Tackling Mining Data Challenges

In sync with the oil & gas data transformation quest,
the mining sector finds solutions in the OSDU Data Platform

Author: Francisca Maepa, BHP

BHP and the OSDU Forum are happy to announce the first meeting of the new Mining Special Interest Group (SIG) took place in May 2024. The main aim of the Mining SIG is to create an environment where subject matter experts from different parts of the mining and exploration business can collaborate to define best practice, build schema standards, and develop data models for geoscience data management.  BHP’s commitment to mining’s digital transformation has catapulted mining’s OSDU journey.

Mining Digital Transformation

As mineral exploration increases to meet the world’s growing needs, the mining industry must move towards faster decision making and better understanding of ore forming processes. Mineral exploration programs require good, trusted, and standardized geoscience data to help make the best analytical, exploration, and business decisions.

To achieve technological advancement, data management programs must:

  • Focus on a single source of truth for geoscience data
  • Manage historical data and track data chain of custody
  • Be sustainable for the long term
  • Lead to digital transformation that resolves technical debt
  • Enable machine learning analytics

Data Challenges across the Mining Industry

While there have been advancements in collecting massive amounts of digital and non-digital data, the industry has not fully mastered the art of standardizing and storing data.

The Geoprofessionals Data Management report (6th Edition, 2023) published by Seequent highlights some key challenges in geoscience data management and the subsequent impact it has on adoption and implementations of new technologies across the mining, engineering, and energy sectors. Key take-aways center on:

  • Data management is the crux of technical advancement and data reliability
  • Cost and financial impact are pivotal to implementation
  • Emerging technology continues to drive business processes and decisions

Fig. 1: Summary of key data challenges consolidated from Seequent (2023) report.

Where do we want to be?

We want to leverage the full potential of our data. The amount of data collected across the global teams to support mining and exploration activities highlights the importance of improving data integrity and strengthening collaboration across global mining and exploration teams.

Global geoscience data standards will improve data integrity and create a single source of truth for data. A centralized cloud-based repository will enable teams to easily access, share and collaborate across the globe. Standardized and centralized data infrastructure enables development and automation of advanced AI and machine learning workflows, unlocking our capabilities to recognise new exploration search spaces and increase the likelihood of finding new exploration targets.

Fig. 2: Where do we want to be?

How will we get there?

BHP a multinational mining company, gained inspiration from the petroleum industry and OSDU Forum’s vision for a mining data ecosystem with reduced data silos, transformational workflows and accelerated deployment of emerging digital solutions for better and fast decision making.

Seeing how the road to mining’s digital transformation could be accelerated, BHP joined the OSDU Forum in October 2023 and worked with other Members of the Forum such as AWS, Katalyst Data Management, and ExxonMobil to establish the Mining SIG in December 2023.

The Mining SIG has reviewed the current OSDU Forum progress and discovered:

  • Wells data models/definitions align with mining exploration data definitions
  • Current standardized schemes and metadata could easily by replicated for mining data
  • The open source, cloud and standards-based OSDU Data Platform is an effective solution to the mining industry’s data challenge

The mining industry has long recognized the importance of global standards – evident by the various geological surveys across the globe. The Mining SIG is now well positioned to advance the mining data ecosystem. Grounded in the OSDU open source principles, BHP is focused on growing the Mining SIG and bringing together more mining companies and subject matter experts to collaborate on defining best practices for mining data standardization and workflows to yield a mining ecosystem that delivers business value to ensure improving data accessibility across the value chain.

Future Mining data ecosystem

In the future OSDU data ecosystem, geoscientists will:

  • Automatically collect and update data from internal and external sources
  • Ensure data follows globally standardized schema with adopted metadata attributes
  • Make sure data undergoes rigorous QA, validation, and schema matching before ingestion
  • Easily search/retrieve geoscience data from the cloud for use in their working domain
  • Define data lineages, track versioning and store IP, methodologies, and workflows

Fig 3: Future OSDU data vision in mining and exploration

Software providers can develop technologies and cloud-based solutions that connect to this repository via an Application Programming Interface (API), allowing for easier access of data and interoperability. Such an ecosystem where data is standardized across the mining value chain enables efficient data sharing within organizations as well as across companies and industries.

The mining industry recognizes the benefits of an open source, technology-agnostic data infrastructure, and data standardization.  Given the similarities between existing data models and mining data, BHP and the Mining SIG will bring the focus necessary to advance the OSDU Data Platform so we can take full advantage of new advances in technologies and artificial intelligence.

OSDU Forum resources:

OSDU Member only resources:


Francisca Maepa, Principal Geoscience Data, BHP


Francisca Maepa is a Principal of Geoscience Data at BHP working on implementing the OSDU data vision in the mining industry. Francisca and her team are working on creating a single source of truth for geoscience data. Francisca’s background includes applications of data science and machine learning for mineral exploration targeting in magmatic and hydrothermal mineral systems.

BHP is a global, diversified resource company, with a long history that stretches back to the late 19th century. Today, BHP has over 80,000 employees and contractors in over 90 locations worldwide working across the mining and exploration activities