Managing data has become a critical concern in the minerals exploration community, according to a global survey report published by software developer Geosoft in November.
The report found that there was a growing need for effective data management in the minerals exploration community to attract investors and improve discovery rates.
While organisations are getting better at centralising their data on a single platform, more work needs to be done to increase data accessibility, reduce duplication, smooth work-flows and decrease dependence on data experts.
Data was collected from 415 organisations around the globe. The 693 respondents represented a cross-section of roles in resource and energy exploration companies, industry service providers, government and educational institutions. More than 60% were from the mineral resources industry, with the remainder coming from energy (11%), government (9%) and educational organisations (5%), among other sectors.
When Geosoft conducted a similar survey in 2011, only 18% of respondents identified managing exploration data as a matter of “critical importance”. According to the study, this number has risen to 44%, with another 38% of respondents regarding data management as one of their top fives areas of concern.
Currently, organisations are taking data out of the hands of individuals and making centralised servers responsible. According to the survey, 40% of respondents now manage their drill-hole and geological data on a centralised server with a folder or file structure, while 51% manage geophysical and other survey data this way.
Survey respondents also relayed that they wanted tighter control over their exploration data and a more efficient workflow. Two out of three respondents would prefer a single, commercially available platform or an in-house solution instead of having to outsource their data management, hire consultants, or enable users to manage their own data.
The survey also highlighted search tools, complicated workflows, data duplication and dependence on experts as some of the biggest obstacles facing efficient data management.
Most organisations spend four to eight hours on data management each week, while some spend much more time than that.
Meanwhile, 38% of the respondents high-lighted increased visibility and transparency for reporting purposes and attracting investors as the most important benefits of better data management, while 25% of respondents considered improved discovery rates as another important benefit. Further, 7% of the respondents considered a quick return on investment to be the most important outcome.