We received over 100 entries from 275 competitors in over 20 countries to the Unearthed Ore-X Challenge. Participants created ore-grade prediction algorithm that could classify material in a gold mine. The algorithms produced were as accurate as geologists at classifying the data provided and were much faster.
We’re excited to congratulate Brian Lynch, the first prize winner. Brian’s algorithm has been licensed to competition partner Gold Fields, and Brian will take home $10,000 to further develop his technology. Brian says the Ore-X Challenge was “a great opportunity to test my engineering and problem-solving skills. This kind of competition was well-suited to young researchers like me who are keen to tackle interesting challenges and apply the latest techniques.”
Gold Fields Principal Resource Geologist Shaun Hackett sees this type of open innovation as a key enabler to the gold mining business:
“It was a thrilling process to present an operational problem from a Western Australian gold mine on a global platform and see the diversity of solutions that were put forward. The variety of approaches that were applied was outstanding as they came from a mix of people both within the mining industry and from disciplines that would normally be considered to be completely unrelated.”
Despite some initial concerns about whether the approach would pay off, Hackett believes the resulting algorithm can be put to immediate use:
“The idea of solving a problem through the use of a competition gave me some initial reservations as to how relevant or practical the results would be. The winning entry was selected from a pool of entries that were both relevant and practical. The geology team at the mine who deal with these problems on a day to day basis could immediately see how the winning entry can be put into use straight away to help them out. It has also begun to generate ideas as to how it can be applied in other areas with potentially benefits that we had not initially considered at the beginning of the competition.”
Australian mining data startup GlassTerra hosted the data for the competition and provided ongoing feedback to entrants.
For more information, read the complete press release.