Explorer Challenge28 Feb - 31 May
A $1 Million prize pool on a journey to discovery with data
This competition has finished.
A $1million prize pool to find Australia’s next big mineral deposit
Join a global challenge to test the limits of data science and geology and develop new ideas about mineral exploration.
OZ Minerals, a modern mining company, is opening up more than 2TB of their own private data from their exploration project, Mount Woods. Can you use this data to predict the next mineral deposit in South Australia?
The winning models will be tested in real life - the top predictions will be drilled in 2019.
There are several difficulties faced in mineral exploration for Mount Woods, including that:
- The combination of factors that result in large-scale deposits being extremely rare, requiring certain geological processes to take place in the right place and the right order over extended periods of time.
- Deposits left undiscovered are often under thick cover sequences, which makes collecting information about them difficult.
- It’s usually hard to distinguish ore-grade deposits from unmineralised rock as there are few ways of directly detecting a mineral deposit. There are geophysical survey techniques (e.g. seismology, or measurements of electromagnetic, magnetic and gravity fields) which can be inverted to determine rock properties below the surface, which can be useful in finding some types of deposit. However there is no similar invertible model that combines these physical properties with geochemistry/petrology, rock rheology, fluid flow and structural deformation to definitively tell us whether ore-forming processes have been occuring in a particular chunk of the earth.
All of these complications force exploration companies to work with a great deal of uncertainty and complexity.
Many datasets have been collected and processed since the Mount Woods site was first explored.
The region is known for its copper (Cu) and gold (Au) deposits, but with no economic mineralisation found to date, OZ Minerals is seeking to challenge existing exploration approaches.
The challenge is to predict mineralisation locations in the Mount Woods project area - using any approach.
Predicted mineralisations may be of any element - though the region is known for its copper (Cu) and gold (Au) deposits.
Participants are welcome to process, analyse, model, or otherwise work with the data in any way they wish - provided that the competition terms and conditions are not breached.
We encourage the formation of multi-disciplinary teams, and application of knowledge and techniques from a variety of domains where appropriate.
In addition to this main challenge, a data science stream is running for the first half of the competition; you are welcome to compete in either or both challenges.
You will have access to the project datasets from OZ Minerals’ Mount Woods tenement. This data will be made available to you once you have accepted the terms and conditions - those rules around things like sharing of data and intellectual property. We try to keep the terms and conditions (also found here) easy to get through and understand, but let us know if you have any questions.
We have built a data portal, which sits on our website and references all the files we have in the S3 bucket.
We’ve attempted to make sense of it so that you can get going quickly. The list below goes through the top key datasets you need to get started and is not an exhaustive list of all the available searchable data.
If you’re looking for a quick-start, we recommend starting with the drillhole database, geological background and maps, then moving on to the regional geophysics.
The drillhole database is one of the most important datasets as it is one of the only methods that definitively tests the presence of mineralisation, by collecting samples to test at a laboratory. The database contains 678 drillholes, of which 659 have geological logging and 585 have chemical assay results for up to 55 elements. In addition to the database, there are also 27,000 core tray photographs collected from some of the drill holes. You can download the entire dump or just the photos for the holes you’re interested in.
There are some papers worth reading, and geological mapping files. We link off to these in the data portal.
This is the most comprehensive group of datasets. Some of these datasets are very large, particularly the raw data. Where we can we’ve tried to pull out the processed data to spare your bandwidth but can’t promise we’ve found everything, so if you find you’re missing something then it’s probably worth checking out the raw data dump. '
Other key datasets
Regional airborne magnetics and radiometric surveys
Prospect-level ground gravity surveys
2D Seismic surveys
Regional and prospect-scale induced polarisation surveys
Multi-field inversion and modelling around Prominent Hill
Participants are also able to make use of any public resources, such as:
- The South Australian Resources Information Gateway (SARIG)
- National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) Geoscientific Datasets
- NCI Remote Sensing
- Geoscience Australia data and publications portal
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) general data
- CSIRO Hydrogeochemistry data
- Other CSIRO Geochemistry data
Participants registered for the competition will have access to a competition forum once they have accepted the Terms and Conditions.
Subject matter experts will answer questions in this forum. For fairness, questions will only be answered in this forum.
Discussion with other participants is also encouraged.
How to make a submission
Innovators may submit individually or as a team.
As an individual:
If you would like to submit as an individual, you will need to create a team of just yourself using the "Create Team"orange button to the right of the Explorer Challenge heading at the top of this page.
Once you've finished setting up your team, you can continue on to "Edit Submission" when ready.
As a group:
All team members must register and accept the terms and conditions.
If you would like to find teammates, you can post on the #explorer Slack channel or use Slack private messaging. Please create an account to receive a Slack invitation. If you still need an invitation, use this link.
You can also complete our seeking team form, or browse the results to find someone to invite to join you - this post provides details (viewable once you've registered).
Once you are ready to create a team, or plan to submit as an individual, create your team using the orange button to the right of the Explorer Challenge heading at the top of this page.
You can invite teammates via email. Other teammates can be add up until submissions close, using the orange Edit Submission button (replaces Create Team button once team started).
Submissions must be made via the Unearthed platform, and include:
- A five minute video pitch
The video pitches will be used to determine the top submissions, whose proposal documents will then be reviewed in detail. It should discuss and validate your approach and methodology. It should also discuss the targets you have generated and logic behind these. Video pitches will be used as a screening tool and should clearly address the judging criteria. The top video submissions will proceed to the next stage for detailed proposal review.
- A digital model
2D prospectivity maps of percentage chance of mineralisation occurring. Please submit one map per commodity type in geotiff format. There is no restriction in resolution or grid size.
- Proposal document
Proposal documents should be submitted in an unlocked PDF format, with a maximum 25 pages and 50MB in size. Your proposal document is your opportunity to provide the technical details of your approach, methodology, resulting targets and their feasibility. As well as the technical description, proposals should include an Executive Summary, and a path forward based on the targets you have generated.
- Top ten predictions
Location (longitude, latitude, depth), description (tonnage, commodity grade) and technical reasoning of your top ten mineralisation predictions, submitted as a csv.
- Secondary prize pitch
Each team will be able to select which of the secondary prize categories they wish to be considered for. They will be required, in addition to their overall submission, to provide a short description of why they should be awarded these prizes.
21 February - sign up and forum opens
28 February - data released and competition launch
Late May - competition closes
June - winners announced
Second half 2019 - top targets drill-tested
Webinar Requests? Let us know in the forum!
- Perth Machine Learning Group - 14 Feb Information Session Recording
- Cape Town Workshop 17 - 4 Feb Information Session Recording
- Introduction to SARIG Webinar Recording
- Challenge overview recording
- Geology webinar recording
Just Joining Us?
Your Explorer Challenge welcome email outlines some starting points for the challenge - if this is MIA, let us know.
We have a brief "Getting Started Guide" here for new Unearthed members.
Please see the Rules tab to view judging criteria and terms and conditions.
Competition updates and links to resources such as webinar recordings will be provided via email to registered participants, and posted in the forum.