Transforming tailings reuse technologies into real business is the goal of the startups participating in the MinerALL Challenge, an open innovation project led by Samarco, corporate accelerator Neo Ventures, and Escalab, a scaling technology center. Among the finalists is Reuse, whose journey is the last in this series on the four finalist startups of the current edition of the challenge.
The MinerALL Challenge is supported by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), the Center for Development of Nuclear Technology (CDTN) and INCT Midas.
Reuse’s Director of Technology and Innovation, Fabiane Leocádia da Silva, Executive Director, Marcus Jardim, and Marketing Director, Gabrielle Campolina, told us about their experience with the project.
Finding their challenge
During the Demoday of the MinerALL Challenge acceleration and scaling phase, held at the Mining Hub, Fabiane and Marcus told us about how Reuse emerged from the identification of a challenge to be studied: seeking solutions for the high-cost sand freight used in small and medium size foundries in Minas Gerais.
The startup found that in general, these foundries – which comprise a 30% market share – tend to invest more in resin and reuse sand throughout the process as a way to circumvent the high costs of transporting bulk sand, mostly produced in São Paulo. According to Reuse, about 65% of the cost of this material is solely due to transportation logistics.
Researching their solution
Based on this market need, Reuse has structured the proposal to provide the foundry industry with a more sustainable and cost-effective sand, benefited from the inert and non-hazardous Class II B sandy tailings.
According to Fabiane, the startup aims to transform an environmental liability into a product of interest for the mining market. In doing so, the company’s proposal meets the MinerALL Challenge’s objectives, such as fostering the circular economy and reducing the socio-environmental impact of mining. “Achieving this goal will be possible thanks to a like-minded team motivated by the prospect of building an increasingly sustainable mining and metallurgical sector,” she says.
Participating in the MinerALL Challenge
For Fabiane, being part of this project has been a great experience with excellent results. “The MinerALL Challenge has enabled us to create a network of extremely interesting contacts, which has helped us enrich our knowledge and professional experience,” she points out.
She highlights how important the support received from Samarco has been for Reuse’s growth: “Training, mentoring and meetings have been helping us both in terms of technology development and reflecting on the product before and after its market launch. The team has also grown on a personal level, as the routine of short presentations – the pitches – makes us work on sales and interpersonal skills and competencies.”
Reuse Executive Director, Marcus Jardim, also stresses the importance of the MinerALL Challenge for forming multidisciplinary teams. Fabiane is a physicist, while Marcus is a metallurgical engineer.
In addition to Samarco, Reuse’s partners are the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), the Gorceix Foundation, which has collaborated with the characterization of the material, and the National Industrial Learning Service (Senai), which is responsible for pilot-scale product validation.