OZ Minerals, Unearthed to speed up mineral exploration with $1m competition

Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. Image: OZ Minerals

OZ Minerals has released two terabytes of project data for the discovery of new exploration targets at the Mount Woods tenements of the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia.

The miner, partnering with the energy and resources open innovation platform Unearthed, delivers an online crowdsourcing competition in the hope of accelerating ground area assessment.

The Explorer Challenge winners will be rewarded with a $1 million prize pool, where the winning exploration model will be tested in real life and have its top targets drilled by 2019.

Commenting on the increasing difficulty of discovering economic mineral deposits, Unearthed said geologists regularly spent years collecting and analysing disparate data, frequently testing hypotheses, from huge areas of land, often for little or no reward.

“The iterative process of collecting different datasets, followed by geological interpretation can take a long time,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“The Explorer Challenge is one way we can speed up the exploration lifecycle and analyse information at a much faster rate.”

Crowdsourcing is a process by which a problem and the accompanying data is made available digitally to third parties worldwide, who then compete to deliver the best solution.

Access to hundreds and potentially thousands of opinions in a short period can lead to many different interpretations and identify where potential targets may be, according to previous geologist and Unearthed industry lead – crowdsourcing, Holly Bridgwater.

The Explorer Challenge will run until May, with winners announced in June 2019.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.