global caught up with Lorraine Godwin, VP Commercial of VerAI Discoveries to talk about the mining industry, technology, and her career in geophysics.

VerAI Discoveries is disrupting Mineral Exploration by deploying a revolutionary Artificial Intelligence Platform that detects concealed mineral deposits. There are no more easy discoveries. The remaining ore deposits are concealed under covered terrain making them challenging to discover. Enormous quantities of metals are essential as the foundation of the green-energy transition, which involves decarbonization and electrification of the global economy.

Lorraine Godwin, VP Commerical of tech mining company VerAI Discoveries.
Lorraine Godwin, VP Commerical of VerAI Discoveries.

TG: Can you tell us about how VerAI was founded and your role at the company?

LG: VerAI, which is a play on the Spanish word ver – to see – and the Latin word veritas – truth – was co-founded in 2020 by Yair Frastai (CEO) and Amitai Axelrod (COO), who spent much of their careers tackling complex search and find challenges in defense intelligence, using innovative technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Following their time in the military they worked for ten years in the mining industry and experienced firsthand that the conventional ways of finding mineral deposits continued to lead to very low discovery rates. They realized a paradigm shift was needed in the mining industry to supply the necessary minerals needed for the energy-transition. Leveraging their background experience with AI they formed VerAI to “see the truth using AI”. My role as VP, Commercial is to lead our go-to-market and business development efforts by partnering with mining companies to help change the way they explore for mineral deposits.

TG: How are you using AI to solve a major problem like accessing concealed mines and limited minerals globally? What led you to join VerAI?

LG:  In mineral exploration, trying to find the next big mine or deposit, can feel like you are looking for a needle in a haystack. We’re changing this with AI. The main concept behind our approach is that it starts with the “right” data – geophysics – which is objective and measurable. Geophysics gives a signal that indicates what is below the surface. Using AI, we can detect patterns in the geophysical data to see what we can’t see with our eyes alone.

As VerAI started to bring their technology to new partners they needed someone with business acumen to help them take things to the next level. I had been working for the last 25 years in the SaaS software world starting at Geosoft, who was acquired by Seequent, and finally Bentley Systems.

Through that journey, my role focused on building the business across different verticals, industries, and regions. My background was in Geophysics, as a graduate of York University, and I had worked in mineral exploration early on in my career. This role at VerAI was a great fit given my history in the mining industry, business experience, and understanding of geophysics. I saw what VerAI is doing as a game-changer, bringing something new and innovative to the market.

TG: What is the environmental impact of leading with a technology solution instead of traditional mining?

LG: There is a sustainability element – by pinpointing with better certainty where to start your exploration program there is less site investigation, less ground disturbance, and fewer drill holes needed.

TG: VerAI is a great example of how AI is adaptable and can be used to help solve critical industry problems. Can you expand on the role VerAI plays in the mining industry? 

LG: Our business model is acting as a partner to mining companies and the value that we provide as their partner is faster, better, cheaper, and higher probability rates for discovery. The discovery rate of an exploration project becoming a mine is generally accepted today to be 1 in 1000. Only 4 mines went into production in Canada last year. We are using AI to improve the odds – the probability of success – in finding the next big discoveries to support the demand for minerals, particularly the critical minerals needed for green energy.  

TG: Can you share why VerAI is looking to Toronto for Canadian talent?

LG: Canada is an international mining hub, with Toronto as the headquarters for many mining companies. Toronto also hosts the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference, which is one of the largest mining conferences in the world. Based on research centres like the Unilever AI Centre now in the Toronto Region, there is also a lot of AI talent.

For our decision, it came together around the talent search. I am based out of Toronto, and we are building out a world-class business team with one or two commercial division hires this year. I want to build a team at VerAI that is making a difference and loves what they do.

TG: What are your top career highlights and how have you developed your leadership skills over the years?

LG: I love building high-performance functioning teams. I look to build team synergy and collaboration to have everyone pulling in the same direction with the mantra ‘when one wins, we all win.’ A career highlight for me is that I co-founded the Women’s Leadership Circle at my previous company to provide networking and support for young women. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel and work in some amazing places with ties to mining in the Yukon, northern British Columbia, Ontario, and internationally.

TG: In past roles, you’ve mentored women (ie. Women’s Leadership Circle) in a male-dominated industry. What has changed since you started your career and what work still needs to be done?

LG: When I graduated in Geophysics, I was 1 of 2 women graduates, and today I’m thrilled there are so many more women in science. Seeing more women in STEM and in leadership roles are two areas I’m passionate about. I was fortunate to have great mentors throughout my career, both men and women. Today there are more female leaders who can be role models and mentors to help other young women see themselves as future leaders.

Lorraine’s Recommended Reads: Quiet Leadership by David Rock and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek

For more information about VerAI discoveries visit:

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