NSW plays host to back-to-back mining and resources hackathons connecting entrepreneurs to industry challenges and data

It’s amazing what you can do when you have a hard deadline and 54 hours to make something happen. A Hackathon brings people together with the potential to create tomorrow’s innovations,” said Zane Prickett, Director of Unearthed at last year’s Unearthed Melbourne Hackathon. Unearthed has since been on a journey to pair Australia’s resources and mining industry with talented startups and entrepreneurs who are solving the problems of the future. Unearthed takes industry challenges that comprise open data and knowledge provided by experienced mentors, opening them up to a world of talent. It is the start of a process for Unearthed and it will take shape for the sixth and seventh time this year at the Unearthed Sydney and Hunter Valley Hackathons.

Unearthed Sydney will take place across the weekend of 19-21 August at coworking space Fishburners in Ultimo. Approximately 100 software developers, designers, engineers and data scientists will seize on this unique opportunity to build technologies for South32, Newcrest Mining and the NSW Department of Industry.

David Wilson, South32’s Australia Region Planning and Development Vice President said that the Unearthed Sydney 2016 Hackathon offered a great opportunity to bring together the mining and technology industries in a fun and challenging way.

“At South32 we know how innovation and technology can play a key role in creating a sustainable future,” David said. “The hackathon is a unique and exciting way to learn from one another, fast-track ideas and identify new ways of doing things.”

The Hackathon experience is a first for South32, while Newcrest Mining and the NSW Dept of Industry have both taken part in Unearthed Hackathons in the past.

“Unearthed offers an opportunity for innovative minds to apply their skills to developing solutions to real and current issues in the resources industry,” said Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts.

“The Hackathon challenges participants to develop more efficient, effective, safer and smarter ways to work, the key attributes which allow NSW industry to continue to innovate and maintain a competitive edge. I look forward to seeing the prototypes that are created at this year’s event and encourage collaborations between industry and technology specialist that will strengthen our state’s future.”

Challenge sets at Unearthed Sydney will be framed around the theme of “big data in the resources sector”, one of several disruptive tech themes set to impact industry in the years ahead. Participants will vie for almost $10k in prize money, tech credits and support with an opportunity to progress development of their solutions through connections made at Unearthed. All teams retain 100% of the intellectual property they create at Unearthed, providing the perfect platform to continue building technologies along their journey to perhaps commercialisation or startup formation.

Unearthed has previously held events in Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cape Town this year. The weekend after Unearthed Sydney, there will be a second Hackathon at the Dantia Smart Hub, the economic development company for the city of Lake Macquarie.

“The Hunter is the oldest mining region in Australia and it is heartening to see Lake Macquarie City hosting this great event in our new co-work facility. Dantia is proud to support Unearthed as they promote innovation in the resources sector through technology. This region has some of the cleverest people in mining and the potential of this event is exciting, ” said Kristen Keegan, CEO of Dantia.

On the second consecutive weekend, participants will be solving industry challenges from CMOC-Northparkes Mines (Northparkes) and the NSW Department of Industry with challenges holding a relevance to the Hunter Valley mining region.

Stefanie Loader, Managing Director of Northparkes said “At Northparkes we are committed to continuously improving our business – we want to be better tomorrow than we are today. From Northparkes’ inception over 20 years ago we have embraced new ways of doing things. We were the first mine in Australia to use the highly efficient block cave mining method; last year we achieved a world-first by becoming the first 100% automated underground mining environment in the world.

This year, we have gone further, establishing an Operational Technology team whose purpose is to use technology to further enhance and improve our business. By supporting the Unearthed Hackathon we have the opportunity to learn from other industries and bring new perspectives to our business challenges. We are looking forward to an exciting weekend.”

Hackathons are open innovation events used to source solutions from multiple channels outside the standard reach. In the space of 54 hours, participants will form teams, select an industry challenge and collaborate to develop a prototype solution. Subject matter experts from the industry will be on hand during this time to provide mentoring and insights from the field to help teams build a solution with real impact. Teams will then pitch their prototypes to a panel of judges on the final night, where prizes will be awarded.

With further development and initiative shown on behalf of the teams, the best ideas can apply for the Unearthed Accelerator, a focused 6-month long program that will help form new startup companies and connect them to industry mentors and customers. Participating companies will each receive a substantial seed investment to help them bring innovative new products to the resources sector.

Unearthed is a WA-based company focused on addressing the issues of declining productivity and competitiveness in the resources industry. Previous events in 2016 have taken place in Cape Town, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Silicon Valley, Santiago and Melbourne are schedule to host events later this year. Details on Unearthed and its events can be found at: www.unearthed.solutions


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