Canadian Mining Journal


GOLD: Watson speeds Goldcorp’s exploration program forward

VANCOUVER – Last spring Goldcorp and IBM Canada began a collaboration applying IBM’s Watson Explorer technology to mineral exploration in Canada for the first time.

Exploration at the Red Lake gold mine benefited from the first phase of a new supercomputing partnership between Goldcorp and IBM. (Image: Goldcorp)

Goldcorp’s exploration team was spending 80% of their time handling volumes of paper files, 140 block models, and 80 years of drill logs and other data. It was time to give the team more time to analyze that data.

Beginning at the Red Lake gold mine, the goal was to help geologists choose exploration targets, reach high value targets faster, calculate geological models with more certainty, and interpret the ocean of available data.

The first phase of the collaboration was complete late last year. This involved educating the system, setting up the foundation, and verifying the data’s integrity. Structured data from a wide range of sources was inputted, including drill logs, geological models, and block models, together with unstructured analysis and maps, to provide insights into Red Lake’s geology, current and historic mining and exploration activities, and successful exploration techniques.

Goldcorp says that using Watson Explorer reduced the data processing time to 4.5 hours from 165 hours. That’s a 97% efficiency gain, claims IBM.

The program is now in  phase two, building on its early success by identifying new correlations in the data, better analysis of data sets resulting in different conclusions, improved predictions especially in areas of sparse data, and better identification of new mineralized zones.

Goldcorp maintains professional photography portfolios of its gold mines around the world. Visit