Mining News

Crowdsourcing to find graphite

Posted by Alana Wilson on 3/19/2014 9:45:39 AM

By Alana Wilson

Alibaba Resources is trying something new in mining exploration, according to a Resources Wire article in the Financial Post. They’re holding a contest with a $2 million reward, asking mining companies and geologists to help them find a hydrothermal graphite deposit.

“We are reaching out to geologists, prospectors, surveyors, researchers and resource companies.” said Bob Komarechka, CEO of Alibaba, “We’re counting on someone seeing our reward and remembering a drill log or an EM anomaly from a property they might have been looking at a decade ago before graphite was very interesting. Or maybe a summer student looking through old core will have seen our offer and when she sees a run of graphite will tell her supervisor.”

The contest was informally launched at PDAC 2014 and the report notes that in order to work, Alibaba must be able to reach out to hundreds of thousands of people working in mining and exploration. Hydrothermal graphite deposits are noted to be rare, with only a few know major occurrences in the world including the Zenyatta Albany Graphite Occurrence in Northern Ontario.

“We really don’t know what companies have in their records,” said Tom Poupore “And, in many cases the records of old drill campaigns are long forgotten. We want to give companies and individuals a reason to look at their records with “fresh eyes”

The idea is not without precedence however. The article notes that in 2000 Goldcorp CEO Rob McEwan put the geological data of the then underperforming Redlake gold mine in Ontario online, offering prizes to those who could show him where deposits were likely to be. The Goldcorp Challenge resulted in a significant yearly increase in gold production with the $6 billion in gold discovered far exceeding the half million dollars in prizes offered.

While creating a $2 million incentive is an unconventional approach to exploration, Alibaba hopes this will be the spark that creates a real prospect and leads to the discovery of a desirable deposit.

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