On Saturday, January 21, Newmont challenged 60 students from the Colorado School of Mines to develop team-based solutions to improve sustainability in natural resource industries.
Sponsored by Newmont, the second annual Mines Innovation Challenge kicked off with a competition that mixed students together with industry experts to inspire innovative thinking on real-world challenges faced by the mining and oil & gas sectors. The competition is open to students currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at the school and promotes problem solving through the development of sustainable ventures.
Perry A. Eaton, Newmont’s Chief Geologist, reprised his role as a judge and mentor at this year’s competition, and was joined again by colleague Mike Aire, Environment Director, Sustainability and External Relations and Colorado School of Mines alumni.
Following presentations from the industry representatives, students assembled into teams to brainstorm ideas and create prototypes of their innovative solutions. Adam Marcinkowski, a student in the Geophysics Department, said the process reminded him of the “hackathon” design sprints he participated in during an internship at Facebook. “Collaboration – in the right environment – and access to rapid feedback is the recipe for innovation.”
The judges were impressed by the results and found it difficult to select the final teams. Team Love Glove, Vader Technologies, Time to Re-Tire, Smart Tech, ExoTech, Copper Cyanide Solutions and Pipe Dreamers each walked away with $1,000 to refine their technologies under the mentorship of a Mines professor.
In February, these seven teams will present their project models at the National Western Mining Conference, giving them two months to refine and prepare their solutions for final judging on April 13. The team with the strongest invention will be given a $25,000 grant to assist in the further development or commercialization of the identified project.