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Introducing the Essential Minerals Cohort

March 6, 2024 Competitions 2

Introducing the Essential Minerals cohort with Think & Act Differently powered by BHP.

We are proud to share that the latest Think & Act Differently (TAD) cohort has been announced following extensive technical review and assessment of recent submissions from various innovation activities.

The final selected group of early stage innovators have been formed together in the Essential Minerals cohort, which blends capabilities from a number of recent innovation open calls, conducted by TAD and hosted by innovation partner, Unearthed.

Ten innovator groups were named to receive support from the TAD team via funding & a technical network of relevant knowledge in their field of technology.

This support will assist in conducting experimentation to accelerate their innovative ideas toward further development and potential commercialisation.

This early stage support from the Think & Act Differently ecosystem team offers a conduit for the global miner to connect with and support new ideas that could unlock significant value across their operations and broader business functions. The ecosystem team engage with those in surrounding industrial and academic ecosystems, to source and engage those with potentially valuable capabilities for trials and experimentation. 

“It’s great to see such a broad group of like-minded individuals brought together to accelerate new ways of thinking not only for the benefit of BHP’s assets, but the broader mining industry” shares Sam La Macchia, Innovation Engineer at Unearthed Solutions.

The Essential Minerals cohort is a mixture of new to market and emerging talent from across the globe. Unearthed scouted for and delivered these groups via their innovation open call platform with the focus on three main themes:

Preconditioning Rock - which focused on innovators who can reduce energy and support recovery with preconditioning of rock mass and mined material

Critical Minerals Extraction - explored capability who were exploring the extraction of cobalt, rare-earth elements (REE), and molybdenum from copper or nickel deposits​.

Carbon Economy - which asked innovators to think differently about managing emissions and storing carbon in mining

This cohort also included two teams from the general Open House, which is a portal for those exploring the mining sector for their new ideas. It always remains open, with no particular focus area called out, rather allowing those who may have radically different ways of thinking to engage easily with the Think & Act Differently team and their work within the BHP portfolio.

“This cohort has formed following many hundreds of discussions around the outlined focus topics,” shares Jake Harris, Lead Research and Innovation Delivery at Unearthed Solutions.

“The research and connections covered in this work traverse broad domains and we looked to other industries and academia to find new and emerging talent. The diverse and talented cohort, which covers many separate parts of the mining process, now stand in a great position to accelerate their ideas toward commercialisation within the twelve week cohort model delivered by TAD.”

The final ten groups received a blend of financial and technical support, along with some receiving samples for further test work. The innovative teams in this cohort include:

  • George Abaka-Wood - University of South Australia (Australia): Characterisation of materials for Critical Mineral Extraction

  • Jacob Andersen - Naturafrac Inc. (USA): Pulsed Explosive Gas Preconditioning

  • Oscar Malpica - Rockburst Technologies (Canada): Transcritical CO2 Comminution

  • Himel Nahreen Khaleque - Edith Cowman University (Australia): Saline Water Bio Copper Sulphide Leach

  • Ray Shaw - Mine to Metal (Australia): Roast and Ammonia REE Leaching

  • Philip Kwong - University of Adelaide (Australia): Biodegradable NiOx Lixiviant

  • Eric O. Ansah - University of Melbourne & Carbofarm (Australia/Canada): Aluminum Chloride and Ferric Copper Sulphide Leach

  • Henning Prommer - Ekion (Australia): Electrokinetic Enhanced Leaching

  • Peter Radziszewski - Rampart Detection Systems (Canada): Novel treatment of acidic mine waste

  • Brent Slattery - Future Element (Australia): Advanced Dewatering 

At Unearthed, we are super excited to see this final announcement and contribute to the next stages of development for a wide range of technical challenges within the mining sector. This style of industry engagement to support and nurture new ideas, is essential in delivering the metals and minerals needed for the energy transition.

Jacob Andersen at NaturaFrac Inc, is one of the newly formed cohort members and he shared the following, “The NaturaFrac team is incredibly excited about partnering with forward-thinking companies that harness innovation to redefine the future of mining. We're excited to embark on this journey together with Unearthed/TAD to accelerate our technological advancement.”

We look forward to continuing to partner with the TAD team and assisting with their future innovation activities across the BHP portfolio. Our team always enjoys sharing these good news stories based on our global scouting and scanning capabilities, as they really tell the story of both the people involved, and the emergence of their ideas within a mining setting.

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