Spectrem Air pioneering ‘most advanced airborne electromagnetic tech’

Spectrem Air geophysics manager Brad Pitts talks to Mining Weekly at Mining Indaba. Video & Editing: Creamer Media's Nicholas Boyd.

10th May 2022

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Geophysical airborne service provider Spectrem Air has pioneered one of industry’s most advanced airborne electromagnetic (AEM) technology to collect, process and deliver rapid understanding and reliable data for exploration operations, says geophysics manager Brad Pitts.

He explains that the company’s experience and technology enable the company to provide three-dimensional (3D) solutions and interpreted data for geological mapping, mineral exploration, geo-hydrology and geo-engineering with the ability to simultaneously map shallow (<100m) and deep (>500m) features with a high level of resolution.

Commenting on the energy transition specifically, Pitts acknowledges that the search for battery minerals, in particular nickel and copper, “will need to intensify”.

“Airborne geophysics, specifically AEM, is one of the prime tools to be used in exploration. Importantly in addition, the right application of airborne geophysics can reduce the footprint on the ground by focusing activities for follow up. This has important safety and environmental benefits to an exploration programme, whilst speeding up the exploration programme,” he elaborates.

Further to this, Spectrem Air can also assist mining entities with environmental rehabilitation during and post-mining activities. The company has done work in the coal industry, where it has conducted surveys to identify geohydrological conditions that may need to be addressed as part of the mine rehabilitation plans.

Spectrem Air has conducted over 2.5-million kilometres of survey data across various regions, including South and North America and Australia as well as extensive work in Africa (particularly South Africa, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, DRC, Tanzania, Guinea, Gabon, and Mali).

Regarding the “new normal” following the Covid-19 pandemic, Spectrem Air has adopted a total hybrid approach with the day-to-day running of the entity. With the survey projects, all survey operational staff (who work remotely) are fully vaccinated whilst also following the strict Covid-19 protocols in every region the company works in, including social distancing and wearing of masks.

Logistical aspects such as travel, and quarantine periods are factored into the overall project timeline.


Spectrem Air is constantly looking to improve and develop hardware such as the stability and measuring the rotation of the towed system, improving the suspension of the receiver, and lowering the noise levels in a bid to collect cleaner data.

Regarding the processing and interpretation of systems, Pitts notes that the company is currently in collaboration with world experts to continually improve the products it can provide to clients.

Spectrem Air is currently flying in Africa and is also available to “work with anyone that would like to undertake a reinterpretation of old data”.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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