Data scientists called for $1m challenge
OZ Minerals, in partnership with open innovation platform Unearthed, has launched an Explorer Challenge that aims to crowdsource solutions online from the world’s leading data scientists and geologists.
During the 10-week challenge, participants will have the opportunity to develop ground-breaking approaches to discovering new exploration targets at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine, with a $1 million prize pool awarded to “winning ideas”.
Unearthed founding director Justin Strharsky said the challenge sought to test how the global resources industry could leverage data science to its full potential.
“During the exploration process, the iterative process of collecting different datasets, followed by geological interpretation, can take a very long time,” Mr Strharsky said.
“Vast amounts of data are collected and processed, and very often this does not result in a discovery.
“The Explorer Challenge will speed up the exploration lifecycle and allow us to analyse information at a much faster rate than before.
“This competition represents a fundamental change in approach to problem-solving.
“Data science techniques can be used for exploration and many other challenges faced by the industry.”
Mr Strharsky said the business as usual approach in the mining industry would no longer suffice.
“The traditional borders of our companies must be expanded virtually to include people with different skills and perspectives from around the world,” he said.
“If your approach to digital skills is to hire people who happen to live near your HQ on the basis of a CV or a degree from a school you recognise, you’re doing it wrong.”
OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said the challenge would give the team potential access to thousands of scientists’ ideas and data, and the winning idea would have the chance to get their model tested in real life.
“The challenge is a continuation of our digital transformation journey, which we started two years ago when we migrated all our exploration data to the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud,” Mr Cole said.
“We want to find ways to work smarter with all the data we’ve got, not just geological data, and challenge existing concepts of how we are harnessing it.”
Entries open in February 2019 with winners to be announced in June 2019.
The Explorer Challenge is open to geologists and data scientists from across the world.