About the Award

The Frank Arnott - Next Generation Explorers Award (NGEA™) is an international competition where teams of mineral geoscience university students collaborate and innovate to transform geoscience data sets into their interpretation of the subsurface geology and mineralisation targets. Its aim is to build a sustainable supply of enthusiastic, skilled geoscientists that can steer the mineral industry going forward.

The NGEA™ Challenge is open to students who are either currently enrolled in an undergraduate earth science degree or post-graduate research (masters or PhD) at the time of registering for the challenge. Teams are encouraged to be multi-disciplinary and include members from other fields of study (i.e., engineers, data scientists, economists, social scientists, etc.).

What are the benefits to participants? Career development, international recognition and cash prizes are but a few of the benefits to participants. The challenge offers students hands-on experience working with modern datasets encountered in the field, opportunities to improve their leadership and team-based skills, and the ability to expand their industry networks and increase potential employment opportunities.

All participating teams will receive feedback and recognition by members of the mineral exploration industry.

Datasets for interpretation: Students will be able to select from a set of provided regional high-quality datasets from around the globe.

Software: Educational versions of Geosoft’s Oasis montaj, Seequent’s Leapfrog Geo and Imdex’s ioGAS will be provided to registered teams for working with the selected dataset.

Eligibility: Each team must meet a minimum of two forms of “Team Diversity” for entry into the NGEA™. Diversity may be in the form of discipline/specialisation, gender, nationality, culture, etc. Teams that do not meet these criteria will not be eligible for the award.

Judging: Independent judges will evaluate the results using the Assessment Rubric (located under Resources - Submission Guidelines) which speak to innovation in data integration and visualisation, application of methodologies new to earth sciences, exploration significance of team findings and discernible evidence of collaboration within the team.

Prizes: This year’s challenge features a grand prize of CAN$5000 for the team with the highest judges’ score. Three new prize categories of CAN$3000 each have also been created: 1) Innovation, 2) Data integration and 3) Impact & Exploration Significance.

The judges will award these prizes based on participants’ scores for each category. Teams are eligible to win both the grand prize and a category prize, however they are not eligible to win more than one category prize. Be advised that prize amounts may increase based on sponsorship levels.

Finalists: With the final contestants presenting at the PDAC 2025 Convention, the NGEA™ will contribute funds for the flight and accommodation costs to Toronto for two to four members of the finalist teams.

NGEA 2024
Award Recipients

Pacha Team

Grand Prize Winner
Pacha Team

Rumi Team

Impact & Exploration Prize Winner
Rumi Team

Tethyan Explorers

Data Integration Prize Winner
Tethyan Explorers

Rolling Stones

Innovation Prize Winner
The Rolling Stones



The Frank Arnott - Next Generation Explorers Award (NGEA™) is a follow up to the Frank Arnott Award (FAA) 2017, founded in honour of Frank Arnott (1951-2009). Frank was an exceptional exploration industry leader who championed innovative techniques that maximised the value of the multidisciplinary data underpinning exploration campaigns worldwide.

Recognising that effective data integration and visualisation of data remains one of the biggest challenges to the exploration industry, the Frank Arnott Award 'collaborative' challenge launched in 2016 in an effort to encourage innovation in these areas. Participants selected from one of five high quality global datasets and submissions were entered from around the globe in April of 2017.

Evaluated by independent judges, the top three teams in both the Experienced and Apprentice categories were selected and honoured during the prestigious Exploration 2017 Decennial Mining Exploration Conference (DMEC). Each finalist team gave a presentation of their project findings and were formally presented with their final ranking and award on October 24th, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.

Given the success of the Frank Arnott Award (FAA) 2017 and the opportunity that it presented for students worldwide, with the combined efforts of various sponsors and endorsements the challenge will continue.

About Frank

Frank Arnott (1951–2009) was an exceptional exploration industry leader. He championed innovative techniques that maximised the value of the multidisciplinary data that underpin modern exploration campaigns. Frank always looked for new and innovative ways to improve data processing methodologies and integrate multidisciplinary exploration datasets. The development of his GeoExpress 2000 product was the culmination of many years of hard work. It is fair to say that Frank was at least a decade ahead of the industry in his thinking, with many of the concepts he was advancing coming to fruition today.

Frank was never constrained by convention and he was just as happy working on global datasets as he was working at the prospect scale. He was equally comfortable engaging with academia as he was with industry and often sought innovation in unfamiliar areas such as biomedical imaging, bringing back ideas to help solve exploration problems. His enthusiasm was infectious and he was a wonderful mentor, a talented scientist, always passionate and committed to geophysical exploration.

FA at desk