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Crowdsourcing campaign aims to fast-track South Australian mining discoveries

Mining & Resources

A unique crowdsourcing campaign has been launched in a bid to unearth new mineral deposits in in South Australia.

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South Australia’s government will be the first globally to host an AUD$250,000 crowdsourced open data competition to fast-track the mining sector.

ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge partners with open innovation platform, Unearthed, in a global call for geologists and data scientists to uncover new exploration targets in the state’s Gawler Craton region.

Using the Geological Survey of South Australia’s historical records, primary data and research, the competition combines geological expertise with new mathematical, machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the number of potential drill targets across central South Australia.

“This state-of-the-art competition has the potential to unearth the next Olympic Dam or Carrapateena by encouraging global thinkers and innovators to interrogate our open-file data and generate new exploration models and ideas for targeting,” said South Australia’s Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan.

“Mining is one of the pillars of the South Australian economy and this competition should add to the pipeline of projects in the resources and minerals processing sector.

“Our existing inventory of discoveries suggest there are major prospects and many other deposit styles and commodities to be identified and this will only serve to bring those internationally significant discoveries forward.

“ExploreSA is an example of the bold and progressive thinking required to assist industry in accelerating the state’s annual economic growth rate to three per cent.”

The Gawler Craton Airborne Survey captured approximately 1,800,000 line kilometres of data over an area of about 324,000sq km – the size of Norway – and is the largest survey of its kind to be done in Australia and possibly the world.

Although it already hosts BHP’s Olympic Dam copper, gold, silver and uranium operation and Oz Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine, Gawler Craton is largely underexplored due primarily to the cover of regolith.

All targets generated, including those from the winners of the $250,000 prize pool, will be publicly shared to increase innovation and understanding in the resources sector by enabling access to data science approaches and modern geoscience thinking.

Unearthed’s Holly Bridgwater said the competition served to leverage data science to its full potential at a time when significant new discoveries are becoming more rare.

“This exciting crowdsourcing competition and world-class open dataset will attract a global community of innovators, some whom won’t have worked in the mining industry before,” Bridgwater said.

“We can’t wait to see how they will apply their diverse skills, fresh ideas and novel approaches to mineral exploration to accelerate discovery in South Australia.”

South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Knol said entrants in ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge program would have access to high quality data from the world-leading Gawler Craton Airborne Survey (GCAS), Olympic Dam Infill and AUSLAMP program, along with South Australia’s other public geoscience datasets.

Entrants are encouraged to identify potential copper, gold or other commodities deposits that may lead to mining activity.

ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge will begin early next year but is taking registrations now.

South Australia is a globally important producer of copper, uranium and zircon.

The state also produces iron ore, zinc, lead, silver, industrial minerals (including salt, silica sand and gypsum) and extractive materials (including dimension stone and opal).

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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