ExploreSA02 Mar - 31 Jul
The Gawler Challenge
The Gawler Challenge
Join an epic global challenge to test the limits of geology and data science and develop new ideas about mineral exploration.
ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge is a global online competition from the Government of South Australia. The challenge is to identify or predict areas of potential mineralisation within the Gawler region, using any technique.
South Australia is an incredibly rich region for minerals, hosting some of the best deposits in the world. On top of that, discoveries have recently been made by reprocessing old data, such as BHP's Oak Dam West. This makes us confident you'll be able to find more through this challenge!
The challenge is open to everyone however best suited to geologists, data scientists, mathematicians and keen explorers. We encourage you to get involved if you're interested in learning about mineral exploration, want to give something a go and get feedback, get recognition for your work and team, or simply to win one of the epic cash prizes! This is a great opportunity for you to make a fundamental difference to mineral exploration in South Australia, and demonstrate your work on a global stage.
On this page, you'll find the challenge details, submission guidelines and supporting info. Please head to the Forum to ask questions and for FAQs, and to the Rules page for judging criteria.
Finding a mineral deposit is a task that is becoming more and more challenging. Most deposits sticking out of the ground have been found, and finding new deposits takes an analysis of many layers of data by teams with different skill sets. This is why we're looking for new ways of looking at this data, to address this epic challenge!
Some of the reasons that exploration is hard include:
- Large-scale deposits are extremely rare, requiring certain geological processes to take place in the right place and the right order, over extended periods, to develop.
- Deposits left undiscovered are often under thick cover sequences (ie. deep underground), which makes collecting information about them difficult.
- It is usually hard to distinguish ore-grade deposits from the unmineralised rock as there are limited methods 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 deposits.
- 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 occurring in a particular chunk of earth.
All of these complications mean explorers work with a great deal of uncertainty and complexity. But there are plenty of resources on hand for the next discovery:
- Digitisation of databases and increased computing power is allowing for new analytical techniques to be used in our quest.
- The Department of Energy and Mining in South Australia maintains geoscience databases for both government and public use.
- This data is a crucial foundation for applying new techniques, which we encourage you to use in this challenge.
What can we find in the Gawler?
The region is well known for its copper (Cu) and gold (Au) deposits, but there are many more potential deposits types, and we encourage you to challenge existing exploration approaches to look for different metals and minerals. The map below shows some of the major deposits in the Gawler, including Olympic Dam and Prominent Hill, both of which are IOCG (iron-oxide-copper-gold) deposits. You can check out a detailed description of all the potential mineralisation types here.
Why should we care?
Mining, minerals, and metals are important to the economies of many countries and the resulting products are essential for modern living.
Every time you switch on a light, use an appliance in your home or turn on a tap, it is copper that is delivering the electricity or water to you. Because copper is a highly efficient conductor, it is also used in renewable energy systems to generate power from solar, hydro, thermal and wind energy. Copper plays a critical role in making renewable energy systems as efficient as possible with minimal impact on the environment.
The Gawler is also prospective for other metals that we use in modern technologies, such as rare earth elements and lithium.
The challenge is to identify or predict mineralisation locations in the Gawler - using any approach.
Predicted mineralisation may be for any element and may take the form of areas of interest (prospectivity), or specific targets.
You are welcome to process, analyse, model, or otherwise work with the data in any way you wish.
We encourage the formation of multi-disciplinary teams and the application of knowledge and techniques from a variety of domains, where appropriate.
In addition to this main challenge, we have reopened the Explorer Data Science Stream to help you build models on simple Australia-wide datasets which we are confident will help you predict locations in the Gawler, as well!
Once the competition is live, all data will be accessible via the Data tab above (not visible until the competition starts).
All the data available for this challenge is open to the public. There is a lot of data that can be used, so we’ve set up the Data page to help you make sense of what’s available and get going quickly. The data included is made available by the Government of South Australia, but we also encourage you to use any other datasets that you have access to support your approach to the challenge.
To help you get started, we’ve listed the Top 10 datasets that are most relevant to the challenge. All of these datasets are provided by the Government of South Australia. Most are hosted on the government site, and a few are hosted by Unearthed via AWS.
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. For more informal conversations about the challenge, please head to our Unearthed-Community on Slack.
For this challenge, we encourage the use of open-source software. A great place to start to look at the data spatially is QGIS. Please share any other useful open source tools in the Forum.
Competition Launch: 2nd March
Competition Close: 31st July
Winners Announced: mid-September
How to make a submission
As an individual:
If you would like to submit as an individual, you will need to create a team of one using the "Create Team" orange button to the right of the ExploreSA heading, at the top of this page.
Once you've finished setting up your team, the button will change to "Edit Submission".
As a group:
All team members must register and accept the terms and conditions. You can have as many people in your team as you like.
You can also complete our seeking team form, or browse the results to find someone to invite to join you; this link 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 ExploreSA heading at the top of this page.
You can invite teammates via email. Other teammates can be added up until submissions close, using the orange Edit Submission button (replaces Create Team button once the team started).
Please note the purpose of this competition is to generate areas of interest and targets that will be made available to the public, along with the rationale behind them. We recommend that you share enough information to support your targets in your public submission. Put any information that you wish to keep private, but which you believe helps make your submission stronger in the 'private submission' form. Judging criteria and rules can be found under the 'Rules' tab, once the competition is live. Both the public and private sections of your submission will be used for judging.
Submissions must be made via the Unearthed platform, and include:
- Public Submission: A five-minute video pitch
- The video pitches will be used to determine the top submissions, from whom 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 the logic behind these.
- Video pitches will be used as a screening tool and should address the judging criteria. The top video submissions will proceed to the next stage for a detailed proposal review.
- Targets or Areas of Interest - Digital Submission or Model(s)
- The primary purpose of the competition is to generate zones of interest for economic mineralisation. You may submit digital files(s) which contain points, areas or gridded data to represent the areas of interest.
- You may submit as many models as you like. For example, if you are creating prospectivity maps for multiple commodities, multiple grid files are acceptable. If you are submitting polygons of prospective areas you may choose to submit in one file. Your model should contain relevant metadata such as commodity or mineralisation style, location data, supporting weighting etc.
- We will accept standard open source files types such as those listed below. If you have questions on additional file types, please reach out.
- General GIS Data File types: CSV
- Vector GIS File types: Shapefiles (SHP, DBF, SHX), GEOJSON, GML, ...
- Raster GIS File types: ASC, GeoTIFF, …
- We will provide an update around the specific requirements for metadata as well as example files soon.
- Technical Report
- Reports should be submitted in an unlocked PDF format. Your report is your opportunity to provide support to the targets you've submitted, including the technical details of your approach and methodology. In addition to the technical description, reports should include an Executive Summary.
- Private Submission
- This will be used by the judges, others at SA government, and Unearthed to judge your submission. We won't disclose this information with anyone else or use it for any other purpose. Share as much detail here as you feel is required to explain the strengths and uniqueness of your approach. This section is specifically designed for companies or groups with existing or new IP and methodologies that you do not wish to disclose publicly.
- Private Technical Report - For judging only - Optional
- This report should address the judging criteria that you feel your public submission does not address. This report is optional, if your public report includes sufficient detail, you may not feel the need to provide this supporting document.
- Secondary prize pitch
- There are lots of prizes available for ExploreSA. In their submission, each team will be able to select which of the 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.
Check out our Getting Started Guide is you are just getting to know us!