Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

Barrick Goes Open-Source

Posted in Management by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on April 21, 2008

It’s taken eight years since the CEO of US Gold made all data about his company’s gold mine available to everyone, but other mining companies are finally beginning to copy his open source approach:

Unlike ATP, Barrick is reaching outside the organization to solve a production puzzle. At the company’s Veladero mine in Argentina, silver is a significant by-product. An estimated 180 million ounces are contained in reserves. The problem is that using traditional methods, the company is achieving only a 7% recovery rate. Now that per-ounce silver prices are moving up into the high teens, Barrick is understandably frustrated at failing to capture more than a modicum of the metal.

Last September, the company opened its books to the entire world. Anyone registering on the program’s website gets access to all of the Veladero-related data one could desire. Teams submitting research-worthy proposals will earn $25,000 in funding, and if any of these finalists produces a commercially viable solution for extracting more silver, Barrick will pay a performance bonus of $10 million.

The data are available the “Unlock the Value” website.

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