Here from Business Week is a very cool story on a prize I had not heard of before.
A few years back, Toronto-based gold mining company Goldcorp (GG)
was in trouble. Besieged by strikes, lingering debts, and an
exceedingly high cost of production, the company had terminated mining
operations….Chief Executive Officer Rob McEwen needed a miracle. Frustrated that
his in-house geologists couldn’t reliably estimate the value and
location of the gold on his property, McEwen did something unheard of
in his industry: He published his geological data on the Web for all to
see and challenged the world to do the prospecting. The "Goldcorp
Challenge" made a total of $575,000 in prize money available to
participants who submitted the best methods and estimates…
Within weeks, submissions from around the world were flooding into
Goldcorp headquarters. There were entries from graduate students,
management consultants, mathematicians, military officers, and a
virtual army of geologists….
The contestants identified 110 targets on the Red Lake property,
more than 80% of which yielded substantial quantities of gold. In fact,
since the challenge was initiated, an astounding 8 million ounces of
gold have been found–worth well over $3 billion. Not a bad return on a
half million dollar investment.