Rio Tinto supplies the metals and minerals that help the world to grow. Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT), the group originating this challenge, is continuously looking for new deposits of mineral sands to mine. These sands contain valuable heavy minerals such as ilmenite, zircon and rutile, which are important minerals in the production of many products around the world. These mineral sand deposits can be high in grade but small in size, or of considerable size but low in grade and located in difficult to mine areas, creating social and environmental concerns.
Traditional sand mining methods include significant infrastructure and disruption to the area in order to perform initial mineral concentration on-site, using wet separation methods. In this challenge, we seek your proposed approaches and implementation plans for developing new mining approaches whereby mineral sands are mined and processed using unconventional means that minimize or eliminate the need for water, infrastructure or other disruptions to the area.
This challenge is aimed at addressing three process steps including (1) excavation, (2) initial separation/concentration, and (3) backfill of materials. While solutions that address all three steps are preferred, we also welcome novel solutions that address a portion of the process, because we want to encourage participation from innovators with specific areas of expertise.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by Jan. 7, 2021, 3 a.m. EET.