Today, the OZ Minerals Think & Act Differently™ ideas incubator, along with Amira Global, the International Copper Association, Australia and Unearthed launched the Waste to Value Crowd Challenge.

This Challenge is about exploring new approaches to managing waste across the mining process to create better value from waste and reduce the footprint of mining operations. This includes processes and practices to minimise the production of waste and strategies to think differently about waste that have already been produced, to understand what value may lie within this material.

The industry has significant long-term waste and tailings projects running across the world. This challenge is complementary, but quite different. What we are looking for are ideas that could be unlocked or partially investigated through short experiments.

OZ Minerals has an aspiration to consume and produce in a way that generates zero net waste and creates value for stakeholders. Burkhard Seifert, OZ Minerals’ Internal Entrepreneur, explains ‘there is an opportunity to look outside our industry and commodities to understand technologies that could support a new way to operate. This is a great opportunity for innovators to test their thinking and get feedback from the industry and other innovators in this space. We are hoping to hear from diverse people with ideas that stretch across the supply chain’.

Amira Global is already involved in leading a collaboration of mining companies who together are seeking to find a solution to growing tailings volumes. Jacqui Coombes, MD and CEO of Amira Global, said that solving this challenge requires transformational thinking. ‘The Waste to Value challenge supports the efforts of Amira and our members by looking broadly at technologies that could be applied to base metals or gold mining to unlock solutions. We are pleased to be part of something that could make a difference to our industry and society as a whole.’

John Fennell, CEO, International Copper Association, Australia, said, ‘Achieving a mine of the future that produces zero emissions and waste is an urgent imperative with significant business, environmental and technological benefits for all stakeholders. We are interested in emerging technologies or processes that can help us minimise waste rock, reduce the production of tailings, including conserving water, and look at ways to generate value from waste rock and tailings. The blending of breakthrough innovation and the change that is happening now will create an industry ready for the future.’

Lizzie Brookman from Unearthed explained, ‘Going out to the crowd enables the industry to hear different perspectives from different people, which is a valuable way to approach a complex, long-term issue such as tailings and waste.’

The online challenge invites companies and individuals from around the world to propose an approach that reimagines mining and processing to minimise, eliminate and find value in waste. Innovators are welcome to put forward part of a process or propose a solution that spans across the value chain.

A selected cohort from this challenge will join the Think & Act Differently™ incubator and be supported in developing a demonstration of their solution. The incubator program is a supportive environment that includes funding, mentoring, opportunities for collaboration, capability uplift and exposure to mining operations.

Through this challenge, there are likely to be opportunities for potential investors, including other mining companies, who might like to fund experiments and learn collectively, and we are keen to hear from people who may be interested in this.

For more information about the challenge – visit the challenge page or watch the Waste to Value Challenge video.