Unearthed hacks solutions to issues in the mining industry

Team Arnut, first prize winners of Unearthed Hunter Valley

New South Wales has played host to Unearthed Sydney and Hunter Valley Hackathons, tackling future problems in the mining and resources industries.

Nearly 100 software developers, engineers, designers, and data scientists came together to build technologies for Newcrest Mining, South32, and the NSW Department of Industry.

It was the first Hackathon experience for South32.

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, said, “The Hackathon challenges participants to develop more efficient, effective, safer and smarter ways to work, the key attributes which allow NSW industry to continue to innovate and maintain a competitive edge.”

This year’s theme was around “Big Data in the resources sector” which will impact the industry in coming years, and the hackers had only 54 hours to develop a solution.

While Unearthed Sydney took place in Ultimo, its Hunter Valley counterpart was conducted at the Dantia Smart Hub in Lake Macquarie.

Team Arnut took out first place at the Hunter Valley event, developing an automatic image segmentation algorithm to identify the main features in RGB drill core images.

The challenge was from the NSW Government to automate image analysis of Hylogger drill core data.

The outcomes from this program will be utilised in the drilling and geology industry for faster, more accurate, and efficient characterisation of drill core sample on its mineralogy.

Second place was awarded to Team Comp-Soc which developed a continuously evolving algorithm to improve call sequences for Northparkes mines, as well as a simulator to receive call sequences and provide a quick real-time efficiency evaluation.

The mine’s challenge was to improve the scheduling of autonomous loaders in their underground operations to increase production.

Stefanie Loader, Northparkes managing director, said they were committed to improving their business.

“We were the first mine in Australia to use the highly efficient block cave mining method; last year we achieved a world-first by becoming the first 100 per cent automated underground mining environment,” she said.

Previous Unearthed events this year have taken place in Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cape Town, South Africa.