May 17, 2020

Barrick Gold engages the digital world with the Unearthed hackathon

Dale Benton
3 min
Barrick Gold engages the digital world with the Unearthed hackathon
Canadian tech startups, entrepreneurs and innovators will have a unique opportunity to create the next generation of technologies for the mining industr...

Canadian tech startups, entrepreneurs and innovators will have a unique opportunity to create the next generation of technologies for the mining industry at the first Unearthed hackathon in Toronto. Taking place from 3-5 March, Unearthed Toronto will feature multiple industry challenges from global mining companies including Barrick Gold.

“Barrick is in the early stages of a digital transformation, integrating technology and data into everything we do,” said Richard Williams, Chief Operating Officer, Barrick. “Innovation is a critical element of this process and events like Unearthed Toronto reflect Barrick’s open and collaborative approach to finding new and better ways to mine. We look forward to working with the talented developers who will be at the hackathon here in our hometown of Toronto, and we are excited to see the results.”

Unearthed is a global organisation driving innovation in the resources industry, working with mining and resource companies to address industry challenges and support the development of future innovations. Since 2014, Unearthed has connected over 2000 innovators to resource industry challenges through hackathons and online challenges.

“We are excited to put Toronto’s innovators to the test against global mining challenges. Developers, programmers, data scientists, engineers and other innovators will not have a bigger opportunity to get in front of and impact the mining industry than at Unearthed,” said Mikey Kailis, Growth Manager, Unearthed.

Disruptive technologies in the form of cloud technologies, automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analysis and the internet of things are set to drastically impact the mining industry in the near future. It is through events such as hackathons where the mining and resources industry can come together with the tech innovation community to embrace this coming wave of disruption.

The hackathon will take place at Canada’s leading technology skills accelerator Bitmaker, which is now a part of General Assembly’s global community.

“The mining industry is comparatively foreign to the developer community around the world. This shouldn’t be the case. We are excited to host the first mining hackathon in Toronto at Bitmaker and connect local developers to global mining challenges,” said Andrew Mawer, CEO and Co-Founder, Bitmaker.

It will be the first time that the Unearthed hackathon has taken place in Toronto, after being held in all capital cities around Australia, Cape Town and San Francisco.

"Toronto is a place where innovators can solve big and meaningful problems using technology. Having the global hackathon Unearthed coming to Toronto just illustrates this value and we look forward to seeing how Toronto's technology community helps bring disruption to the mining industry," said Chris Rickett, Manager, Entrepreneurship Services, City of Toronto.

Participants will be aided by subject matter experts from the respective mining companies as well as tech experts from the startup community and global tech companies such as Amazon Web Services.

At the conclusion of the hackathon, teams will present their final solutions to a distinguished judging panel where prize money, tech credits and support will be awarded. Winning solutions will also be a major talking point at the PDAC convention, taking place the week after the Unearthed Toronto hackathon.

Unearthed runs open innovation initiatives for the resources sector all around the world. Previous Unearthed events have taken place all around Australia, in Cape Town and in San Francisco. Details on Unearthed and its events can be found at


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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
3 min
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.


Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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