ATP Oil & Gas
Unlike ATP, Barrick is reaching outside the organization to solve a production puzzle. At the company's Veladero mine in Argentina, silver is a significant by-product. An estimated 180 million ounces are contained in reserves. The problem is that using traditional methods, the company is achieving only a 7% recovery rate. Now that per-ounce silver prices are moving up into the high teens, Barrick is understandably frustrated at failing to capture more than a modicum of the metal.
Last September, the company opened its books to the entire world. Anyone registering on the program's website gets access to all of the Veladero-related data one could desire. Teams submitting research-worthy proposals will earn $25,000 in funding, and if any of these finalists produces a commercially viable solution for extracting more silver, Barrick will pay a performance bonus of $10 million.
This is a brilliant business move, but Barrick can't claim the innovation. That distinction goes to Rob McEwen, the former chairman and CEO of Goldcorp
Back in 2000, McEwen, who now heads up US Gold
It's terrific to see this open-source strategy spreading, albeit slowly, in the mining space. So bravo, Barrick, for putting your money where the minds are -- online.
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