$1 million dollars up for grabs from Oz Minerals to help find new drill targets

March 19, 2019

Oz Minerals are offering one million dollars to help them decide where there drilling targets should be next year in their Explorer Challenge. Rather than asking you to pin the tail on the donkey or throw a dart on a map, Oz are providing more than 2 terabytes of their own data from the Mount Woods tenements of their Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia and are making it available via the Unearthed open innovation platform to see what crowdsourcing, combined with data science and geological knowledge, can do.

Hot off the back of PDAC, where the use of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and automating as much of the data gathering and interpretation around mining were top of the agenda, this sounds like a competition that has come of age.

Economic mineral deposits are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Geologists regularly spend years collecting and analysing disparate data, frequently testing hypotheses, from huge areas of land, often for little or no reward. Explorers are looking for new approaches to solve this problem and develop innovative processes and ways of working that can drive up the discovery rate, and in doing so, decrease the number of holes drilled for less environmental and economic impact, resulting in a more sustainable and efficient future for mineral exploration.

Crowdsourcing is a process by which such a problem and the accompanying data is made available digitally to third parties from around the world, who then compete to deliver the best solution. In addition to a A$1 million prize pool, the winning model on the Explorer Challenge will be tested in real life, with the top targets scheduled to be drilled by the end of 2019.

Unearthed Industry Lead – Crowdsourcing, Holly Bridgwater, previously worked for a decade as a geologist in resource exploration and definition. She believes that crowdsourcing can transform a lengthy and intensive geological process.

“Geologically speaking, the key advantage of crowdsourcing is for us to be able to assess an area of ground much faster. Instead of accessing a few opinions, you have access to hundreds and potentially thousands of opinions and you can use that collective brainpower in a short period to collate many different interpretations and see where potential targets might be,” said Bridgwater.

“All the different data collected has the potential to give signals and indicators and when analysed in different ways, gives the best opportunity to highlight points of difference and generate new thinking to help find the prized needles in the haystack,” she added.

The Explorer Challenge will run until the end of May, with winners announced in June 2019. For further information, or to register for the challenge, visit:

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James Hyland, MiningIR