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OZ Minerals has launched a new initiative exploring ways to manage mining waste, with the goal to create increased value and reduce the industry’s overall footprint.

As part of its Think & Act Differently incubator, OZ Minerals has partnered with Amira Global, Unearthed and the International Copper Association Australia to launch the Waste to Value Crowd Challenge.

This challenge will look at processes and practices to minimise the production of waste, while exploring a different line of thinking, unearthing what value may lie within waste that’s already been produced.

The global mining industry has significant long-term waste and tailings projects already in place across the world.

The Waste to Value Crowd Challenge is complementary to those initiatives, but is also taking a unique approach, looking for ideas that could be unlocked or partially investigated through short experiments.

OZ Minerals internal entrepreneur Burkhard Seifert said it’s important the mining industry starts to widen its gaze when it comes to waste management.

“There is an opportunity to look outside our industry and commodities to understand technologies that could support a new way to operate,” he said.

“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 collaborating with mining companies to find solutions to growing tailings volumes.

Amira managing director and chief executive officer Jacqui Coombes said she was pleased to be involved in the challenge.

“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,” she said.

International Copper Association Australia chief executive officer John Fennell echoed Coombes sentiments, emphasising the importance of the cause.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Companies and individuals from around the world will be invited to propose an approach that reimagines mining and processing to minimise, eliminate and find value in waste.

Those successful will then join the Think & Act Differently incubator and be supported in their next steps to develop a demonstration of their solution.

They will receive funding, mentoring, opportunities for collaboration, capability uplift and exposure to mining operations through the incubator.

Through this challenge, opportunities await for future investments, including other mining companies eager to make their own mark in decarbonisation.