One of the world’s largest gold mining companies is incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into its Red Lake, Ont. operation.

For its exploration targeting, Goldcorp Inc. is working with IBM to bring its Watson technology to the Red Lake gold mine —a first in the Canadian mining industry.

A number of Watson services will be used to analyze vast amounts of data, from drilling reports to geological survey information.

The data will help geologists determine specific areas to explore next, reach high-value exploration targets faster, calculate geological models with more certainty and interpret the growing volume of data as geologists drive new discoveries.

“Goldcorp has always been focused on responsible mining practices,” said Paul Harbidge, senior vice president of exploration at Goldcorp.

“By coupling our exploration and mining expertise with IBM Watson’s cognitive strength, we will be able to make the exploration targeting process more efficient, ultimately generating higher yields and creating less environmental impact. Geologists will be able to more accurately determine the next target, enabling our teams to locate undiscovered gold deposits that may have previously required multiple drills to find.”

Watson’s AI ability

Earlier this year, IBM demonstrated Watson’s ability to support exploration at #DisruptMining, an event held by Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

“The ability of IBM Watson to understand, learn, reason and interact will have a considerable impact on the Canadian mining industry by enabling geologists to make more data-driven decisions, faster,” said Mark Fawcett, a partner with IBM Global Business Services.

“In industries such as natural resources, where knowledge professionals are working with a rapidly growing volume of data, Watson is helping to evolve how professionals operate, make decisions, drive value and gain a competitive advantage.”

With AI systems like Watson, IBM says it is committed to using the technology to build Canada’s economy. The IBM Natural Resources Solution Centre in Calgary demonstrates this commitment by offering an environment where business leaders from the petroleum and mining industries can explore solutions to specific business problems by sharing ideas and developing proofs of concept and pilot projects.

“This is a strategic initiative for both IBM and Goldcorp,” said Dariusz Piotrowski, director, IBM Cognitive & Analytics Solutions Development.

“We are taking the IBM’s analytics platform tested and proven in the oil and gas industry and adapting it to the mining industry, demonstrating that cognitive subsurface analytics can lead to performance enhancement across the entire natural resources sector.”