BHP launches tailings challenge initiative

(Image courtesy of BHP.)

BHP, the world’s no. 1 miner, in a move to make progress in reducing and recycling waste, has launched The Tailings Challenge – a new initiative that seeks solutions for repurposing copper tailings.

The challenge is aimed at innovative companies, startups, consortia, research centers and universities worldwide. These institutions are expected to develop new technological solutions and new business models for reusing copper tailings, such as turning them into commercial products via new materials or other applications.

The challenge is to develop new technological solutions and new business models for reusing copper tailings

The challenge, which is carried out with the support of Fundación Chile through the open innovation program in mining, Expande, will provide $10 million in grants to developers.

Chile’s Minister of Mining, Baldo Prokurica, said the initiative promotes the development of solutions that allow the sector to be more sustainable and competitive over time.

“In recent years we have witnessed concrete steps that the national mining industry is providing to become a greener activity that promotes energy and water efficiency and the reduction of the environmental footprint,” Prokurica said in a media statement.

He highlighted the National Plan for Tailings Deposits that undertakes the State’s historical debt with the mining regions and the initiatives aimed at generating greater water efficiency, such as the investment in desalination plants that today recycle up to 86% of water and others that are using seawater. He estimated that by 2030 74% of the water volume used by the new mining projects in Chile, would come from the oceans.

“The BHP Tailings Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders from across the globe, to work on one of our industries largest challenges, Bryan Quinn, Asset President Joint Ventures BHP, said. “We are looking for brilliant people and companies who can bring innovative ideas and solutions to increase the sustainability and reuse of tailings.”

Apply here until August 21.

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