Newcrest and South32 headline hackathon in Perth

This weekend will mark the fourth time Unearthed has hosted a resources technology hackathon in Perth since the inaugural event in 2014.

Western Australia’s top innovators, startups and entrepreneurs will come together to prototype solutions that could be hugely impactful to the resources sector.

Students and professionals from the science, engineering, business, entrepreneurial, software development and mathematics disciplines are invited to put their skills to the test at the event.

Unearthed Perth is a part of a series of events in the Unearthed global hackathon program that receives continuous support from the City of Perth, and will be held at CORE Innovation Hub, Australia’s co-working, collaboration and innovation hub focused on the resources sector.

The event will feature real-world challenges and operational data sets from Newcrest Mining and South32, and forms a part of Unearthed’s overall initiative to improve efficiency, competitiveness and encourage diversity in the global resources sector.

“Australia is already a global resources leader, and through CORE as a dedicated collaboration and innovation hub for the sector and with partners such as Unearthed, we are working to realise the immense opportunities from digital technologies and ensure that we continue to drive commercialisation of this capability into the sector.” said Tamryn Barker, CEO, CORE Innovation Hub.

Following the success of the Newcrest Mining headlined Unearthed Melbourne hackathon in March this year, the company will submit another challenge from the Telfer mine in Pilbara. This will test local innovators on their ability to optimise activity in a conveying circuit of crushing ore, where gold production could increase productivity by $17,000 per hour.

“This is our fifth collaboration with Unearthed, the continuation of a great partnership that draws in the wisdom of the crowd,” said Gavin Wood, Newcrest chief information officer.

“Collaboration is an important part of our approach to innovation at Newcrest and is going to be key to super-charging the innovation effort within the mining industry, in order to enable us to succeed amidst ever more challenging operating conditions facing the industry.

“The work that is done in the room over the hackathon can have a real impact on what we do at our mining operations,”

Following their involvement with Unearthed at the Sydney hackathon in August last year, South32 will provide a challenge at Unearthed Perth. Participants in the hackathon will be challenged to improve the design of energy source isolation points with the aim of unlocking both safety and productivity improvements.

South32 chief technology officer Ricus Grimbeek said Unearthed provided a great opportunity to tap into creative minds and explore new ideas that could help optimise their business.

“We see technology as an enabler for the next wave of safety and productivity improvements across our business,” Grimbeek said.

Participating teams at the hackathon will have the opportunity to apply directly to the Unearthed Accelerator program, which provides selected startups seed funding and access to experienced industry mentors, amongst other training and facilities, to grow and commercialise their prototypes into products within six months.

“Through the Unearthed Accelerator, we aim to create 50 new startups in five years. We believe this is the fastest and most cost-effective way to introduce new technologies to the resources sector, as well as the best way to support new resources tech startups,” said Unearthed accelerator program director Kathy Bunce.

Winners of Unearthed Perth stand to win up to $15,000 in cash, plus tech prizes with the support of companies such as Amazon Web Services and SAP. Other prizes include the opportunity to present alongside senior level executives from mining companies, METS, government and research organisations at the biennial Austmine Conference 2017 in May.

Details on Unearthed and its global open innovation program can be found at http://unearthed.solutions