Datarock rides mining’s rising AI augmentation tide


Richard Roberts

'Are we providing a tool to geologists or are we replacing geologists?’

Significant acquisition activity in the geoscience imaging technology market in recent years speaks to the rising premium mining companies are putting on effective geo-data analysis. Australia’s Datarock, has battled start-up trials, COVID and competition to position itself prominently on their radars.

The Best Start-up in our inaugural Global Mining Technology Awards, Datarock’s AI-backed drilling-sample analysis software and online platform is said to be used by most of the world’s top-10 miners, including the two largest companies. Rio Tinto, an early adopter, has been instrumental in Datarock’s development since its launch in 2019.

Founder Liam Webb says the company expects to build on its strong 2023 sales this year. Webb, with co-founders Brenton Crawford and Tom Carmichael, started using data science at mid-tier miner MMG before forming Solve Geosolutions and teaming up with DiUS to create Datarock and its machine learning powered drill-core analysis software.

Near-term expansion for Datarock is likely to be driven by an ongoing need in the mining industry to increase the tempo of drilling activity – brownfield and greenfield – with fewer available people; boosting technology dependency. The value of mineral drilling data processing and analysis is estimated at up to US$1 billion a year.

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