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Raising South Australia’s global profile

All you need to know about PDAC 2020.

ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge put South Australia firmly in the spotlight at this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC) in Toronto. The innovative competition with a $250,000 prize pool is the first global government-hosted crowdsourced open data competition to fast-track the discovery of mineral deposits. It is a partnership between the South Australian government and open innovation platform, Unearthed Solutions.

Opening the challenge by video, Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the competition throws an international spotlight on South Australia’s huge mineral resource opportunities and the quality data compiled by our world-recognised Geological Survey.

‘The South Australian government is fully committed to maximising the immense benefits for our state which exist within the Gawler Craton region, where we have just completed the world’s largest airborne geophysical survey, offering exciting new datasets for innovators and industry alike,’ Minister van Holst Pellekaan said.

Using the Department for Energy and Mining’s wealth of historical records, data and research, the competition offers the chance to combine geological expertise with new mathematical, machine learning and artificial intelligence to accelerate mineral discovery.

Tom Wise and Kerry Stanley at the South Australia booth, Australian Pavilion.

Tom Wise and Kerry Stanley at the South Australia booth, Australian Pavilion.

Adding to the buzz about South Australia was its rise to the top ranks of the Fraser Institute’s influential global survey on mining investment attractiveness. Issued just before PDAC, the survey asks global investors to rank provinces, states and countries based on their perceptions of how public policy factor can encourage or discourage mining investment.

South Australia climbed to 6th in the latest survey from 24th in 2018 in the overall Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines Mineral Potential based on geological attractiveness and Policy Potential based on perceptions of government attitudes towards exploration investment. The state ranked 6th in the world for Legal System, up from 21st in 2018, and 9th in the world for Best Practices Mineral Potential, up from 29th in 2018.

This dramatic improvement across multiple categories reflects the solid platform being delivered by the South Australian government over the past year to promote the attractiveness of our resources using commodity-based strategies, the $10 million Accelerated Discovery Initiative, ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge and the completion of the Gawler Craton Airborne Survey.

A highlight of the South Australian program was the South Australian Opportunities reception attracting more than 60 international guests. Other activities saw the team meet with the Chilean Minister for Mines, Chile Geological Survey and Chilean regulators to share collaboration opportunities and leading policy approaches. Discussions were also held with Brazilian delegates on future looking technology goals and their energised geological survey.

Strengthening international relationships with the Geological Survey of Canada.

Strengthening international relationships with the Geological Survey of Canada. L-R: Rohan Cobcroft, Alex Blood and Geneviève Marquis.

At the Australia Minerals session, the Geological Survey’s Tom Wise presented on South Australia's world-class iron oxide – copper–gold deposits and new geoscience initiatives in South Australia.

For the South Australian team, PDAC reinforced that there is more to minerals than the deposit. Technical innovation, sustainability, collaborative opportunities and policy approaches play vital roles.

– Rohan Cobcroft, April 2020

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