Barrick’s North American interns recently descended on the CodeMine in Elko, Nevada—our digital transformation hub—for our first-ever intern hackathon. Fifty interns, with educational backgrounds ranging from chemical engineering to information technology and environmental sciences, split into teams to develop solutions for three challenging mining scenarios.
The hackathon gave the interns an opportunity to work with peers from different teams they may not otherwise interact with during their time at Barrick. They came from all over North America: the Hemlo mine in Northern Ontario, the Golden Sunlight mine in Montana, our Northern Nevada operations, and our offices in Henderson, Nevada, and Toronto.
“It was a great learning event for our interns and more specifically how they played off of each other’s strengths” says Alejandra Vega, Technical Recruiter at Barrick.
Three scenarios were developed with a multi-disciplinary approach in mind to allow the interns to leverage their respective strengths. In one scenario, interns were asked to form the building blocks for a feasibility study for a new deposit. They assessed the asset from an economic and technical perspective and were encouraged to make suggestions from innovation, technology, license to operate and environmental perspectives.
The second challenge called on the interns to recommend changes to operating strategy as a result of variability in recovery rates at the Cortez mine.
The third challenge required the interns to formulate a plan to build a consolidated database that contains the last 5-10 years of resource and reserve statistics from the world’s senior mining companies.
“Our judges looked for technically sound solutions that were creative, well-articulated and demonstrated outside-the-box thinking,” says Richa Garg, Barrick’s Senior Manager of Talent Sourcing. “Our interns learned how to collaborate and develop solutions quickly, applying their education in a whole new way. We plan to do more of these in future.”
The judges for this hackathon have backgrounds in mining engineering, computer code development, metallurgy, and exploration.
The hackathon was the culmination of a day-long event for the interns focused on Barrick’s digital transformation. The day’s activities included introductions to Barrick’s digital solutions and the teams developing them, as well as a tour of the new Analytics and Unified Operations Center. The following day, interns visited the Goldstrike operation to see how Barrick is approaching mining through the lens of digital transformation and innovation.
The idea for the event emerged from a summer-intern orientation presentation that Barrick Chief Operating Officer Richard Williams gave earlier this year. Williams piqued the interns’ curiosity when he discussed Barrick’s digital transformation, prompting many interns to ask if they could go to Elko and see where the action is. The rest, as they say, is history.
“We are talent obsessed so this is a great way for these interns to inject creative new ideas into the organization and give us a glimpse into people who could very well form the next generation of industry leaders,” Williams says. “These hackathons are of tremendous value to us as we seek to lead, not just our industry, but any industry globally so I’d like to thank the interns for participating and those who helped make this possible.”