The Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge is offering $750,000 for innovations that transform the impacts of sourcing the raw metals used in everything from cell phones to airplanes

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) accounts for a significant percentage of the world’s metals. In fact, the phone or computer you’re reading this on right now likely contains artisanally mined metals. From jewelry and makeup to planes and golf clubs, artisanally mined minerals are a part of the fabric of modern life – but that comes with a cost. Conservation X Labs and a global coalition of partner organizations intends to change that.

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Washington, DC – Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) provides a livelihood for 100 million people worldwide, affording economic opportunities to individuals that otherwise might not have them, especially in developing nations. At the same time, ASM is a leading driver in deforestation of some of the world’s most important rainforests (including the Amazon), is associated with human rights abuses, and can result in dangerous contamination of soil and water systems, resulting in long-term health problems for miners and their communities. Improvements can be made that not only reduce these harms but also increase the socioeconomic benefits to miners and their families. 

Conservation X Labs has now opened applications for the Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge. The international competition aims to promote solutions to supply-chain, data-collection, and environmental problems associated with artisanal and small-scale mining worldwide. $750,000 will be awarded to innovators with winning solutions, which will also receive support, incubation, commercialization, and assistance scaling these solutions so that they might receive mass adoption around the world.

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About Artisanal Mining

While defined differently across countries, ASM generally refers to mining operations with predominantly simplified forms of exploration, extraction, processing, and transportation. These operations are often labor intensive, low-tech, receive limited investment, and require less expertise than medium and large-scale mining operations. ASM operations can be formal or informal, legal or illegal.

About Conservation X Labs

Founded in 2014, Conservation X Labs (CXL) is a technology and innovation company that works in the field of conservation. CXL spurs innovative solutions to stop the extinction crisis. 

Conservation X Labs applies technology, entrepreneurship, and open innovation to source, develop, and scale critical solutions to the underlying drivers of human-induced extinction, whether in conservation or other fields. 

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Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge Partners: 

This Grand Challenge is supported by a global coalition of partners, including Conservation X Labs, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Microsoft, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Andes Amazon Fund, Amazon Conservation Association, Wake Forest University’s Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation, Levin Sources, Pan American Development Foundation, Water Environment & Human Development Initiative, Mongabay, The Tech Interactive, Resolve, and Pure Earth.

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