Innovation & Research Battlefield

New Leaders. Fresh Ideas. Real-world Impact

The Innovation & Research Battlefield is back for 2024. A competitive A competitive 10-minute pitch platform for researchers, academia, students, and organisations to present innovative sustainable ideas to the mining industry.

Now, more than ever, innovation and research will be critical to drive impactful decisions and to enable businesses to be innovative and agile in responding to current issues.


“We are so excited to launch the 2024 Mining Innovation and Research Battlefield, and the theme for this year will be collaborative innovation for the responsible energy transition. So, what are the innovations that we can collaborate on that are going to enable the responsible energy transition?"

Wendy Tyrell, Executive Director, Development Partner Institute 


The Challenge

The challenge of balancing the human right to safe work, the rights of children and environmental responsibility is ‘complex’. The goal of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Innovations and Research Battlefield is to foster a dialogue about the opportunities and challenges of ASM with the mining and resource sector and to develop concrete actions to achieve sustainable impact.  

For the 2024 Innovation and Research Battlefield we are calling on ideas and research which investigate:
  • How can we innovate to address the challenges of sourcing new supplies of critical raw materials for batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines to meet the needs of the transition to renewable energy and sustainably source the batteries needed for the green transition. 
  • The ASM sector should be recognised and included in international trade. How can the mining sector support the legitimacy of the ASM sector, and drive transparent supply chains from the point of origin to its final sale?
  • ASM and Large-Scale Mining (LSM) can sustainably co-exist as distinct yet complementary sectors of a successful mining industry. What process could LSM put in place to support purchasing of minerals that are environmentally responsible, economically empowering and socially equitable from artisanal and small-scale miners?
  • How can mining companies promote and support best practices by artisanal and small-scale miners?
  • Mining companies execute world class mine land rehabilitation practices.  What affordable and practical environmental practices executed by mining companies can be transferred to ASM sites? 
  • How can partnerships between mining companies, NGOS, civil society and government address challenges in ASM? 

Through the 2024 Innovation and Research Battlefield, we are looking forward to engaging researchers and the mining sector to support pioneering research into responsible mining and sourcing initiatives to achieve positive environmental, social, and economic outcomes.  

Who can apply?

Organisations (e.g., academia, NGOs,) and students from all over the world are invited to submit proposals - in line with the theme. Shortlisted candidates will be able to be physically present at Mining Indaba in Cape Town to present their pitches in person to the panel. However, due to current travel circumstances and budget restrictions, we will be accepting pre-recorded video pitches should you make it to the second round of the competition. 

Applications open November 2023.

Convened by: 


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