South Australia funds A$5m project that uses data science to find new mineral deposits
The South Australian government is giving A$5 million to the Geological Survey of South Australia to boost an exploration project that is able to make a viable discovery and mining plan for the resource-rich Gawler region.
The funds are to be used by the GSSA to develop the best concepts from ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge, which was run by the South Australian Government and Perth-based innovation specialists Unearthed Solutions. The challenge tasked participants with identifying or predicting areas of potential mineralization within Gawler using any technique and harnessing the power of data.
ExploreSA lasted for five months, offered $250,000 in prizes and attracted 2200 data specialists from more than 100 countries.
Per-OZ, which is short for Peru/Australia and is a collaborative effort by Paul Pearson from Latin Global and John McLellan from GMEX, won the top prize with an innovation that brings together traditional geology, machine learning, advancing modelling, and precision drilling.
“The judging panel chose the solution presented by Per-OZ as the best overall submission due to their unique methodology which could help geologists in the field find that needle in the haystack,” the state Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said in a media statement. “Their unique approach may put us one step closer to uncovering new economic mineral deposits in one of the most significant iron oxide copper-gold regions in the world. By looking at traditional geology with techniques from other disciplines, we can peer into the depths of the earth in a new way, and might just uncover the next Olympic Dam or Carrapateena.”
According to Dan van Holst Pellekaan, proposals that go beyond traditional geology – like that presented by Per-OZ – are needed these days as it is becoming harder and harder to find new mineral deposits.
“The analysis of this information treasure trove by data and geoscientists in just five months is an amazing leap forward in the use of artificial intelligence, machine-learning algorithms and alternative mathematical data analysis for the mining sector,” the minister said. “The GSSA will use this new funding to develop, validate, and deliver publicly available Next Generation Mineral Systems maps for explorers.”