'Thinking' computer revolutionises exploration

'Thinking' computer revolutionises exploration

Neural Mining Solutions, a collaboration between Straits Resources and UK-based Neural Technologies, has developed a 'thinking' computer system capable of finding untapped mineral deposits.

According to the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers' executive director, Dr Alfred Weiss, Neural Mining Solutions' (NMS') geological exploration tool, Prospect Explorer will bring about "the biggest revolution in the mining industry for 25 years".

Using the power of natural intelligence, Prospect Explorer quickly highlights areas of potential interest.

Prospect Explorer is a patented software tool, developed by a team of geologists, neural scientists and software engineers, which has the capacity to analyse a range of different types of raw exploration data and automatically detect and prioritise anomalies using the latest neural computing technology.

According to Gavin Daneel, exploration manager of Straits Resources, around 3000 mining companies worldwide collectively invest over $2 billion every year on exploration.

"With the industry's dependence on remote sensing methods such as ground, air and space borne geophysics, the amount of data being generated is reaching astronomical proportions," said Mr Daneel.

"Once collected, all this data needs to be quickly analysed. However, it is getting to the stage where the magnitude and diversity of datasets mean it is virtually beyond the capability of geological analysts to realise their full potential, primarily because conventional computers cannot simultaneously display all the data for interpretation," he said.

The progress of analysing survey data from a 300sq km plot could easily involve a team of geologists for six months at a cost of over $100,000. Using Prospect Explorer however, the time from pegging land to drilling is around 25 per cent faster, with much greater accuracy and consistency.

"Straits Resources is one of the first mining companies to adopt neural computing technology in an effort to improve efficieny and reduce costs," said Straits Resources chief executive, Brian Rear. "We fully expect it to have a positive impact on our bottom line."

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