In 2020 the GSSA ran ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge. This innovative crowd-sourced competition tasked entrants with taking GSSA’s open-source data from the Gawler Craton and reviewing it using traditional methods, artificial intelligence and machine learning to uncover new potential mineral exploration targets.

ExploreSA showed that GSSA data has enormous power and potential, but work was needed to make it fully accessible, complete and able to be integrated with current and future machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.

The government has committed $5 million to take what was learned from ExploreSA and make South Australia a leader in modern geoscience data provision.

Gawler Phase 2 logo

Project summary

GP2 is designed to combine new geoscience data with artificial intelligence and machine learning to bring forward exploration discoveries in South Australia, with a focus on information from the Gawler Craton.

This project centres around three main areas:

  • acquisition of new data to fill gaps within the current database
  • ensuring that all current and future data is delivered in a way that will support future data science applications
  • developing understanding of mineral systems in underexplored parts of the state, leading to new insights.

Additionally, the project plans to bring together the exploration data science community to ensure that South Australian explorers have access to robust data, detailed geoscience and strong community.

Project diary

March 2022

Machine learning applications work well in data rich environments. As part of the acquisition part of the Gawler Phase 2 project, the team are aiming to fill major data gaps in the central-western Gawler Craton. Following a review of over 100 drillholes, the team will release new whole rock multi-element geochemistry on over 300 samples from the region. The new data are available via SARIG and are now being incorporated into new interpretations of the geology and mineralisation in the region.

Rock samples from the project, March 2022 Rock samples from the project, March 2022 Rock samples from the project, March 2022

GP2 next gen mineral systems mapping - sample sites

November 2021

Part of GP2 is to ensure that legacy data is entered in a machine readable way to our data systems. This part of the project has begun and will run until at least the end of quarter one of 2022.


ExploreSA review

ExploreSA provided a wealth of information. The open-source data available during the challenge was manipulated, interrogated and reported in different ways by ExploreSA participants.

The aim was to understand the difficulties these participants had in working with GSSA data, where the gaps were and what would have given them more robust outcomes. Consilium Technology and Solve Geosolutions worked with GSSA and ExploreSA participants to audit and review the entries to ExploreSA and make recommendations as to where the GP2 acquisition program should head.

Watch Consilium Technology and Solve Geosolutions discuss this process and the outcomes with GSSA’s Peter Buxton and Stephan Thiel.

Legacy data

A project to capture legacy data that could be added to our existing data store was undertaken as part of ExploreSA. This project was highly successful with an estimated $350 million worth of data (in today’s terms) added and made available via SARIG. This work will continue under GP2, with an audit of legacy data across the state nearing completion and additional legacy date from the Gawler Craton currently being collated and added to the database.

Acquiring new data

October 2021

Over 300 relevant drill core samples have been sent for geochemical analysis and 45 for mineral separation as part of the project geochronology acquisition. Although it will be several weeks until the results are returned, this it is an exciting step forward in geochemistry acquisition. The maps show the location of the core inspected.

Gold and intrusion-related magmatic Ni-Cu-PGE are the two main mineral systems of interest in the Gawler Craton.

Core inspection map

Total cores to inspect 107
Cores inspected (cumulative) 107
New drillhole logs 35
Geochemistry samples 307
Petrology samples 98
Geochronology samples; zircon 32
Geochronology samples; apatite 13

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