[VIDEO] Is crowdsourcing the next chapter in innovation?
Canadian miner Integra Gold Corp is looking to leverage the powers of the Internet to find the next multimillion-ounce deposit.
The company has launched the Gold Rush Challenge, an innovative crowdsourcing initiative which will see the company take 70 years of prospecting data from its recently acquired Sigma-Lamaque mine in Quebec and upload it to the Web. Online prospectors will have a chance to analyze and interpret the data to come up with a plan on where they think Integra has the best chance of making a major gold discovery.
The company and a competitions board of advisors will vote on which has the highest probability location for a major gold discovery. The winner will receive a $1 million prize.
"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 CEO Stephen de Jong.
"By utilizing external sources this competition allows us to stay focused and disciplined on the work we are doing at our Triangle Zone and Lamaque South property, and at the same time move forward with an exciting exploration target."
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Rather than utilize the various geological survey and drill-sample reports, the company intends to let people who usually aren’t involved in the exploration process bring creative data analysis methods to the table.
The company believes the crowdsourcing initiative will be a cheap alternative to adding some necessary innovation into the sector.
“The price of whatever commodity, in our case gold, has come down quite a bit,” De Jong said. “There’s just not the excess capital. Now are the times when we really need that innovation.”
This isn’t the first time a mining company has launched a crowdsourcing initiative. Goldcorp held a similar challenge in 2000 that attracted over 1,600 participants and helped the company find roughly $6 billion in gold.
Integra is launching the crowdsourcing initiative with HeroX, a company started by XPrize founder Peter Diamandis.
George Salamis, Integra’s chairman, hopes the project will motivate larger mining companies to do the same.
“We’re prehistoric in how we view data, how we share data, it’s very much an every man for himself industry,” Salamis said. “The rest of the new world of business is heading in a completely different direction, and we have to head in that direction.”
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.”