TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX-V-listed Integra Gold on Tuesday gave the term ‘data mining’ a whole new meaning with the launch of its Integra Gold Rush Challenge, a form of crowd sourcing, which the company hoped would lead it to the next big gold discovery at its Sigma-Lamaque gold property in Val-d'Or, Quebec.
The company's acquisition of the Sigma-Lamaque mine last year brought with it 6 TB of prospecting data spanning 75 years, which the miner now wanted to make publicly available to ‘digital prospectors', who could win a share of C$1-million.
Integra explained in a telephone call that it had spent the last six months compiling this information, which, once completed, would be released to the public in a consolidated database.
"With this digital gold rush, we hope to tap into the most leading-edge and innovative ideas from all sectors of research, not just the mining business. Our expectation is that these new ideas will lead to continued value creation from last year's acquisition of the Sigma-Lamaque mill and mining complex,” Integra chairperson George Salamis explained.
The data dated back to 1933 and included more than 30 000 historic drill holes, more than 50 000 gold assays, hundreds of kilometres of mined underground workings, other mining statistics and photos. Integra was now in the process of verifying and digitising additional information, which it expected to release to contestants in September through a dedicated website.
To Integra's knowledge, no mining company had released such a large amount of proprietary information to the public before.
CEO Stephen de Jong said the crowdsourcing initiative could be a cheap alternative to inject some much-needed innovation into an industry that had lost investor confidence and was struggling with high costs and low commodity prices.
"By utilising 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 simultaneously move forward with an exciting exploration target,” he advised.
The company expected a wealth of potential gold exploration targets to be generated as a result of this unprecedented digital database.
Online prospectors would analyse and interpret the data to come up with a plan on where they think Integra had the best chance of making a major gold discovery. Further details on what specific types of submissions the company was looking for would be announced in the coming months, before the database was made public in September.
The prize of C$1-million would be divided into several categories and be awarded to whomever came up with what the company and the competition's board of advisers believed was the highest probability location for a major gold discovery.
Integra had already made significant headway in raising the award money through sponsorships and planned to announce the winners in March at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s mining conference in Toronto.
Goldcorp had in 2000 held a similar two-pronged campaign that had helped it find millions of ounces of gold.
Integra had appointed Vancouver-based HeroX, a company started by XPrize founder Peter Diamandis to help people crowd source solutions to complicated social and commercial challenges.