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Integra Gold (ICG.V) could have used high-paid consultants to find new deposits buried in the digital archive of mining and exploration data it acquired as part of a deal last year. Instead, the Quebec-based explorer took to the internet offering a million-dollar pay day to anyone who could help them pinpoint promising drill sites.
More than 1,300 people from 90 countries signed up for the challenge and poured over more than six terabytes of data.
A team of Quebec natives from SGS Geostat beat out four other finalists with their hybrid solution that combines traditional geological evaluation with artificial intelligence and virtually reality. The team presented their findings using a virtual reality experience that takes you beneath the surface of the company’s Lamaque site in Val-d’Or, Quebec. Clusters of brightly coloured blocks indicate potential gold deposits - the brighter the colour, the higher the probability of finding the precious yellow metal.
“This is a very powerful technique that we hope to be able to push the limits of and develop further going forward,” said Guy Desharnais, the technical manager for SGS Geostat in an interview with BNN.
George Salamis, the executive chairman of Integra, says the prize money was worth the expense.
“Had we done this internally it would have taken us years and many millions of dollar to get to the same place,” he said.
Saalamis says Desharnis and his team discovered “phenomenal” drilling targets that Intera would not have been able to locate on their own. The company is now investing in new drilling equipment to explore the new potential deposits.
“We’ve committed now to drilling these targets, a lot of them. We’ve got nine drilling rigs in operation currently and we’ll probably be adding more to test these,” said Saalmis.
SGS Geostat received $500,000 in prize money. Prizes were awarded to the remaining finalists in the order below:
Second Place, $150,000: The Data Miners
Third Place, $80,000: The Goldcrushers
Fourth Place, $50,000: Paul Pearson
Fifth Place, $50,000: GoldRX