Gold Fields launches innovation challenge, offers $10k for new algorithm
South African miner Gold Fields is the latest company seeking to bring together the brightest minds in order to solve one of its toughest questions.
The company has launched the Ore-X Innovation Challenge, a contest to develop an image processing algorithm to classify material in a gold mine as high, medium or low grade or, or waste.
The contest carries a first prize of A$10,000 (US$7,100), second prize of A$1,500 and third prize A$500.
The challenge will consist of two parts--processing the image to find features, and then estimating the overall grade. Contestants who submit their estimated grade and percentages and will be scored based on the number of correct answers.
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The top five ranked submissions will then submit their algorithm, which will be assessed on accuracy of the results, including subjective criteria such as the classified images, code quality, and ease of integration.
The Ore-X Innovation Challenge will provide contestants with a dataset approximately 1.2GB in size, containing 218 images, each approximately 12 megapixels.
Submissions are currently open and will close on September 25. Winners will be announced October 9.
Crowdsourcing initiatives have become a growing trend among companies in the mining industry. In June, Canadian miner Integra Gold Corp launched the Gold Rush Challenge, an innovative contest that allowed online prospectors to analyze and interpret 70 years of data to come up with a plan of making a major gold discovery. The reward was $1 million.
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"By giving the public access to this data, Integra hopes to tap into the collective brainpower of thousands of participants and save itself years of time and resources to identify high-potential exploration targets we likely wouldn't even know exist," said Integra Gold CEO Stephen de Jong.
Goldcorp held a similar challenge in 2000 that attracted over 1,600 participants and helped the company find roughly $6 billion in gold.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
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.”