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H2O Opportunity resulted in a wave of unique solutions

June 3, 2022 Competitions 2
The exciting challenge H2O Opportunity brought to you by South32 closed on 27th of April, and what a fantastic response we received from the innovation community!

Embracing an open innovation approach, South32 partnered with Unearthed to launch H2O Opportunity, a crowd challenge aimed at unearthing novel ideas and proposals for the use of the water located at the Hermosa Project that could provide greater benefits over the existing water-use plans. The Unearthed and South32 teams were overjoyed to receive more than 20 very unique ideas and propositions to the H2O Opportunity challenge.

The Challenge

The initiative was around South32’s Hermosa Project, located high in the Patagonian Mountains in Arizona, which is one of the most exciting zinc-lead-silver-manganese projects in the industry. As part of the planning process for Hermosa, South32 was aiming to optimize the design to minimize any potential impact on the environment and local community. 

The top of the deposit is situated more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) below ground, and in order to access the deposit safely, water sitting from 100 feet (31 meters) below the surface will need to be moved (dewatered). 

Working alongside the Santa Cruz County and Patagonia residents, South32 is reviewing aspects of the development, including water management. South32 and the local community have expressed a desire for this water to be used or repurposed in such a way as to better benefit the community at large.

H2O Opportunity was an open call to innovators from across the world to put forward their new ideas and innovative proposals for the beneficial use of the discharge water from the Hermosa Project. 

And wow…. What an exciting response we had!

The response

H2O Opportunity was a highly successful open innovation challenge, attracting interest and proposals from a global audience.

The solutions provided by the innovators focused on water conservation, reducing the mining impact, increasing the local economy and benefiting the local population. Innovative solutions came from all corners of the globe, from Europe, Australia, Canada, Mexico and more!

It was great to see the broad range of innovative and unique solutions put forward by the community, and the eagerness to support South32 to find solutions that improve on current plans. From ecotourism centers, to in-stream and off stream recreational use and agriculture applications, we received a variety of innovative solutions. 

The South32 team is eagerly reviewing the submissions and will be engaging with shortlisted innovators to explore the proposed options.

For the team at Unearthed, this has been an exciting project and wonderful to be able to facilitate the connection between innovators and South32 to explore opportunities for Hermosa.

Congratulations to everyone involved and a big thank you to all those innovators who took part in H2O Opportunity!

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