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29 Mar 2016 - Event News

54 Hours – 4 Challenges – 64 Beautiful Minds

The Unearthed Hackathon, held in Brisbane on 4 – 6 March, has revealed some young guns with some very high-calibre solutions.

Two out of the three winning teams were comprised fully of students from Queensland University of Technology.

Unearthed is a 54-hour event designed to create a spirit of innovation using science, technology, engineering and maths skills to address issues being experienced in the resources industry. Software developers, students, designers, and industry insiders come together to offer their insight to develop prototype solutions.

The event is backed with large data sets and teams are supported by mentors from BHP Coal, Newcrest Mining, acQuire Technology Solutions, IBM, Amazon Web Services, Cisco and from the tech startup sector.

acQuire Technology Solutions is an Unearthed Community Partner and was, once again, on hand to mentor participants. acQuire is impressed by the ideas, passion and innovative prototypes that have been presented at the last two hackathons.

We are extremely pleased to support the Unearthed events and witness the quality of ideas and solutions to mining problems being developed in such a short amount of time”, said Steve Mundell, Director of Product and Stakeholders at acQuire.

The challenges

The 13 teams, comprised of 64 participants, could address four different challenges from Newcrest Mining and BHP Coal:

  • Fragmentation in Next Generation Block Cave Mining – Newcrest (3 Teams)
  • Predictive Maintenance for Cyclone Feed Pumps – Newcrest (5 Teams)
  • Auto-Correlation of Borehole and Imaging Data – BHPB Coal (1 Team)
  • Understanding Chain of Custody for Drilling Samples – BHPB Coal (4 Teams)

1st Prize was awarded to Team Principal Kinect (QUT students) for their utilisation of an Xbox Kinect device to gather point cloud data from stockpiles in order to estimate fragmentation volume in real time for Newcrest Mining. Their prototype produces a point cloud data set to make a 3D representation of fragments of rocks. This is then put through an algorithm which approximates the volume of the fragments.

Image courtesy of @RIITUnearthed

Image courtesy of @RIITUnearthed

2nd Prize went to Team Rock n’ Roll. This team developed an algorithm that uses photographic and Lidar data to immediately generate fragmentation curves – saving significant time for mining companies. Their solution will allow real-time monitoring of fragmentation in cave mining, so as to improve safety and efficiency.

Young Innovator Award went to Team Best Code Network (QUT students). Their prototype helps laboratories better estimate the quality of coal seams based on their samples by tracking the location and atmospheric data, specifically heat and humidity, of each sample as they are sent from site to the lab. The system works by inserting low-cost wifi-enabled sensors into each sample bag and attached to the head of the drum.

All winning teams received a monetary prize. In addition, Team Principal Kinect presented their prototype at the “Business of Innovation” Conference on 8 March.

Unearthed is building a global community of talented entrepreneurs and innovators focused on addressing current challenges facing the resources sector. The number of participants seen across the weekend at Unearthed Brisbane is a reflection of the willingness that these individuals have to innovate some of the world’s largest resources organisations. And it will only improve over time as more and more resources organisations open themselves up to innovation”, said Mikey Kailis, National Community Manager at Unearthed.

The third Unearthed hackathon for 2016 will be held in Perth from 8 – 10 April. Find out more or register at

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