Avantix brings dark data from underground into the light for Measured Group
DIGITAL THE ONLY OPTION IN A HIGH-STAKES INDUSTRY
How frustrating is it when you need geological data that you know has been gathered in the past but is unavailable to you when you need it? Imagine if previously collected data was lost and the cost of replacing it ranged from $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That is a common experience in the mining industry. In order to deliver a cost efficient analysis, it is imperative to locate and convert all existing hard copy documentation and integrate it with your digital data.
Measured Group is a mining consultancy specialising in geological modelling, resource estimation, mine planning, exploration services and geotechnical support. As a consulting group, Measured rely heavily on being able to access historical data. This is the foundation upon which they build modelling and guide future decisions for exploration and mine development. Accuracy is essential.
With global experience in due diligence, feasibility studies, mine planning and ore reserves estimates, the stakes in all of Measured Group’s work is high.
With each new project relying on historically collected paper-based data, Measured Group engage Avantix to digitise the data.
“Avantix undertakes painstaking digitisation of plans, maps, down-hole geophysics and drill logs,” says Avantix CEO, Duncan Lord. “The data is incorporated into geological-specific databases.
PAPER IS AN IMPEDIMENT
Core samples drilled prior to a decade ago are exclusively available in non-digital format. This might be on thermal paper or plastic film, both of which are vulnerable to deterioration, or on long unwieldy lengths of paper. Each of which contain valuable data needed to be extracted manually, before being useful for future strategy decisions.
“Paper is an impediment,” says Lyon Barrett, Measured Group’s Principal Geologist – Managing Director, whose work is predominantly in the coal industry but includes other commodities such as iron sands, copper and gold.
DARK DATA IS LOST DATA
“Dark Data is when you know you have information there but, as you can’t put your hands on it, it can’t be used,” says Lord.
The challenges of “Dark Data” are not limited to the fields of geology and mining. Most businesses have data that is inaccessibly filed away (carefully or otherwise). Data that isn’t used, or isn’t accessible when needed, may as well not exist.
Digitisation of paper files can bring dark data into the light. Even without the huge costs involved in the mining industry, replication of data collection can be an expensive endeavour for businesses in all fields.
Despite these benefits, if a mining company has not previously experienced finding and then digitising dark data, understanding its importance is not always instinctive. “It can sometimes be hard to quantify the value that it will deliver,” says Barrett.
During the Measured Group consultation process it is necessary to identify if there is existing archival data and then establish its usefulness towards an up to date analysis. Referring to a recent engagement with a global mining company that tracked down archival material in a shipping container, Barrett says: “We were impressed with the way they listened to our questions and supported the digitisation initiative.”
The end result for this project? “The front-end costs associated with finding and digitising the lost data likely cost less than a tenth of any drilling that would otherwise have needed to happen,” says Barrett. “The knowledge of the mineral deposits was improved to the point that they were able to make fully informed decisions about how proceed.”
THE AVANTIX EXPERIENCE
Measured Group have come to rely on Avantix to convert these hard-copy graphs into digital data. These logs are scanned and each curve is converted into a LAS data, allowing easy importation into the modelling software.
“Avantix and Measured Group have worked together on four or five projects already,” says Barrett. “Avantix are very responsive; they turn data around as quickly as can be done. I’d always use them, as they always deliver.”