An essential first step in our Zero-Waste Mining Prize Design process is to determine what barriers exist that prevent our problem (in this case, mining waste) from being solved. This is necessary so we know exactly that challenges a prize competition will have to overcome.
Some of the barriers we’ve identified can be summarized by the following:
- **Innovation in Mining is Challenging**: due to risk aversion, long timescales, and variability of commodities, geologies, and geographies
- **Lack of External Pressure**: whether from policy, investors, or the public, the emphasis is on management of waste rather than prevention or remediation
- **Lack of Awareness**: whether it’s precisely knowing the composition of the rock or the waste, or even the very idea that waste can represent an opportunity
Is this list exhaustive? Is there anything else we should consider a barrier to solving the problem of mining waste? Is anything on our list actually not a barrier at all?