100 hackers dig through data to unearth valuable insights for Newcrest Mining

Hannah Frankish Competitions News, News, Unearthed News

Resources industry hackathon Unearthed Melbourne took place over the weekend at coding skills school General Assembly. Over 100 participants had 54 hours to discover novel solutions to four real-world challenges, with operational data sets provided by Newcrest Mining.

Top prize was taken out by Team Digi-MIN, whose winning algorithm standardises, smooths and correlates related process variables and flags variations in the correlation in real-time. The algorithm was created in response to Newcrest’s Cadia plant downtime prediction challenge, but has the potential to be applied to any related variables across any piece of equipment or site. By flagging small changes in the correlation, equipment can be inspected and downtime can be planned, which can drastically reduce the cost and impact of unplanned downtime on site.

Newcrest Mining’s Paul Griffin (left) and Gavin Wood (centre right), with Unearthed Melbourne winning team Digi-MIN’s Eliza Craig (centre left) and Matt Kurtze (right)

Three out of the four Digi-MIN team members are employees at METS company Gekko Systems. Managing Director Elizabeth Lewis-Gray said that everyone at Gekko is thrilled with the win.

“We know we have great people and lots of smarts, but it is just so great to see them get recognition. We want to thank the team for taking time out of their weekend to participate and Newcrest for giving them the opportunity. A win for everyone”, she said.

Gavin Wood, Chief Information Officer for Newcrest, said that the company saw the tremendous value of open innovation initiatives and was impressed by the calibre of talent on display at the event.

“Our fourth sponsorship of Unearthed was a great success with the teams coming up with some insightful and interesting approaches to the four challenges. Congratulations to team Digi-MIN for their win, and we look forward to working with a selection of the teams to further explore the great ideas they generated”, he said.

Second place winners Fossil Fools

Fossil Fools won second place for SpargeSense, an acoustic signature used to detect breakage of sparge tubes in an autoclave at Newcrest’s Lihir mine.

“The acoustic response for an intact tube is captured and machine learning routine establishes a 3-dimensional acoustic signature based on frequency response, harmonics, decay and amplitude. This signature is compared against successive measurements and any deviation from the standard signature is flagged as a potential tube breakage”, said Fossil Fools team member Chris Mummery.

RoxOn RoxOff – Third Prize Recipients at Unearthed Melbourne

Third prize went to RoxOn, RoxOff, who developed adaptive driver performance training to optimise Cadia underground loaders. People’s Choice Awards went to both Team Neptune for their real-time autoclave performance optimiser, and Team Monash for their prototype Uptime, which accurately predicts 16% of downtime failures, 5 minutes before they occur using machine learning.

$5000 cash, plus tech and co-working prizes were awarded to the winning teams, but this was not the primary motivation for hackers at the event, according to Unearthed Growth Manager, Mikey Kailis.

“The real prize is the opportunity to work, and continue working with companies like Newcrest after the event,” Mikey said. “We deliver significant value to the companies that provide challenges and facilitate tech job creation for the mining industry”.

Unearthed would like to thank our event partners Newcrest Mining, the Victorian Government, General Assembly, Monash University, Microsoft, Mining3, Austmine and Acquire for their support in delivering Unearthed Melbourne.