Repurpose Waste Materials from Tailings

Prize: 14,000€

Status: completed


Our client, a leading company in raw materials extraction, storage and production of derivatives, is seeking to reduce its environmental impact in mining sites by repurposing the materials found in tailings, in a effort to contribute to the circular economy. 

Circular economy considers waste materials as the source of new opportunities to create solutions or even manufacturing products that could be commercialized and have a valuable impact in other fields such as medicine, astronomy, etc.

The challenge

During mining operations, metallic ores and other inert materials (1) are extracted from the ground and are usually stored in the surroundings of the mine. Those associated materials are disposed of, which creates a negative environmental impact while losing all their potential capabilities to be processed and produce valuable products. 

These waste materials have different granulometry and are mainly composed of silica, but also smaller amounts of calcium oxide, magnesium oxide, aluminum oxide, and more. In annex 1 you can see the specifications of materials A and B object of this challenge. 

What the client is looking for

The objective of this challenge is to find a marketable solution or product for the material described above in any field possible (medicine, astronomy, manufacturing, industrial sector, etc.). Existing applications from other fields can be submitted as proposed solutions.

This challenge focuses on the repurpose of the waste materials:

  • Innovative or disruptive solution: the application can already exist in other field or be completely new and innovative.
  • Granulometry: It is preferable to use all the granulometry of the material. Proposals only applicable for some granulometries will also be evaluated in terms of cost and operational feasibility.
  • Costs: solutions should include a technical and economical analysis.
  • Safety: non-toxic solutions / products are preferred but not compulsory.
  • Volume: the aim is to reuse as much material as technically possible.

Evaluation criteria

All proposed solutions will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Technical feasibility.
  • The highest volume of material used (partial volumes will be also evaluated)
  • The best Business Case (the lowest operational cost and the highest value)
  • The lowest hazard of the product generated or solution provided.

This is a 3-round tournament with the following submissions:

First round

  • Brief description of the proposed solution, including granulometry, impact on volume and level of hazard of the solution / product.
  • Feasibility evidence of the solution. 
  • Business case (including investments, costs, and revenues, if applicable)

Second round

  • Specification of the solution, either an existing or new product/process.
  • Development plan and feasibility evidence for the product / process.
  • Detailed business case.

Third round

• Clarifications 


This is a 3 round tournament with the following timeline

1st round – 6 weeks + 2 week for evaluation

2nd round – 3 weeks + 2 week for evaluation

 3rd round – 2 weeks + 1 week for evaluation

How to join
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  • 3. Prepare and send your solution or project proposal
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  • Make your submission concise. A 3-5 pages pdf document might be sufficient, although you can send additional documents such as drawings, calculations or specifications.

    Good Luck!